Okay. You’ve just set up your first independent bank account. A hundred to one, it’s a checking account, the account you’re going to use on a daily basis to withdraw cash, pay bills, transfer funds, deposit paychecks and manage everyday finances. Here’s how you can do it efficiently.
Set up direct deposit
Setting up direct deposit is one of the most efficient ways to deposit money without any hassles. Your employer almost definitely offers this feature. It basically means your funds will be electronically transferred to your account so you can receive payments as quickly as possible and avoid dealing with the tediousness of physical checks.
Use mobile and online banking
Online banking really is the easiest way to monitor your accounts. You can keep track of your spending habits by viewing your transaction history and balance just by logging in through a computer or your phone or tablet. Mobile/online banking also lets you pay bills, transfer money, set alerts and manage your accounts from almost anywhere in the world.
Get a debit card
A debit card lets you access your account safely without the inconvenience of cash or checks. It’s also something you can use in many places all over the world. You can use it to make ATM deposits, withdrawals and transfers and link it to digital wallets. A debit card also offers security in case you lose it or it’s stolen.
Manage overdraft fees
An overdraft fee is something you’re charged with when you spend more money than you have in your account. You can avoid them setting up alerts or just regularly checking your bank balance. Many banks offer something called optional overdraft protection. This allows you to link your checking account to another account in case of an overdraft. (These plans often come with fees though so make sure you check the terms and conditions before.)
Set up alerts
Online banking lets you set up alerts that notify you, through emails or texts, every time money leaves your account. You can also set up an alert that will let you know if your funds drop below a certain amount (which will help you avoid overdraft fees as well). All you need to set up alerts is an up-to-date email address and cell number.
You’ll have certain recurring bills each month – rent, for example, as well as phone and internet bills. Setting up automatic payments will let you pay these bills on time (and help with maintaining your credit score) without your actually ever having to do anything.
Link to other accounts
If you have more than one account, and all your accounts are at the same bank, you can easily transfer funds from one account to another (thus protecting yourself from overdraft fees as mentioned earlier). Some banks also allow connections between accounts you may have at other banks. Basically, you can manage multiple accounts without any worries at all.
Keep yourself safe
Your bank will definitely offer certain security features that will protect you if your debit card is lost or stolen. In addition, as soon as you realize your card is missing, you can call your bank and get access to it blocked – they will also review any purchases made in the interim that may have been fraudulent. Although nearly all banks offer these features, it’s always a good idea to speak to yours and know exactly what safeguards are in place for you.