Advantages of In-Person Banking vs Online-Only

in-person banking
Image credit: Anthony Quintano for TD Bank
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It turns out, most of us still like to take care of business in person.

According to a TD Bank survey, three out of five respondents prefer visiting a bank branch in person when making important financial decisions.

Yes, we love the convenience of online banking and its time-saving tools. But when it comes to major financial decisions, we still want to sit down with a real person to discuss our personal finance needs and even build a relationship with someone who actually understands where we’re coming from.

The good news is that many financial institutions – including TD Bank – are working to deliver omnichannel solutions so they can show up for their customers 24/7 via online, mobile or phone, while continuing to invest in physical spaces that enable robust, relationship-building conversations between customers and banking experts.

Traditional Brick and Mortar Banks vs Online-Only Banks

There are more differences between traditional banks and online banks than it may appear initially. The biggest and most obvious difference is that online banks are digital-only from the customer’s perspective, while traditional banks offer physical branches. The perks can vary between online-only banks and physical locations, but so too can your experience.

In-person and online banking infographic

Security and Peace of Mind

Both online banks and traditional banks share the same concerns for the security and safely of their customers. When choosing a financial institution, it is important to confirm whether your money is federally insured or not. At most banks, including TD Bank, deposit accounts are FDIC insured up to $250,000 per depositor.

Interest Rates and Fees

Some online banks tout higher interest rates and lower fees likely made possible by less overhead than their brick-and-mortar competitors.

Many online banks don’t offer physical branches and save on costs associated with real estate and payroll to staff those locations. This may allow them to offer slightly lower fees and higher interest rates on certain accounts, such as traditional savings accounts.

However, many traditional brick-and-mortar banks offer competitive, and even higher, interest rates that many online banks. That’s because brick-and-mortar financial institutions tend to be more established than online banks, meaning they have more customers and more capital which enables them to maintain highly competitive interest rates.


These days traditional banks with physical locations have embraced the same digital tools and innovative capabilities as online banks. From the customer experience perspective, the only noteworthy difference between the two is that you can still do in-person banking with a traditional bank like TD Bank while also having the option to self-serve and to do almost everything online whenever you want to.

Next Generation In-Person Banking

Image credit: Anthony Quintano for TD bank

While online banking and digital capabilities have continued to rise in popularity, especially post-pandemic, some traditional banks are leaning into the consumers’ preference for handling critical or more complex financial conversations in-person at brick-and-mortar locations.

For example, TD Bank is reimagining its in-store experience with the introduction of its Next Generation Store Program (NextGen) – a modernization initiative that creates space to facilitate deeper conversations around financial guidance, literacy, and education.

Dedicated Financial Advisors On-Site

Most of TD’s NextGen stores will boast dedicated TD Wealth Financial Advisor offices for private, one-one-on conversations with an expert about goals-based planning and retirement. So, while customers have the option to use a roboadvisor like TD Automated Investing, you can also go into a physical location and get personalized guidance.

Image credit: Anthony Quintano

More Comfortable Experience

Instead of long lines of people anxiously waiting on a teller, and feeling the pressure of holding up the lines, TD NextGen Stores offer remodeled physical locations that are more open and relaxing for customers; many with sit/stand workstations, dedicated space for private conversations, and a lobby station to quickly assist customers with simple transactions via a tablet. Whether you’re lounging in the seating area or chatting with your teller, the experience has been modernized so you can feel comfortable and talk freely about all your banking needs and financial goals.

A Renovated Aesthetic

The cherry on top of these store overhauls is the new aesthetic with art that reflects the local communities, including signage that helps you intuitively navigate the location’s offerings and employees enabled with digital tools to help you save time on routine banking activities (depositing cash, opening a new bank account, or funding a savings account) in select locations.

TD Bank has renovated over 50 brick-and-mortar bank locations to date, with plans to upgrade even more this year.

A Bank That Does It All

To summarize, there are no uniform downsides to choosing online banks over traditional banks. Instead, it’s better to compare on a case-by-case basis. You can still open a savings account or other standard bank accounts online with no minimum balance at most online banks and traditional banks. It’s the breadth of features and the ability to talk face-to-face with financial experts that give you more value.

Get Personal With Your Finances Again

Online banks and traditional banks are increasingly adopting new technologies, analytics, and digital banking tools. But we’re more than just numbers, and we can do more with our finances with a bank that gets that. An institution like TD Bank understands that human interaction and personal relationships make the biggest difference for customers who want to make the most out of their money.