Get more out of your money in less time

Most of us have embraced the idea that technology can help us work smarter. That’s true at home and at work.

Whether it’s an app that you’ve used for virtual meetings or one that lets you control your home’s thermostat or lighting, technology can be a big help. What some of us may not realize, though, is how we can use technology to bank smarter, too.

Some of these ideas are simple and some will require a little time and effort on your part, but here are eight ways to get more out of your money in less time.

Use mobile and online banking. Need to know your account balance or whether a particular check has cleared? Bank information lines and paper statements are helpful, but by enrolling in mobile and/or online banking, you can see up-to-the-minute account activity — anywhere and anytime. You’ll probably find other convenient services that can save you time, too.

Pay bills electronically. Do you dread paying bills? While no one really likes to pay bills, you can save time and avoid the hassle of sitting down with your checkbook and a stack of statements and envelopes by making your payments via an online bill payment system. You actually can pay just about anyone — from your lawn service to your utility providers — with just a click. If you try paying bills electronically, and discover that you prefer it, you can even set up recurring bill payments. These can be helpful with regular bills like rent or mortgage payments.

Set up automatic debits. Similarly, you can pay monthly expenses such as a gym membership or phone bill by setting up automatic debits. All you need to do is provide your account number and routing and transit number to those companies. That way, the amount you owe each month is automatically debited from your account on a specified day each month. You can even set up electronic alerts so you’ll know when the charges hit your account.

Use your debit card. This one may seem simple and obvious, but using your debit card to make purchases big and small is a fast, safe, and convenient way to make transactions. It’s also a lot faster than writing a check and a lot safer than carrying cash that can be lost or stolen.

Deposit checks with your mobile device. Getting paid with a check is great, unless it’s hard to find the time to go deposit it. That’s what makes mobile deposit functionality so convenient. You can deposit that check from your mobile device in a matter of minutes, if not seconds. And by doing so, you’ll not only save yourself a trip to the bank or nearest ATM, but you can get faster access to your funds.

Choose electronic statements instead of paper statements. Electronic statements not only eliminate the time it takes to store and file paper statements, but they also reduce the amount of paper your bank uses. That helps save paper – and the planet!

Sign up for direct deposit. Tired of waiting to get a paper check on pay day? Use direct deposit, and your funds are automatically deposited into your checking or savings account on pay day. That gives you immediate access to your money.

Set up transfers to your savings account. Saving can be hard, but one method that makes it at least a little bit easier is arranging for some of your payroll funds — or other funds from your checking account — to be deposited into your savings account. Even if you transfer just a small amount each pay period or month, the savings can add up over the long haul.

At a time when customers are demanding products and services that are most convenient to them, we must make products and services available to customers where they are and at the time they need them. In doing so, customers can get more out of their money in less time.

— Deanna Hoffman is Branch Administrator, Senior Vice President for Arvest Bank.

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