Mobile banking and shopping are on the rise, and now there are plenty of resources to help you become more mindful of your spending and saving habits, which can really help when you’re trying to create financial security.
Keep on Top of Your Financial Accounts
SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union offers a free Mobile Banking app1 that can help you conveniently manage your money no matter where you are. It’s easy to view your account balances, deposit checks, and pay bills. You can easily transfer funds between accounts, including to other Members’ accounts. For instance, if your kids need some extra funds, you can transfer money into their accounts immediately, without the hassle of going to the local ATM.
To keep your accounts secure, the app offers the option to use your fingerprint to log in on most devices, and automatic enrollment in email Fraud Alerts to notify you in the event of suspicious debit card activity. The best part of mobile banking is you can see your transactions anytime, and you don’t have to wait to find out where your money is going.
Easy Budgeting Tips
Budgeting tasks often seem like a hassle, but you no longer have to be tied to a spreadsheet or your home computer to keep your spending in check. Today, there are plenty of free and low-cost budgeting apps that can sync up with your financial accounts to keep you from overspending or possibly overdrawing them and provide easy ways to sock away money whenever you can. For instance, there are apps that use gaming techniques to help you save or invest, and pay down debt painlessly. NerdWallet’s Best Budget Apps for 2018 can help you compare options.
Using mobile apps to shop can save you a lot of time and money. Most retailers offer free apps featuring special offers, coupons and in-store savings. If you’re looking for the best deals on particular items that are not store-specific, apps like ShopSavvy and PriceGrabber have barcode scanners to check prices and aggregate deals. When you scan a product, the app will find online and local stores that carry it, and show current prices, discounts and product reviews, and notify you when prices drop. To pay for your purchases, you just link the app to your credit or debit card. Be sure to download apps from legitimate app stores only, avoid online shopping on public Wi-Fi networks, be thoughtful about granting app permissions and never use the same password across multiple accounts or apps.
Planning a vacation can take some doing, especially if you’re trying to stick to a budget. There are plenty of free mobile apps to help you find the best prices on flights, hotels, restaurants and entertainment. And when you’re on the road, they’re a great way to get information about where to eat, play, shop or go sightseeing. So whether you’re looking for a gas station, searching for flights, hotels, rental cars or restaurants, an app can be your travel guide. Check out Money’s Best Money-Saving Apps or PC Magazine’s Best Travel Apps for ideas.
Many people rely on paper statements, but consider going digital. SchoolsFirst FCU and your other financial institutions and credit card companies store statements for you electronically so you can download them whenever and wherever you need to, even on your mobile device. With fraud and identity theft a constant threat for today’s consumers, most people overlook the old-school method of crooks stealing personal information from the mailbox. According to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, last year alone, more than 9.9 million Americans were victims of identity theft, a crime that cost them about $5 billion. Taking steps to protect your personal information can save you time and money if you were to become a victim of fraud or identity theft. And by having a digital record of your savings and investments, it will be easier to manage your records come tax time.
1Data and text charges may apply. Check with your mobile provider.
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Extra Credit provides general information to help improve our Member’s financial lives. Every situation is different, so please contact us for guidance on your specific needs. The advice provided in Extra Credit is not intended to serve as a substitute for speaking to a loan representative, financial advisor, or BALANCE counselor who can help tailor a solution for you.
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