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03-03-2017 • Tips to Manage Your Finances in the Digital Age

CONSIDER THIS: Technology is drastically impacting how consumers manage their finances and their time, and service delivery options are morphing right along with consumer preferences.

In a 2016 study conducted by the Federal Reserve, 53 percent of all smartphone users with an account at a financial institution have used mobile banking within the 12 months leading up to the survey. For consumers who’ve made the switch to online or mobile banking, the most common reason is convenience.

Here are some tips to help you manage your finances using the latest technological tools:

Download your institution’s smartphone app: More financial institutions have or are developing smartphone apps that enable their customers to bank on-the-go. As this trend increases, smartphone applications will continue to include more services. Online and mobile interaction also empowers consumers to engage with their financial institutions more frequently.

Investigate online financial planning tools: Calculators, budget templates, and finance tips are often available from financial institutions. Account-linked tracking and analyzation tools can help clarify spending trends and assist with tax filing or budget forecasting. Some mobile apps also include a financial planning section.

Sign up for text alerts: Some financial institutions, including credit unions, offer to send text alerts when an account’s balance dips below a certain level to help you stay on top of your available funds.

Take advantage of online bill-pay: Instead of dealing with checkbooks, stamps and folders full of invoices and canceled checks, consider going online to pay your monthly bills. Most of the time, this service is offered at no charge.

Consider mobile wallets: This relatively new trend allows you to carry credit or debit card information in a digital form on a mobile device. Instead of using a physical plastic card, you pay with your smartphone, tablet, or smartwatch. Many financial institutions are getting on board, using such mobile wallets as Google Pay, Samsung Pay, or Apple Pay. Using a mobile wallet allows you to check your checking balances regularly. They also can afford you a degree of safety due to encryption technology. In addition, some mobile wallets enable you to store your loyalty cards and track your points on each card while others allow you to store gift cards, which can help you keep track of your balance.

While using these technological tools may make managing your finances easier, don’t forget an old-fashioned tool—going into a branch. Sit down with a representative and find out if there are any products or services you don’t know about that you can take advantage of to meet your financial goals.