Helen Wallace explores the best ways to keep your money safe using today’s technology
Banking has come a long way in the past few years. With a number of huge developments in technology, the financial industry has had to keep up and now offers clients much more convenient – and efficient – ways of banking than standing in long queues at your local branch. From checking your balance online to making transfers with your handset, everyone has their preferred way of handling their money.
All methods come with their pros and cons, though, so whichever manner you choose to take care of business, make sure you are aware of all the risks and benefits in order to protect yourself and get the most out of your bank.
The internet has revolutionised the way we do banking. ‘Everything can now be done at the touch of a button; you don’t have to operate within business hours or deal with long queues or call centres,’ explains Angelique Ruzicka, editor of SA personal finance website JustMoney.co.za. ‘Provided you can remember all your login details, it can be quick and easy.’
Of course, there are potential risks that come with the digital-banking territory. But if you do it right, it can make life a whole lot simpler, says Angelique. She recommends you:
• Choose a password with a selection of numbers and letters that you will remember, but would be complicated for a crook to crack.
• If you are uncertain of the legitimacy of an email, call your bank to find out if the correspondence actually came from them.
• Don’t click on any unsolicited links.
• Always log out once you’ve finished banking, even if you are working on your personal device.
• Ask your bank to send notifications to your phone every time there’s any activity in your account.
At your fingertips
Another way to do banking these days involves using your cellphone to make transactions. The same safety rules apply when using your handset, the most important of which is to log out after all transactions. Doing this will ensure that criminals don’t have free rein over your cash if your phone is stolen.
Also, not all WiFi zones are safe, so proceed with caution when signing in and make sure that you examine your statements regularly to keep tabs of the activity happening on your account. That way, you’ll notice if any cash is going missing. Putting money in the bank is meant to keep it safe, so take preventative measures to avoid being a victim of theft.
An oldie, but a goodie
Despite modern conveniences, your safest option is still to do your banking face-to-face. You will be dealing with professionals who are trained to help you and can answer any questions you have then and there. And, of course, they always have security guards on the premises!
But trying to manage our finances in our busy day-to-day lives is difficult, which is why, if accessed correctly and safely, internet and mobile banking can end up being a lifesaver.
Catch and release
Most banks in SA, such as Absa, FNB, Nedbank, Standard Bank and Capitec, offer free apps to make it even easier for you to manage your money from your handheld device. They are easy to use and allow you to create personalised dashboards that give you a breakdown of each of your accounts. Additionally, they let you make payments at the touch of a button – no card required. Visit Google Play or the App Store and browse the ‘Finance’ category to find your bank’s app.
Words of wisdom
• Never reveal your PIN to anyone, as this is what protects your money and prevents others from gaining access to it.
• Be alert when using ATMs and don’t accept help from strangers. This is how people gain access to your card, PIN and, ultimately, your cash.
• Do not send any personal login details to anyone via email, even if you receive mail that is supposedly from your bank. It is usually a scam.
Easy does it
22seven is a free app that gives you a breakdown of all your finances in one place, making it easier to see and keep track of what is happening in your bank accounts. Not only is it really simple to use, but it also monitors your spending and lets you know when you should tighten your purse strings. Available on Apple iOS and Android.