7 helpful – and perhaps surprising – things your bank can do for you
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Once upon a time, banks were a place where you physically walked around and filled out a deposit slip every time you got paid. When you needed money, you dragged yourself to the bank and took money out. There were no banking apps, and you couldn’t log in to check your balance or transfer money digitally.
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Banks offered a few other services, such as lending money to customers, but these were relatively minimal, especially before World War II. The first credit card wasn’t introduced until the 1950s. And before modern computers, calculations were done with pencil and paper, which meant a lot more resources for the things computers can now do a lot cheaper.
Today, modern technology has dramatically reduced costs and competition has driven banks to constantly outdo themselves. Plus, with more technology, banks can simply do a lot more than they ever could before. Here we are going to take a look at some of the features offered by modern banks that can make your life easier.
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Automatic bill payments
Automatic bill payment is a feature we can almost take for granted at this point, but when you consider the alternative, it’s quite a luxury to have this option. With this feature, you either let your bank know that you want an invoice paid each month. Alternatively, you can link your debit or credit card to your account with your service provider, and they will automatically withdraw (or debit) the amount when the time comes.
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Round up your purchases
Buy roundups are a cool feature that several banks and fintechs have adopted over the years. If enabled, this feature will round up all of your purchases to the nearest whole dollar amount and deposit the remainder into a savings or investment account. Some institutions will even allow you to round to the nearest $5, $10, or a custom dollar amount.
Holly O’Neill, president of retail banking at Bank of America, highlighted a roundup service there. “Bank of America’s Keep the Change® program makes saving automatic by rounding consumer spending to the nearest dollar for every purchase made with a Bank of America debit card and transferring the difference to a savings account “, O’Neill said.
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Bank customers often struggle to wait for the money to be transferred to a service provider or third-party account. Typically, transfers take one to three business days, which can often be a problem. But some banks now allow money to be transferred instantly, so you don’t have to wait days for your money to be transferred.
Get paid early
We all know the pain of having to wait another week or two for your paycheck to be deposited into your account. Banks also know the struggle, and that’s why some banks and fintechs will allow you to get paid sooner. For example, fintechs like Dave will allow you to get paid up to two days early. Sometimes you just need your money sooner, and now it’s possible to get there.
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AI to monitor your finances
Sometimes there may be an unexpected change in one of your subscriptions or, even worse, you may fall victim to bank fraud. But we are all busy and we don’t always have time to constantly monitor everything. That’s why some banks have AI-powered tools to monitor your finances for you.
“For example, Bank of America’s AI-driven virtual financial assistant, Erica, is designed to provide customers with personalized and proactive financial advice and can help monitor spending and subscriptions so you don’t have to. spending time digging through bills and credit card statements,” O’Neill said. “Erica automatically notifies customers of upcoming recurring charges as well as when those charges or membership fees unexpectedly increase, giving an up-to-date view of how many subscriptions you are currently paying for and the cost of those subscriptions, allowing you to take action if needed.”
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Earn rewards as a customer
Banking competition is fierce these days, and that means banks want to give people more reasons to stick with them. As a result, many banks now offer rewards just for being a customer. “For example, Bank of America’s Preferred Rewards no-fee loyalty program rewards customers for their entire relationship with the bank,” O’Neill said.
“Members enjoy exclusive benefits, all designed around how they save, spend and borrow – including a credit card rewards bonus, no fees on select banking services, interest rate boosters on savings accounts and discounts on various loan products.”
Calculators and tools
While there’s a lot we can automate these days, sometimes it can be nice to have the option to sort things out yourself. And chances are your bank has calculators and other tools you can use to budget, establish credit and more.
Thomas Racca, leader of Navy Federal Credit Union’s personal finance management team, discussed some of the tools offered by his organization. For example, there’s a monthly expense calculator to help you track monthly expenses, a monthly budget spreadsheet, and a credit confidence dashboard. The Credit Confidence Dashboard shows customers their credit score and the steps they can take to improve it.
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