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Tech Savvy: Banking at your fingertips

Mobile banking gave me peace of mind when I thought I lost my wallet, and it also simplifies day-to-day tasks.

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While a mobile banking app is crucial in a time of crisis, such as a lost wallet, it’s pretty helpful on a day-to-day basis, too. Contributed / Metro Newspaper Service illustration

When I thought I lost my wallet recently, I freaked out for a while, realizing I didn’t have my driver’s license, debit card or credit cards.

While the license was a problem, I didn’t worry about my other cards for long after I realized just how convenient and helpful mobile banking is in a time like this.

I’ve been banking with U.S. Bank since I got my first debit card a decade or so ago, and I use the company’s mobile app quite a bit for things like checking my balance, paying off my credit card and depositing checks. But it wasn’t until I thought I had lost my cards that the app really came in clutch.

In just a few seconds, I was able to temporarily lock all three of my cards. So if someone else had them, they wouldn’t be able to spend any money. The nice thing about the temporary lock feature was that any bills I had that automatically withdrew from those cards would still do so, so I wasn’t in danger of missing any crucial payments.

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But if I did need to use my debit card for anything in the meantime, I could unlock it for a minute and make use of Samsung Pay on my Galaxy S10 smartphone, where my card is linked and available to use at any place that accepts electronic payments.

My plan was to just lock my cards while I continued looking for my wallet. I would report them as lost and order new ones if I couldn’t find them by the end of the day. But as luck would have it, my wallet had been safe in my apartment the entire time, just in a place I didn’t remember leaving it. So when I did find it, I unlocked my cards and proceeded like nothing had happened — and jumped for joy that I didn’t have to go about figuring out how to get a new driver's license.

While the banking app was crucial in my time of crisis, it’s pretty helpful on a day-to-day basis, too. I appreciate that I don’t have to make a trip to the bank to deposit a check or transfer money from one account to another. I can set up automatic monthly transfers to my savings account, order new checks, redeem rewards points from my credit card and even apply for a new line of credit.

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If I happen to be traveling and need to find an ATM, the app will allow me to input a city or specific address so I can see what’s close.

Another feature of US Bank’s app I’ve just started trying out is the budgeting feature. Essentially, the app tracks my monthly spending, breaks it down into categories (auto expenses, food, bills, pets, etc.) and recommends a budget for each category. Then it tells me how much money I’ll save each month if I stick to that budget. I’ve never been very good at budgeting, but I’m hoping the app will help me pay a little more attention to how much I spend this year. I guess I’ll judge my success on how my savings account looks at the end of the year.

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And I feel secure with my mobile banking app, as there are various ways I can choose to log in. I can set up several different levels of verification before accessing my accounts, and in the event I forgot to log out, the app will automatically do that for me after a few minutes. And as yet another measure of security, the app does not allow me to take screenshots of any pages.

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I feel like mobile banking allows me to do just about everything from home, short of taking out and depositing cash. But in the event I do need to talk to an actual person, I can quickly arrange for a phone call or make an appointment for a virtual or in-person meeting at my bank.

In times when staying home is oftentimes safer — and let’s face it, more appealing — than going out, I highly suggest checking out what your bank has to offer in the mobile realm.

THERESA BOURKE may be reached at theresa.bourke@brainerddispatch.com or 218-855-5860. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/DispatchTheresa .
Related Topics: TECHNOLOGYCENTERPIECE
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