With COVID-19 cases continuing to rise, this holiday season is shaping up to be unlike any other. For one thing, more people will be doing their holiday shopping online rather than in stores. Research from Adobe Analytics predicts that total online sales in November and December could reach $189 billion.
While the holidays are often a time for good cheer (and gift exchanges), they also create ideal conditions for overspending and the potential for financial fraud. Luckily, there are plenty of steps you can take to keep your money safe. Here are three digital banking options to help you monitor your spending, watch out for fraudulent charges, and manage your finances from anywhere this holiday season.
If you haven’t already, we recommend setting up online banking so you can keep a closer eye on your spending history and account balances, without the need to visit a bank teller or an ATM. Customizable account alerts enable you to monitor any suspicious activity or inform you if your account balance goes below a certain threshold. You can also set up auto-pay for recurring bills, eliminating the need to write a check or remember a payment due date.
When you set up online banking, you will have access to your previous bank statements as well as your current transactions. You can also initiate internal and external bank transfers, which can be helpful for allocating holiday bonuses, sending monetary gifts to family members, or paying off outstanding debt before the New Year.
Mobile banking shares a lot of the same advantages as online banking, such as viewing your balance and transferring money between accounts. An added benefit is that mobile banking lets you deposit a check by taking a picture with your smartphone, which means you don’t need to take a trip to the bank in order to access your new funds.
Since mobile banking lets you log in from anywhere, you can manage your money no matter where you are spending the holidays. Mobile banking also ensures that you receive account alerts on your smartphone, so you can take immediate action if you need to transfer money from your savings to checking account due to a low balance.
Available on the App Store and Google Play, CardValet is a free debit card monitoring app that allows you to keep track of your purchases and prevent fraud. It’s an excellent supplemental tool for online and mobile banking, since it gives you even more control over your finances.
By categorizing your transactions, CardValet gives you a snapshot of how you are spending your money – and can help you figure out where it might be good to cut back. For example, if you’re concerned about overspending on gifts, you can use CardValet to limit purchases in certain categories like retail stores or e-commerce. You can also customize notifications to let you know whenever a transaction has been made or when your balance is low.
In terms of fraud prevention, the CardValet app lets you turn your debit card on or off, which is especially useful if your card ends up lost or stolen. When you turn off your debit card, no one can make purchases or withdraw funds from your account. You can also set parameters so that your card only works in certain geographic areas.
Remaining vigilant about your finances during the holidays can help you avoid nasty surprises—like debt or fraud—in the new year. Contact us for more information on how to go digital with your banking.