With online banking, no longer do you need to handwrite checks or run to the bank to make a deposit. Here are five ways to save time:
1) Pay Bills
Paying bills online is a huge timesaver, especially if you have several to pay. You can use your bank bill payment service to send payment to any company or individual to whom you can mail a check. The initial setup requires time to enter your account information for each payee. Once set up, however, you can pay bills quickly. No longer do you need to handwrite checks, put them in envelopes, unearth a stamp, and locate a mailbox. You can send onetime payments or set up recurring bills to be paid automatically.
You should know: Depending on the recipient, banks will send bill payments either electronically or via paper check. Some banks withdraw the money immediately from your account. Others wait for the payment to clear.
Currently, most banks do not charge for their bill payment service. I have discovered one small bank, however, that adds a monthly fee to customer accounts to cover online services. Check with your bank to see what fees, if any, it charges.
2) Pay People
Some banks now offer a service where you can send payment directly to another person using the recipient’s email address or phone number. Banks offer this convenience through a third party service such as Popmoney.
You should know: There may be a fee for this service. You can weigh the fee against the cost of a stamp, the check and envelope, and your time.
3) Download Transactions to Software
Downloading your transactions allows you to easily keep track of your deposits, withdrawals, and credit card purchases. You do not need to keep a register by hand. With personal finance programs such as Mint, Quicken, You Need A Budget, Mvelopes, and others, information on all your transactions can be compiled in one place and are accessible on your computer or phone. This makes it easy to run reports, analyze your spending and savings, create budgets, and prepare information for your tax returns.
You should know: When you download your bank transactions to personal finance software, you will see your online balance. If you or your bank has sent paper checks, the online balance may not be your available balance – the actual amount of money you have on hand to spend. The only way to truly know your available balance is to record paper checks written, as you write them, in your software.
4) Transfer money between accounts
Online banking makes it easy to move money between your accounts. More and more banks have the capability of transferring money between your accounts at different banks. No longer do you need to write yourself a check and go to the bank and deposit it. Some larger banks also allow you to transfer money from your bank account to that of another person at the same or a different bank.
You should know: Transferring between your accounts at the same bank generally only takes 24 hours or less. Transferring between different banks, however, can take a few days.
5) Make Mobile Deposits
Your bank’s mobile app may make it possible to deposit checks to your account by taking a photo of the front and back of the checks and electronically depositing them into your account.
You should know: Your bank may charge a fee for this service. It could be several days before the funds are made available, especially when depositing personal checks. You need to keep the paper checks for three weeks after the date of deposit in case there is a problem.
One last caveat: Keeping your information safe from theft is more important than time savings. If you feel uncomfortable with any of these services, don’t use them. You can also inquire about your bank’s security measures to protect your information.
This blog is published to provide you with general information only, and is not intended to provide specific or comprehensive advice. Money Care, LLC encourages individuals to seek advice from competent professionals when appropriate.