6 Ways Your Bank Can Help You Meet Your Financial Goals
There are quite a few perks to banking that can help you hit your financial goals faster. From customized alerts to automation to rewards, the best banks offer a suite of financial tools to help you be better with money.
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But you need to take advantage of these resources to enjoy the benefits. Here are six ways banks can help you meet your financial goals.
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Create Named Savings Accounts
While most banks allow you to open a linked checking and savings account, did you know that some offer multiple sub-accounts? Banks such as Ally Bank and Capital One let you open multiple savings accounts that you can individually name.
This helps you create savings goals and transfer the funds out of your main account into the goal account. These savings accounts are great ways to save for future expenses, such as Christmas, birthdays, weddings, vacation, phone replacements and other short-term goals.
You also can save toward larger goals, such as a house down payment or car replacement. The key is to transfer over small amounts every month to save for these larger expenses.
Automate Your Savings
In addition to having dedicated savings accounts, most banks allow you to set up recurring transfers on a regular schedule. This allows you to fully automate your savings goals.
The best way to set this up is to create a transfer from your main checking account to your savings goal account after you get paid. So, for example, if you get paid every two weeks on a Friday, set up a transfer for the following Monday.
You can set up as many transfers as you’d like, automatically funding your savings goal accounts in small amounts. This helps you have the money when you need it.
Set Up Automatic Bill Pay
Many bank accounts allow you to use automatic bill pay, which is a feature that allows you to pay your bills directly from your bank account. This can include bills like:
- Auto loans
- Mortgage payments
While many of these bills let you pay online through the company websites, using bill pay can help you keep everything in one place. Plus, you can quickly see how much you have going out each month, helping you track your spending more closely.
Setting up bill pay usually involves adding in your bill information, such as account number, address and amount. You also will need to choose the day of the month you pay the bill.
- Note: Since bill pay from your bank may take a few days, it is recommended that you pay your bill before it is due.
If the bill you are paying cannot be paid online, many banks also allow you to automatically mail a check to the recipient, free of charge.
Use Built-In Budgeting Tools
Many banks now offer basic budgeting and tracking tools inside the customer dashboard, helping you set goals and keep track of your spending. While the functionality is similar to a third-party budgeting app (e.g., Mint), you don’t have to connect to another service to keep track.
Budgeting lets you set monthly spending limits in various categories and is a great way to stick to a pre-set spending plan, ultimately saving you more money. Some banks will alert you within their app when you overspend, helping keep you on track.
But, these budgeting tools aren’t the most robust, and utilizing a third-party app can still have some benefits. Apps like You Need a Budget (YNAB) offer much more customization and control than a banking app.
Overall, bank budgeting tools are a great starting point in making you more aware of your spending habits.
Set Up Alerts
Most banking apps let you set up alerts on your account, keeping you up to date on what’s going on with your balances or your spending. If your balance is getting low in any of your accounts, you can get a push notification from your banking app or an email that lets you know the current balance on the account.
This can help keep you from overdrafting your account, which is a costly mistake. Plus, you can typically create custom alerts to let you know about any spending happening in your account. For example, you can set your checking account up to alert you any time a transaction over $100 clears.
These mobile and email alerts will help you keep a closer eye on your balances and spending, helping you make better money decisions.
Many banks offer rewards programs, through credit cards or even through standard bank accounts. These rewards can help you earn cash back for your everyday spending, or earn points that can be used toward travel or other perks.
For example, Chase offers the Ultimate Rewards program for many of their credit cards, allowing you to earn points that can be used to pay yourself back or transferred to airline and hotel partners. You also can use the points to book vacations directly or even buy gift cards.
Banking rewards can help you pay for a portion of your upcoming vacation or home remodel project, getting you closer to your goals with the spending you are already doing.
Banks offer a variety of perks that can help you keep track of your finances and move you toward your financial goals. With multiple ways to automate your savings and bill pay, alerts that tell you exactly what’s happening in your accounts, and even rewards programs, banks have more to offer than just a place to park your money.
Just remember that banks aren’t in charge of your money decisions — you are. So use these banking perks to your advantage to hit some of those financial goals sooner.
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