Four Ways Online Banking Helps You Control Your Finances

Tue, 20 Dec 2011

Keeping track of your finances can be a hassle.  Not staying on top of things can result in anxiety around knowing where your funds are, fees that could have been avoided and making you susceptible to fraud. Here is a handy list showing how you can use online banking to help you avoid all of that.


1. Use your mobile phone to check your balance before you make a big purchase.

Before you make a big purchase, it's a good idea to validate that the money is there to cover your transaction. While you are in the checkout line or before you head to the store, take a few seconds to check that balance.  If the balance is sufficient, you can buy with confidence. If it is not, you can save the trip and avoid an overdraft fee. Or, if you have other accounts with the funds, you can always transfer the money to cover the transaction.


2. Don't wait for your statement. Review online transaction history.

A good practice when your statement is available is to do a quick review of the transactions to make sure they are all legitimate. Why wait? The longer you wait to identify a fraudulent transaction, the more likely a crook is to get away with it. In fact, most crooks are banking (pun intended) on you never look at your statement. It's a good idea to log on to online banking at least once a week and just review your transactions.  If you are not sure about a payment description, a good place to start is to Google the name of the payee. In most cases, you will find out that you recognize who it is. If you are worried, that is when it is a good idea to reach out to your banker and they can investigate the transaction for you.


3. Be like an accountant, setup multiple accounts.

Having just one account can make things hard to manage. But, if you separate your accounts based on usage then you can have an easy way to get a birds eye view of your finance. For example, you could have one checking for bills and other must pay items and then setup an automatic transfer into a "play" account that you can use for things like going to the movies or buying that new smartphone you have been eying. The same strategy can work for savings. If you are saving for something specific, open a basic savings account and set a goal for yourself with that account. Once you reach the balance you need (use a high balance alert to email yourself when it happens), you can make that purchase. It's even a good idea to zero out that "play" account at the end of every month to help build on those savings.


4. Use Alerts

If you need to get control of your finances, a low balance alerts a must do.  A low balance alert will send a message to your email or phone when your balance reaches a threshold you set. It's important to set that threshold to give yourself enough room to avoid overdrawing your account but also low enough that you change your behavior once you get it. Don't stop with balance alerts. For example, set alerts on your recurring bill payments to remind you to make sure they have been funded. That monthly rent/mortgage payment is a great example.  An alert two or three days in advance lets you make sure you will have enough in the account to cover the transaction.

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12 comment(s).

December 21, 2011 at 11:28 am
Great tips!
June 8, 2012 at 5:25 am
Check out a couple of banks near your home. If there is a creidt union, check with them and see if you qualify for membership.Many places a minor can open an account for $50. It may be higher but most banks will give a youngster a break, knowing they may stay a customer for years. Yes, you will get interest but it may not be a very high rate. Ask the banks about that. You may be able to find some information at their websites but you can also call.
Charles W. Carr...
December 24, 2011 at 11:53 am
Why don't you have a Shortcut Icon available for down load to the Mobil banking?
December 24, 2011 at 12:03 pm
Charles, Our mobile banking is a mobile optimized website. You just need to visit on a mobile phone and it should work for you. We are working on apps for the iphone and android platforms right now and will launch them in 2012. Thanks for the comment! Greg
March 8, 2012 at 9:45 am
I am able to search my accounts for history for specific dates on individual transactions. However, I cannot locate any way to download this information so that I can use it for budgeting. Am I missing something or is that functionality just not available?
March 8, 2012 at 3:48 pm
Hi Marilyn, Thanks for reading our blog and for reaching out. To export transactions, click on Transaction Details --> Export Transactions, which is located on the left navigation bar. If you don't use financial software, select Text as your format. We're going to send you an email with more details, but if you need to speak with someone, please give us a call at 1-800-995-9995(7am-10pm 7 days/week).
March 27, 2012 at 7:39 pm
When are you going to update your system to work with IE9. I can't set up vendors to pay online. Your suggestion to change my computer was not acceptable. This technology has been around over a year. When will you catch up?
March 27, 2012 at 8:27 pm
Sherry, Thanks for your comment. We've made some changes to the system to support IE9. Please go ahead and try to add a payee again. I'm sorry the fix took so long. Greg
April 22, 2012 at 5:37 pm
I wish you had a calculator on your home page. I could use when checking accounts.
April 23, 2012 at 12:32 pm
That's a good idea Evelyn! We've told our team to look into it.
Don Rovinelli
May 7, 2012 at 6:09 pm
How long do i have to keep a copy of my bank statements? Does Webster bank get a record of my statements for 7 years or more? Don R
May 9, 2012 at 10:37 am
Hi Don – It’s really up to you how long you keep your statements. If you sign up for online banking: you’ll have 18 months worth of your statements, from the time you sign up, available to access in your profile. We do keep your statements for 7 years, and if you need to have one printed out, we can do that for a fee. Here’s advice from the FDIC on how long to keep different types of bank receipts: