According to a survey by the Federal Reserve, 72% of Americans have used online banking in the past month, so chances are you're already familiar with the convenience of banking online. You can make deposits, payments, transfers, and more, all at your leisure. But are you getting the most out of Online Banking?
There are some lesser-known features of Online Banking that can save you time and money including alerts, recurring transfers, and special offers.
A variety of alert options are available through Online Banking. Sent by e-mail or text message, you can get notifications regarding your account balance or specific transactions. Use balance alerts to avoid bounced checks and overdraft fees. Just be sure to set up the alert to notify you before your balance hits the minimum balance requirements. Use transaction alerts to monitor your accounts for fraud. Unexpected or large withdrawal notifications can tip you off to theft. Setting up alerts takes little effort, but can save you from a big hassle down the road.
Many people use the transfer feature of Online Banking when they need to move cash from one account to another (for example, to prevent an overdraft), but fewer people take advantage of the recurring transfers feature. This feature is particularly useful for saving.
Everyone knows that saving money can be difficult. Experts encourage people to save in a way that is automatic because it increases the likelihood of meeting your savings goals. Recurring transfers can be set up through Online Banking to create automatic savings.
Once your paycheck is deposited in your checking account, you can have a fixed amount transferred to your savings account each month or you can have your paycheck deposited into your savings account and have only what you need to live on transferred to your checking account. Either way, setting up a system using recurring transfers is a far better way to save than doing so sporadically.
Report & Management Tools
One of the bigger advantages of Online Banking over traditional banking is the ability to generate on-demand reports. In addition to retrieving online statements, you can create reports around different activities and even set them up around spending categories for managing your budget.
Desktop Software Integration
If you use Quicken or some other money management software program, you may be able to link it to your bank account, making your money management even easier. The software program can download your bank account information to provide real-time data for your program functions.
Lastly, don't ignore the advertising within Online Banking. Your bank wants to make sure you know about the latest and greatest products, the lowest loan rates, and more. While advertising may seem self-serving, your bank invests in products and services that they believe will be valuable to you. Be aware of the advertisements, and you could reap the benefits.
All of these Online Banking features are readily available through most banks. Be sure to check out your bank's Online Banking site for information on other features as well.