4 banking app features you might be missing | Personal finance

Chanell Besette

If you use your bank’s mobile app, you likely have access to an array of features, some of which you may not be familiar with. These features could make it easier to save, cash back, budget, increase your financial security, and check your credit score depending on the services offered by your bank. Here are some features to look for in your banking app, and any banking apps you might consider for the future.

Cash back offers or statement credit on debit spend

Your bank may offer opportunities for cash back or special statement credits, either as a fixed percentage of your spending or for spending at specific retailers. SoFi Checking and Savings and LendingClub offer these types of spending features, as do some major banks such as Discover and Chase. For example, Logan Allec, a CPA and owner of Choice Tax Relief in Santa Clarita, Calif., says the Chase app has helped him uncover many opportunities for credits on debit card expense statements.

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“One day I was browsing through the app and saw the list of Chase offers for debit card spending,” Allec says. “A lot of these are for places I never shop, but I use home improvement stores a lot and one popped up for Home Depot for a 10% refund as a statement credit.”

Budgeting features and information

Some banking apps make saving and budgeting easier by letting you direct money to specific goals or giving you better insight into your spending.

“AFTER: How to make a savings plan

Sara Lohse, a marketing manager at a financial services company in Austin, Texas, discovered a unique feature for her savings account that allowed her to divide her savings into “buckets” of sub-accounts.

“I use Ally for my main savings account and use the savings bucket feature to save for different financial goals,” says Lohse.

She used the buckets feature to save for a down payment on a house, her emergency fund, and home furnishings. Her parents were matching her down payment contributions, so she set up a bucket for that as well.

“I had a bucket labeled ‘Mom, put money here’ so she knew which bucket to contribute to,” Lohse says.

Another app feature that could help you manage your money? The ability to review your overall spending trends. PSECU, a state-chartered credit union in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, offers its customers a “financial information” tool in their mobile app. The tool gives a monthly summary of your cash flow and how much you’ve spent versus how much you’ve brought into your account, and it learns your spending habits over time.

“If you spend more on Dunkin’ Donuts this month than last month, for example, it will trigger an alert for you that your spend has increased in that category,” says Lindsay Oparowski, director of member experience at PSECU. “Awareness is the first step in budgeting, and that’s the power this tool gives you.”

»Want to take the next step? Learn to make a monthly budget

Advanced Security Features

Security is a major consideration for your finances. As a result, more and more banks are integrating advanced security features such as multi-factor authentication, biometric identification for logins, remote card locking and new card activation. Multi-factor authentication uses additional methods to verify that you are you, such as sending a confirmation number via text message or email. Biometric information, including facial and fingerprint recognition, is used to confirm your identity to the banking app.

Remote card locking is also available through many apps, and it lets you disable your debit card if it’s missing or you want peace of mind that no one will try to use it. You can usually unlock the card at any time. If you receive a new debit card in the mail, you can probably activate it from your mobile banking app as well.

Credit score approximations

A more common feature appearing in banking apps is a credit score estimate. These scores are simulated by evaluating the factors that make up a consumer’s regular credit score, but they don’t require pulling hard on the customer’s credit report, which would typically lower their score temporarily. Credit score estimates don’t always perfectly reflect your actual credit score, but they tend to be close enough to give you a general idea of ​​your financial situation.

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