Nearly every industry has had to find ways to adapt to changes brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Banking is no exception. Even before COVID-19, the banking industry was shifting towards a more technological future. Online and mobile banking have become the new normal – and many young people couldn’t even tell you the last time they actually visited their bank.
Many older Americans have been forced to significantly alter their banking habits over the past year in the wake of COVID-19-related bank closures. Those who were previously accustomed to visiting their bank in-person may have had to consider new ways of banking, whether they felt prepared to or not. As adoption of more digital-focused banking trends has increased, it is expected that they’re here to stay. Many bank customers have found options like mobile banking, video banking, live chat, and peer-to-peer payments to be easy and convenient, and will continue using them to manage their finances.
If you haven’t yet got on board with these new banking trends, here are some reasons to consider them:
Although online banking has made it easy to access bank information digitally, mobile banking takes it one step further. Most Americans have a smartphone on them at all times these days, so mobile banking is very convenient for many. Many banks have dedicated mobile apps that allow you to easily conduct everyday bank activities on-to-go. Although some may be hesitant to view sensitive information on their smartphone, logging into your online banking account through your bank’s official mobile app can actually be more secure than accessing it through a web browser.
Mobile banking has evolved from just allowing you to see up-to-date account balances. Here are some additional features of mobile banking offered by many banks:
• Transfer Money. Many mobile banking apps allow you transfer funds between your bank accounts. In some cases, transfers made within a mobile app must occur between accounts you have at that financial institution, while other apps may allow you to transfer money to or from accounts you hold at other banks as well.
• View Your Transaction History. Most mobile apps offered by banks allow you to view several months of banking transactions. Being able to monitor your transactions with the click of a button can be especially helpful with identifying fraudulent charges on your account. Most mobile banking apps also allow you to search your transaction history, helping you to locate specific transactions when necessary. The ability to view your transaction history is also helpful with budgeting, allowing you to better understand your spending habits and keep track of where your money is going on a monthly basis.
• Deposit Checks. Although most people receive far fewer physical checks these days, largely due to the popularity of direct deposit and payment options like Venmo, there are still times when cashing a check is necessary. However, with mobile banking there is no need to worry about making time to visit your bank if you are given a check. Most mobile banking apps allow you to deposit checks into your account in seconds by simply entering the amount of the check into the app and taking a photo of the front and back of it. And if cash is your thing, you can simply visit an ATM after the deposit clears and withdraw your money. No need to adhere to the bank’s hours or wait in a long line at the drive-up window.
• Locate an ATM. If you need access to cash, your mobile banking app can likely help you find an ATM within your bank’s network. By allowing Location Services within the app, or by entering your zip code, most banking apps can easily point you in the direction of the ATM closest to you. This feature can be especially helpful when you’re traveling outside of your hometown and aren’t sure where your bank’s nearest ATM is located.
• Pay Bills. Many mobile banking apps also allow you to schedule one-time or reoccurring bill payments. This can allow you to stay on top of monthly bills for things like utilities and cell phone service, and prevent you from missing payments or being charged for late payments. Through bill pay, you can choose the account your bills will be paid from, and you won’t have to send checks through the mail.
Video banking is a newer functionality that has picked up steam due to COVID-19-related bank closures as well as an increased hesitancy on the behalf of customers to visit branches in-person. Video banking typically allows you to complete a face-to-face video call with a bank representative – comparable to a Zoom or FaceTime call where both parties are on camera.
Due to the video functionality, your bank can more securely verify your identity than they can on a regular telephone call. You may be asked to hold up your license or ID card to the camera, allowing the bank representative to see that you are who you are claiming to be. Over the phone, someone could have an easier time impersonating you. Because of this, many banks will allow you to complete banking transactions and other activities on a video call that you may otherwise not have been able to do over the phone. Thus, video banking can make banking more convenient for customers, saving them a trip to a branch for more complicated banking matters. Some examples of banking needs that could be conducted over video include:
• Name and address changes
• Adding an authorized signer or beneficiary to your account
• Submitting a dispute form
• Applying for a new account or ordering a new debit card
Along with completing these requests, video banking can also allow you to receive step-by-step instructions and walk-throughs on anything from navigating online banking to filling out a mortgage application utilizing a screen-share functionality. Some bank’s may offer additional services such as applying for a loan, signing financial documents, and more through video banking as it becomes more of a common practice.
Until recent years, people either picked up the phone or visited a business in person to ask questions or get assistance. In a lot of cases, common questions are now answered on bank websites through extensive FAQ pages and detailed product summaries, but sometimes there is still a need for more specific answers. The good news is that oftentimes, these types of questions can be answered without having to drive down to a bank branch or endure long hold times when calling customer service. Many financial institutions now offer the ability for customers to chat live with a customer representative. Some banks offer chat right on their public-facing websites, while others provide the service through online banking or their mobile apps.
Peer-to-Peer Payment Systems
PayPal is one of the earliest and most well-known peer-to-peer payment systems (also commonly referred to as “P2P payments”). Venmo and Cash App are two other popular P2P systems. P2P payments allow you to electronically pay or receive money for goods or services, and exchange money with friends and family. These types of payments eliminate the need to handle cash or write a check. Generally, you send money from your chosen bank account directly to another person’s account.
Many financial institutions offer their own P2P systems. For example, BankFive Online Banking and the BankFive mobile app utilize Zelle. to allow customers to transfer money directly to other people’s bank accounts. Most times, the recipient doesn’t have to have an account at the same financial institution as the sender, and the payment can be made by simply entering the recipient’s cellphone number or email address.
Banking is Still a Relationship-Based Industry
Although it may seem like the digitization of banking means moving away from a personalized experience, many financial institutions (especially community banks) still recognize the importance of having a personal relationship with their customers. At BankFive, we strive to offer the same level of personalized service no matter how our customers bank with us. Whether you contact us by phone, visit us in-branch, or connect with us through video banking, live chat, or your online banking account, we’re 100% dedicated to meeting your needs.