Written by Lisa Phelps
It used to be you had to actually get in your car, drive through traffic, and wait in line at your bank (yes, the actual branch) before you could do anything with your money — get cash, check on your balance, transfer money or deposit checks. It was a LOT of work. (However we did get lollipops and dog treats in the drive thru, so that was pretty great.) And to pay a bill? That was also time consuming: write a check, locate an envelope, find a stamp, put it in the mailbox, and hope it didn’t get lost in the mail.
Thankfully, that kind of banking is going the way of the dinosaurs.
Now all it takes is a few clicks of your mouse or taps on your cell phone and all your banking is done. You can deposit checks online by snapping a photo of your check and pay your bills through online bill pay. Carrying around your credit or debit card is also becoming a thing of the past because many banks and credit unions now offer Apple Pay through their credit and debit cards. All you need is your iPhone to pay for purchases at many stores.
That’s the good news. The bad news is that now you really have no excuse not to be completely on top of your finances. That means you should never overdraw your account, miss a bill’s due date or hold on to a birthday check for months and months.
And you don’t have to worry about security either. Mobile banking is really secure and uses all the latest bells and whistles to protect your information. In fact, your information isn’t actually stored on your phone, so if you lose it you don’t have to worry about someone hacking in and quickly accessing your financial secrets. Just be smart about it – use a good password (not just your cat’s name or 1234) just like you would for any site you frequent.
Using online and mobile banking actually offers you greater security because you can keep an eye on your finances from anywhere, at any time. You can set up text alerts for low balances or when bills are due. This gives you a better chance of catching problems when they happen rather than finding out later and having to fix it after the fact (and getting hit with a penalty fee!).
Be selective when you choose where you’re going to do your banking. Make sure your financial institution has robust online and mobile banking features so that managing your finances is one of the easiest things you’ll have to do in college.
Tip: Be sure your bank or credit union offers peer-to-peer payments so you can quickly pay back your friends for the pizza they paid for last time you got together!
Looking for a better way to do your banking? Click below to access our CU Select tool to find a credit union near you!