31 July 2012
Online Banking Can Improve Financial Management

Online banking is perhaps best known for the convenience of getting account balances instantly and paying bills online.  However, consumers can also integrate online banking into financial management programs to give them a more complete picture of their finances.

One valuable benefit of online banking is the ability to monitor your accounts carefully. Checking your balances in real-time can help you avoid overdraft fees.  It may also make it easier to spot fraudulent charges that may show up on your account.

For recurring bills like rent, you can set up a schedule to pay the same amount on the same date each month to make sure you don’t miss any payments and incur late fees.  Many companies now offer customers the option of receiving bills electronically. You can instruct your online bill pay system to pay each “e-bill” in full when it comes in so you don’t have to worry about missing a payment. If you are traveling, you can schedule future payments ahead of time so you can enjoy your trip without having to access your account to pay bills.

Online Banking can also give you the ability to create reports of various kinds.  For example, you can create categories for your online payments, such as Entertainment, Groceries, and Travel, and then pull a report showing how much you spent in each category and track it over time.

Financial Tracking Software

While basic online tools will meet the needs of many consumers, people interested in tracking their budgets more closely can use a variety of PC- and Web-based software that integrates with their online banking accounts to provide a real-time picture of their income and spending.

To reduce the amount of time people spend entering transactions manually, financial applications have evolved in recent years to rely more on data downloaded from banking and investment accounts.  For instance, Mint.com® users can download and integrate data from a number of different bank and brokerage accounts to see a combined view of their financial status. Users can establish and monitor budgets that let them know how much they should be spending in specific categories or saving for future bills. Consumers can track their spending and savings patterns to identify areas of improvement, or monitor their investment portfolios on the same screen as their checking accounts.

Consumers who would prefer to store their financial information on their computer rather than the Web can use popular financial management programs such as Quicken®. As with Web-based applications, users can see summary screens and transaction registers that provide a current snapshot of their financial accounts and budgets.

Mobile Access

To provide a faster experience than Web or PC banking, a number of leading financial services firms and software providers have developed mobile banking applications designed to run on smartphones or other mobile devices.

These applications allow customers to log on and check their balances, make payments or transfer funds between accounts over cellular networks or Wi-Fi connections. Typically, the applications match the banks’ interfaces and offer a number of security features, making it safer to interact with their banks and conduct transactions.

Quicken, Mint.com and other financial management software providers offer similar apps to allow consumers to enter and update transactions while they’re on the go, allowing them to check or update their balances when they’re away from their computers.

For more information about Online Banking from Nevada State Bank, visit www.nsbank.com/online.  Nevada State Bank also offers banking and bill pay services that can be accessed through your cell phone or other mobile device.  Conditions and restrictions apply.  For more information, visit www.nsbank.com/mobile.


The information provided is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice.


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