At first, I didn’t notice what was going on. I was working on some writing and new my mom was making phone calls, but effectively drowning them out so I could concentrate. Then, I looked up to take a break and started to understand what was going on.
My mom was making payments on her bills…on the phone.
Typically, I try not to say anything about someone’s productivity style, but I couldn’t let this one go. “Are you seriously paying your bills via phone?” I asked her. “How are you not online??”
Here’s the funny thing, my mom is completely tech-capable. She has a MacBook Air. She lives in Gmail and Google Drive and hates the clunkiness of Microsoft Outlook and Word. But yet, there she was paying her bills on the phone. What’s even more interesting is that she has online accounts with her banks. But for some reason, it didn’t occur to her to use those online accounts to pay her bills.
That got me thinking about all the people that may not realize all the things online banking can do for them. In all honesty, half of what I know is because I work in this business. But knowing what I know makes my life way more streamlined. So, even if you’re banking online and wouldn’t even think about paying a bill on the phone, read on. There’s probably a plethora of benefits from your bank that you aren’t even aware of.
Why Everyone Should Be Banking Online
Like I said, there are a ton of features that come with online banking that people may not be aware of. In fact, banks are adding more every day to get a leg up on their competition. Here are just a few examples of the types of things you may already have access to:
Online Bill Pay
First off, the feature most people know about – or should: online bill pay. Sure, you could use your credit card to pay your bills. Or you could set up automatic payments on the website of each and every one of your lenders and services. Or you could keep all of this information in one place and pay directly from your bank account.
With online bill pay, you can set up any payee and either pay once or schedule recurring payments. It doesn’t get much easier than that. What’s more, this can help you see just how many service providers you’re paying each month – useful in the time of Netflix and Hulu and millions of other subscriptions we all too easily sign up for.
Most banks are coming out with mobile apps that mimic or even surpass their online services. My favorite? Mobile check deposit. Instead of rushing to a bank branch or ATM, you can deposit a check simply by taking a picture of it and following the steps on your bank app. What’s more, a lot of bank apps come with touch ID, enabling you to log into your account on your phone with your fingerprint. That makes your login faster and more secure.
A lot of banks are featuring more ways to reach them when you need to, including live chat. This is infinitely more efficient than waiting on hold and dialing through phone tree after phone tree to get to the right person. Instead, you can just open a chat window to discuss your issue and move on with whatever else you were doing while you wait.
Apple, Android, and Samsung Pay
As more retailers are accepting Apple, Android, and Samsung Pay, more banks are releasing these features to keep up. If your bank hasn’t offered the chance to tap your phone at a register to pay recently, check again. Chances are they’ve since released this feature or are working on it.
Pay A Friend
This is one of my favorites. I’m a purger and can’t stand logging into countless apps to accomplish something. Therefore, as soon as I realized my bank had a Pay a Friend feature, I canceled my Venmo account (sorry, Venmo). This feature comes by different names based on the bank you have, but most make it as easy to use as paying a bill. Paying a friend is even easier with banks like Radius, because your friend doesn’t have to be a Radius customer to receive your payment.
Financial Goal Tracking
Remember how I hate using countless apps? That goes for budgeting apps too. That’s why I’m so excited that more and more banks are building this into their online offerings. What’s even better, they already have access to your information. One less login, much more accurate data and tracking.
Does Your Bank Offer These Features?
Are any of these features new to you? If they are, dig around your bank’s website a little. There’s a good chance some of these exist but just haven’t been marketed to you. And if you dig around only to find that these features aren’t offered by your bank, it might be time to reconsider your banking relationship.
Too many banks are upping their game to stick with one that doesn’t bother to offer what you need or what might make your life function better. One of my favorite banks for this? Radius Bank.
Radius Bank is an online bank, which means they offer a plethora of features for practically no fees. (After all, no physical branches equals far less overhead.) What’s more, they offer these features in addition to a seriously competitive checking account. Radius Hybrid is a checking account that delivers up to .90% interest (more than most savings accounts) and has a debit card that can help you earn rewards to put towards student loan debt.
As for the online features? Radius offers mobile banking, SMS (text) banking, Apple and Android Pay, Pay a Friend, and more. I’m all for a bank account that helps me earn more money, pay down my student debt, and streamline my financial activity.