Technology has made our lives easier in so many ways, which includes a more convenient banking experience. What used to require a bulky check register and monthly paper statement is simplified — now you can take care of your banking needs online.
If you’re on the fence about trying online banking, you’d be surprised at how easy it is to figure out. Once you set up your online profile and become familiar with your bank’s digital services, you’ll love the convenience. Plus, it may make it easier to track and better allocate your spending. Use these tips to make the most of managing your bank account online.
Make Sure Your Personal Information Is Current With Your Bank
As basic as it sounds, you likely won’t be able to bank online if your personal information isn’t current and on file with your bank. Most banks require customers to confirm information via text, email or phone call, so it’s essential to make sure that you have the most up-to-date information on file.
Take the time to call or visit your bank, and double-check that your information is correct. Having the right information on file with your bank will not only increase your peace of mind, but it will also make setting up online banking easier. You may even be able to get started with online banking while you’re talking to your bank representative.
Familiarize Yourself With Your Bank’s Online Systems
Before you dive too deeply into online banking, familiarize yourself with your bank’s online tools. Look around the bank’s website, and, if possible, take a virtual tour of the features of online banking. Find out what page to visit to see what’s coming into and going out of your bank account. Get acquainted with looking at your account and figuring out how to check balances. Learn how to pay your bills online — with the help of a representative over the phone if that simplifies the process for you.
You’ll also want to download your bank’s app for online banking on the go. Make sure you can navigate your way around the app; it’ll probably look different from the website interface, even if it has the same functionality.
Once you’ve learned your way around your bank’s online system, you can master the basics of online banking. You can see how your online banking system functions like an old-school check register, and you can view credits and debits without much trouble. You can also track and manage any fees that your bank charges you.
Check the website’s homepage menus to find out how to transfer money between accounts. Your bank may even have a way to transfer money to family or friends who use the same bank. In your bank’s app, you can learn how to deposit checks using your smartphone camera. Navigating your way around the online banking website can change the way you manage your finances. Easily accessing your account information this way can help you monitor your spending.
Use Online Banking to Organize Your Expenses
Most banks have a handy feature in their online platforms that allows users to categorize expenses for easy organization. These categories can help you know what you’re spending most of your money on. Many banking systems learn your habits and can intuitively classify your purchases for you once you’ve set the categories up.
Categorizing your expenses this way can help you with your budgeting; you can see at a glance how much of your money goes to specific things. For example, if you want to spend 10% or less of your budget on entertainment, you can view and track how much of your spending goes to that category. When it’s easier to tell that you may be overspending, you can take the necessary steps to scale back on those purchases and allocate more money to savings, for example.
Pay Bills Online and Automate Consistent Expenses
Another helpful feature of online banking is the ability to pay bills from your computer or mobile device. No more writing checks or licking envelopes — your bank sends a payment to the person or company you’re paying and tracks this activity on the online banking portal. You can take care of your bills in one sitting or have your bank automatically send payments online without the need for you to input information for each one.
You can even automate certain payments that you know will be consistent. If you have a bill that never changes every month, you can set it to pay from your bank at a certain time every month. For example, say your $1,200 rent is due on the fifth of each month. In your online banking portal, you may be able to set up a recurring payment to your landlord that transfers the money (or mails out a check) on the first of each month automatically. Online bill pay isn’t just great for bills, because you can also pay individuals or handle your charitable giving through your bank’s website or app.