What is an Online Check Register?

Malcolm Tatum

Online check registers are checkbook registers that are created and housed on a secure web site. The online checkbook register is accessed using login credentials that usually include at least a user name and passcode, with some online registers requiring a third level of data before allowing entry to the saved register. An online check register is very likely to be popular with people who use handheld devices to connect with the Internet.

An online check register can help a person double check if they balanced their checkbook correctly.
An online check register can help a person double check if they balanced their checkbook correctly.

Making entries into an online check register works in much the same way as any register tool. Important data such as the date of the transaction, who the check is remitted to, the check or transaction number, and the amount are easily entered into the proper fields. It is not unusual for many online checking register software products to automatically update the balance in the account as each posting is entered, thus eliminating the need to add or subtract manually.

While bank reconciliation can now be done using the online register, many people still prefer the traditional method using a monthly statement.
While bank reconciliation can now be done using the online register, many people still prefer the traditional method using a monthly statement.

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There are several advantages to the use of an online check register. Many of the online programs make it possible to manage several different accounts under one master account. This means that individuals can post activity to checking and savings accounts in one session. Businesses find the online checking register helpful as it makes it possible to quickly view balances and activity in payroll and operations accounts at the same time.

Another benefit has to do with accessibility of the checkbook data. Only people who know the login codes or have access to the login credentials may view the registers. This is in contrast to a traditional register, which anyone can view if the checkbook is left on a desk or slips out of a pocket. From this perspective, the online check register makes it easier to secure the information and allow only those who need access to the account data to actually view or manipulate the figures.

Since the register is housed online, there is no opportunity for the register to be lost or damaged in a manner similar to the traditional hard copy register. In the event that a hard copy of the register is needed, most programs make it simple to download the data into a spreadsheet or similar format. Even the free online check register programs will usually convert the data into a format that can easily be downloaded into the more popular formats, including downloading the data into the most commonly used accounting software packages.

Most providers of an online checking account register make sure to use both hardware and software firewalls as part of the security measures. Many are structured so they can be accessed and utilized even on a slow connection. This makes it possible to work with the online check register even when at a location that offers only dial-up services.

While the basic services provided with most online check register sites are free, there are advanced services that do require a fee. Typically, the end user can choose among the fee-based services to create a customized platform that is ideal for his or her situation. As with many types of online fee-based services, the cost for each service option is normally a flat fee that is due once a month.

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