Wednesday, July 27, 2016

What are my options for digital banking?

Plenty. We live in the digital age, where you don't even need to leave your couch to do anything; from buying groceries to meeting the love of your life. First City Credit Union is one of the many financial institutions allowing you to bank from a mobile device and through mobile apps.

In fact, The digital age is ushering in a new era of green banking, and the planet is healthier for it already. Mobile banking saves gas that you would spend on making a special trip to a branch. It saves paper that would be used on statements or receipts. Sites like Paypal or GoFundMe allow you to pay or be paid instantly, which cuts out the need for paper in checks or, again, receipts and paper money. The same goes for the ability to pay bills automatically online, through our online/mobile banking page.

Are there any risks to digital banking?

While the benefits are fantastic, digital banking does come with a few small risks. Some people find keeping a budget to be more difficult when they can just look at their phone and rationalize a purchase they don't need simply because their balance seems okay. This is best solved with separate accounts for savings and spending, so you never think you have more money than you do. Also, although you can do quite a lot of your banking online, you can't do everything. There are still some important tasks that you need to do in person or by mail, such as signing loan documents and making deposits over a certain threshold.

Of course, the biggest concern with banking in the digital age is the ever-looming threat of hackers. Robbery no longer looks like a tall man in a ski mask with a revolver. Instead, most robbery happens through identity theft, perpetrated by a much scarier, faceless criminal who could be anywhere. Protecting security is at the forefront of everyone's minds, and First City Credit Union uses industry-leading security protection technology. You can help by choosing strong passwords and avoiding online banking from public computers. Fortunately, identity theft is still quite rare. About 4% of the U.S. population was victimized by identity theft in 2013 (Sources: World Bank, CNN Money, Javelin Strategy and Research). In fact, online banking has helped reduce much of the danger that comes from having paper with personal information on it sitting in the garbage can for anyone to find. The benefits that online banking provides continue to outweigh the risks.

Are there any banking initiatives that directly support environmental sustainability?

For starters, an ethical financial institution is one whose primary goal is to support sustainability and the long-term health of its community. Credit unions nationally have led the charge by identifying and supporting local businesses. The less distance goods have to travel, the less CO2 gets pumped into the atmosphere. You can help these efforts when you purchase a car or a home. Buying an energy-efficient car or building green features into your home can help build a sustainable future.

How can this help me?

In addition to the long-term benefits of going greener, sustainable banking offers many advantages. Online banking can be done at any time and any place - no waiting for the branch to open, no wasting extra gas money driving to the ATM. Having receipts and monthly statements emailed to you keeps them all in one place, which allows for easy organization and budgeting.

The ability to be paid instantly allows you to, well, be paid instantly. No more waiting for a check to cash or losing it at the bottom of your purse. With automatic bill payments, you can put the bills right out of mind and never have to worry about forgetting them again. This does great things for your stress level and your credit score. Greener auto loans or mortgages allow you to save money on things that might have previously been more expensive, making them worth the hassle. In the end, saving the earth can also save you time, money and energy.

How can I go greener in my banking?

In the year 2016, greener banking is easier than ever. If you're ready to be a part of the future, take these four easy steps:

  • Set up direct deposit to split your paycheck between your savings and your checking and/or to make loan payments.

First City is here to help make your life a little greener, digitally.