With reference to the work of A. Janc and G. Kotliński, J.H.Górka states that that electronic banking is a holistic expression that refers to banks using as matter of operating practice, information technology and communication systems that are designed to facilitate and improve the execution of customers’ transactions, and to accelerate the circulation of non-monetary transactions. T. Porębska-Miąc states that the essence of electronic banking is the ability to use banking services irrespective of place and time.
W. Chmielarz asserts that electronic banking also strives to create a system based on financial settlements taking place without the need for paper media. This author adds that communication between a bank and its customers, and also within a bank, is based on the efficient relay of the data stored and processed on a bank’s database systems that support banking operations. By referring to the work of B. Pilawski, W. Chmielarz notes that among the characteristics differentiating traditional banking from electronic banking services are: the lack of the need for a physical presence by a customer in a bank; the feasibility of banking operations at any time; the reduction in the need for banking staff; and the automation of decisions in respect of customer requests, with the associated reduction in the possibilities to negotiate terms and provide relevant advice. One of the most common forms of electronic banking is undoubtedly internet banking, which exploits the widely available access to the internet by consumers.
According to R. Kaszubski and P. Widawski, internet services offered by banks are evolving from simple marketing and information management functions, to the full range of services that have been traditionally provided in either a bank’s branches or by telephone banking. With current technology, it is possible for banks to create complex applications which are designed specifically for use by internet customers and these exceed the traditional range of services offered by banks. This includes, for example: the provision of personalised financial information; the transmission of messages and requests using short message services (SMS); the transmission to the customer of information by e-mail; online brokerage and investment product services; and the so-called “financial supermarket” (i.e. where a bank offers a wide range of financial services such as the online management of financial accounts and tax returns).
While discussing the issue of internet banking, it should be noted that T. Porębska-Miąc recognises internet banking as an integral part of electronic commerce (E–commerce), which essentially means doing business through electronic media, especially via the internet. The author defines electronic commerce as the “processes and activities of buying and selling goods and services over the internet, computer networks and other digital technologies” From this definition, it would seem that online banking is a more specific form of electronic commerce, as it is, in essence, encapsulated by such a definition.
G.Szwajkowska, P.Kwaśniewski, K.Leżoń and F.Woźniczka divide the internet banking systems currently available on the market (also known as remote banking), into retail and commercial banking (i.e. internet banking can be classified according to the recipient of the service). They go on to say that internet banking can be understood as those services dedicated to private individuals, and small and medium enterprises (SMEs), that permit the execution of transactions in real time, and is characterised by access to banking services using standard software in the form of an internet browser, while using a secured transmission protocol (SSL). The authors note that the internet banking systems currently available on the market, allow customers to perform all of the basic operations in their accounts. These operations would include: browsing operations in their accounts; making monetary transfers; defining recipient lists and predefined transfers; repaying credit cards in an account; opening and closing fixed term deposits; managing savings accounts; and communicating with their bank, in the form of secured e-mails, in order to, for example, access bank statements, and apply for debit or credit cards. It is also possible with internet banking for customers to purchase units in investment funds and securities via the Internet, and even for customers to “top-up” the credit available on their mobile phone numbers and to receive access to information services.
Another type of internet banking is home banking, which is a service dedicated to private individuals and small organisations, requiring installation of dedicated software on their computer(s). This service often uses a telephone connection to the bank and does not require access to an internet network. However, home banking gradually lost its popularity because of the limited functionality of the system in offline mode and the costs of accessing and maintaining internet connectivity. As G. Szwajkowska, P. Kwaśniewski, K. Leżoń and F. Woźniczka note, home banking was popular in the initial period of the development of electronic banking. As discussed above, it involved a direct, telephonic communication between a bank and its customer and normally operated in offline mode. It enabled the customer to establish, for example, payment lists for approval on their computer. The connection between the customer and the bank was established in order to send to the bank previously prepared communications. Thus, the principal function of the system was to carry out transfers and to receive historical records of customer transactions on their account(s).
The abovementioned authors, identify another type of internet banking services, namely corporate banking, which involves the provision of banking solutions for large entities and institutions. It is characterised by complex functionality, which enables the integration and automatic exchange of data with a customer’s accounting system, and at the same time provides multilevel access and an expanded system of accepting transactions. It requires installation of dedicated software on a customer’s computer for communication with the banking service. Corporate banking servicesinclude offerings by banks that take into account the specific requirements of enterprises and institutions, and may include: enabling multiple users to access relevant systems at the same time, with hierarchical validation of transactions; automation of accounting operations and exchange of data with an organisation’s systems; settlement of accounts with counterparties, including foreign companies operating in a the multi-branch structure; and the ability to use the services of more than one bank. Expanded functional systems distinguish this type of electronic banking from that which is dedicated to individual clients.
An example of an internet portal dedicated to the financial management of large organisations, is BusinessNet offered by the BPH bank. The portal is instantaneous and has unlimited access to banking products. It allows customers to manage their finances at anytime and from anywhere in the world. It provides contact with the bank through quick and also secure communication channels. Numerous functionalities allow customers online access to: current financial information; data about accounts and orders for electronic bank statements in PDF format; search and selection operations based on selected criteria; and access to current banking information, such as current exchange rates, deposit rates, economic information, etc. Saving time through the portal allows customers to make contact with the bank anywhere in the world and at anytime. It permits access to banking products and services within a single, modern channel access. It allows the automatic exchange of information between the portal and: Enterprise Resource Planning systems, financial accounting information, Human Resources and payroll systems, as well as exported and imported data. Electronic banking for organisations is also fully secure through a secure login to the system and the use of modern information technology. In this portal, users can determine the Internet Protocol address that has accessed the system and the time of use of BusinessNet by individual users. Information security and flexible permissions management functionalities (through the “user manager”) allows: control and management of user privileges; advanced approval of transfer patterns by mapping complex signature specimen cards; authorizations; orders for qualified certificates that identify the sender that undeniably proves their identity; and both security and technical infrastructure.
Another form of modern banking is known conceptually as the virtual bank, which operates solely through the use of Internet technology. At the virtual bank, there is no physical movement of money or documents, and the client may in theory be a resident of any country. In this system, the most important part of the traditional bank (i.e. the operating room) ceases to exist as its functions are taken over by a computer network with electronic mail. Moreover, the literature sometimes includes within the scope of Internet banking services those services that are offered to holders of mobile phones with Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) which permits the use of the Internet .
Another form of modern internet banking is the so-called “virtual bank”, which operates solely on the basis of internet technology. In such a bank, there is no physical circulation of money or documentation, and the client may theoretically be an inhabitant of any continent. In such as system, the most important element of a traditional bank, namely the front office functions, ceases to exist as such functions are taken over by computer networks and e-mail. In addition, the literature on the scope of internet banking services sometimes includes services offered to mobile phone holders with wireless application protocol (WAP) functionality (i.e. internet-enabled mobile phones)