These days, nearly every bank offers some kind of online banking experience. Whether you’ve recently entered the workforce or have been banking for decades, you have access to some potent tools that can help you better manage your personal, family, and business finances. The best part? Taking advantage of these tools can save you money and time. Continue reading below to review the best ways that online banking services can help you.
Checking and Savings Accounts
Online banking services for checking and savings accounts do more than just let you keep track of your finances. Depending on the banking service you use, you can set up automatic bill payments, which prevents you from missing regular payments. Making all your payments on time helps you build or maintain your credit score and eliminate the risk of late fees. What’s more, some bills will even let you save money just for setting up regular recurring payments, enabling you to keep track of one fewer bill and trim your costs simultaneously.
Having an up-to-date awareness of your bank account also helps you avoid overdraft fees, allowing you to move the funds you need between accounts to cover your upcoming expenses. You can also prevent these fees by setting up an automatic transfer from your savings to your checking if your balance goes below a specified amount. Many online banking services can even connect accounts held with different financial institutions, letting you transfer between TD Bank and Wells Fargo, for example. Additionally, nearly every bank can now connect with services like Zelle to digitally send and receive money without any additional fees.
Credit Card Accounts
Considering how commonly you buy things with credit cards, it’s important to take advantage of what these companies are offering. As many of the biggest credit card companies are also regular financial institutions, they have already developed a variety of systems to track your expenses. Using online banking for credit cards can keep your finances in order and help you save money in several ways.
- Rewards Opportunities – Many cards offer points or other rewards for using the cards. While you can earn points without using online banking, many cards make it easy to redeem them using the same system that lets you view your card activity. This access enables you to compare the different options for your rewards and apply them at the time that serves you best.
- Paperless Billing and Automatic Payments – Some banks give you a small credit for switching to paperless billing. A few dollars from each such account can quickly add up and be worth a few cups of coffee or a visit to your favorite burger place. Similarly, if you sign up for automatic payments, you may be able to unlock a discounted interest rate and certainly avoid any chance of late fees.
- Online Payments – In addition to credits that the banks may give you, just taking the step to make your payments online can avoid two other kinds of fees: sending mail and phone payments. Sending bill payments by mail involves buying checks and stamps. Every year, these items can cost you tens or even hundreds of dollars. If you are used to phone payments, banks sometimes charge “convenience” fees for the opportunity to pay them. Online payments are almost always free, avoiding all those costs.
One of the most important advantages of online banking is real-time access to your accounts and any charges that may come out from them. Usually, that lets you better organize your bills and know where you’re spending your money compared to how you’re making it. But there’s another huge advantage to regularly checking your online banking: detecting fraud. Even if you sign up for an identity theft protection service, it can still take some time to clean up the potential mess a hacker or identity thief could make.
If you’re looking at your credit and debit card activity every day or two, you can be instantly aware of any attempts made to hijack your good credit. If you spot and flag these transactions immediately, you can protect yourself and prevent the thief from making off with an undeserved payday. Online banking makes this kind of attention to detail easy to do just by opening the app on your phone and looking at the “recent transactions.” As an added bonus, paying this attention will also alert you to any recurring payments or subscriptions that you forget to cancel before you pay an extra few hundred dollars without meaning to.
Taking advantage of online banking is about more than just saving a few dollars here and there. The more aware you are of what rewards are available to you and what kind of activity is occurring on your card, the better you can manage your finances and protect yourself against fraud. Almost all online banking services are free, so take control of your finance by downloading the apps and setting up your accounts today.