Tag Archives: online

How to Not Put Yourself into Holiday Debt

christmas_sweater

By the end of the day on Black Friday, shoppers spent $5.27 billion online, a 17 percent increase in spending from last year. Chances are, you still have a few more gifts to pick up between now and December 25, and with all of the available deals and steals, it’s sometimes hard to keep your credit card in your pocket. So how do you protect yourself from accruing debt while taking advantage of exciting holiday discounts?

Read our tips below to see how you can be a smart shopper during the holidays.

Make a cash budget.

After looking over your monthly income and expenses, determine an amount of money that you and your family are comfortable with spending on holiday purchases. While you shop, only carry this amount in cash. It’s much easier to keep track of spending when you can see, and feel, your money being spent!

Alicia Whalen, Teller Supervisor from Mt. Pleasant, says, “Don’t buy anything you don’t already have the cash for. Take out cash just for Christmas purchases and when all of that is gone, then you know you don’t have any more to spend.”

If you must use a credit card, set a limit that you are confident in your ability to pay off by your credit payment due date.

Shop online.

While running out to the store and buying everything with cash is an option for some, many of us just simply don’t have the time, or the energy. By making purchases online, you’ll save money on gas and you can shop around more efficiently to make sure you’re getting what you need at the lowest price possible.

“Go online and make sure you’re getting the best deals. Realize that there’s a good chance you could find what you’re looking for at a lower cost or on another site with free shipping. It definitely pays off in the end because you don’t want to be the one that spends $50 when you could have only spent $35,” said Whalen.

As you fill up your virtual shopping cart, know how much money you have coming in and going out by checking your account balances online, or on the Two Rivers Bank & Trust Mobile Money app in iTunes or Google Play. It’s also wise to use your debit card instead of your credit card to ensure that you always have enough money for your purchases.

Know what you’re going to buy.

Have a plan and go into a store knowing exactly what items you intend on purchasing and stick to it! Impulse buys will leave your wallet drained, and you’ll have excess stuff that you probably didn’t need in the first place.

Set aside money year-round.

Two Rivers Bank & Trust has a Christmas Club, which is essentially a savings account that allows you to add money on a monthly or weekly basis to set aside funds for the holidays. Then, at the end of October, your Christmas Club funds are transferred into your personal checking account so you can use that money over the next two months on gifts.

Whalen thinks the Two Rivers Bank & Trust Christmas Club is a great option for families that always feel tighter with their finances during the holidays. “It alleviates the stress of having the holidays approach and having that feeling of, ‘How am I going to pay for Christmas?’ and instead, you have the money and don’t have to worry about it.”

Be mindful of the bargains.

Remember that some retailers price their products higher in order to create the perception of a bargain. Be mindful of your purchases and determine whether or not the “bargain” is really a good value. In addition, be sure to assign a level of importance to all of your purchases since you are working with a specified amount of money.

Get rewarded with every purchase!

With TR Cash Back Checking, earn Cash Back rewards* just for using your debit card! There are no minimum balances or monthly fees. Best of all, you can use your online banking app to keep track of your spending as easily as you would with cash! Click here to open your account now!

*Earn $.10 for each POS (Point of Sale) debit card transaction in excess of $10. Qualifications: to receive cash back you must receive electronic statements.

Banking at Your Fingertips – Mobile Money App

At Two Rivers Bank & Trust, we like to make banking as convenient as possible—which is why features like mobile banking, online bill pay and electronic statements were all made with YOU in mind!

Mobile App 1Believe it or not, that’s just the beginning! We’ve added even more to our arsenal, and now it’s even easier to take your banking with you with the Two Rivers Bank & Trust mobile app!

The Two Rivers Bank & Trust Mobile Money app provides quick, easy, and secure access to your accounts — anytime, anywhere. You can check balances, transfer funds, pay bills, and find Two Rivers Bank or ATM locations, but it doesn’t stop there.

Assistant Vice President of Community Banking, Liz Ross, talks about even more exciting features you can put to use right now when you download the mobile money app.

Manage Your Cards

“One of my favorite features is the ability to turn your debit card on or off,” said Ross. “So let’s say you’re looking through your purse for your debit card and you can’t remember the last time you used it. You panic. What would you normally do? You’d call the bank. Now, you can log right into your online banking, and with two clicks, turn your debit card off. Then, if you end up finding the card, you can pick your phone back up, and with two clicks, it’s right back on.”

stolen debit card large

Organize Mobile Receipts

“If you’re like me, whenever you open up your purse or a drawer, you have a ton of receipts you’ve thrown everywhere, because at some point you know you need to settle your accounts. With our new mobile app, you have the ability to take a picture of your receipt and tie it to the transaction, allowing you to get rid of the piece of paper by capturing and saving it on your device. It keeps you organized!”

Ross also expressed her excitement for some “coming soon” features that Two Rivers Bank & Trust anticipates launching in early 2017!

Receipts

SPIN—Coming Soon!

Spin is the ability to pay someone or make transfers with your debit card. “So, let’s say you’re out to lunch with a friend and they want to pay you for lunch. You can simply initiate that transfer right at the table with your mobile app,” said Ross. “All you have to do is enter their information, and then they’ll get a cue to enter in their debit card information and it’ll send the money directly to your account.”

Apple Pay—Coming Soon!

Apple Pay is the ability to use your iPhone to make payments at grocery stores, restaurants—wherever it is compatible. Pay in seconds by placing your finger over the Touch ID on your iPhone while you hold it near the Apple Pay reader, and you’re done!

“The Two Rivers Bank & Trust mobile app is simple, safe and secure,” said Ross. “You’re in control because you always have your phone, so you can manage your accounts from anywhere. It’s a great opportunity to take control of your finances.”

Anyone who has a mobile, smartphone device can take advantage of the Two Rivers Bank & Trust mobile app. Unfortunately, those with flip phones won’t be able to use it and its features, but Two Rivers does also provide a text banking service to those without smartphones.

You can find the free Two Rivers Bank & Trust mobile app in the iTunes app store or in the Google Play store by searching, “Two Rivers mobile money.”

If you don’t know where to begin, have questions or just want someone to guide you through the process, let us know! “We would love to have the opportunity to sit down with you and walk you through the app,” said Ross. “We’d really love to get everyone as excited about it as we are!”

How debit card fraud happens – and how to avoid it

credit card fraud

For many people, debit cards are the perfect plastic. They offer most of the conveniences of credit cards with no risk of accumulating debt.

But like credit cards, debit cards are vulnerable to rip-off artists. And debit card fraud is particularly scary because thieves can withdraw money directly from your checking account.

Here’s how debit fraud happens and how to protect yourself.

How identity thieves operate

Debit card fraud can be sophisticated or old-school. Thieves use techniques including:

Hacking

When you bank or shop on public Wi-Fi networks, hackers can use keylogging software to capture everything you type, including your name, debit card account number and PIN.

Phishing

Be wary of messages soliciting your account information. Emails can look like they’re from legitimate sources but actually be from scammers. If you click on an embedded link and enter your personal information, that data can go straight to criminals.

Skimming

Identity thieves can retrieve account data from your card’s magnetic strip using a device called a skimmer, which they can stash in ATMs and store card readers. They can then use that data to produce counterfeit cards. EMV chip cards, which are replacing magnetic strip cards, are expected to eliminate this risk.

Spying

Plain old spying is still going strong. Criminals can plant cameras near ATMs or simply look over your shoulder as you take out your card and enter your PIN. They can also pretend to be good Samaritans, offering to help you remove a stuck card from an ATM slot.

Smart ways to protect yourself

Adopt these simple habits to greatly reduce your odds of falling victim to debit card fraud:

  • Be careful online: Shop and bank on secure websites with private Wi-Fi. If you must shop or bank in public, download a virtual private network to protect your privacy.
  • Monitor your accounts: Review your statements and sign up for text or email alerts so you can catch debit card fraud attempts early.
  • Don’t ignore data breach notifications: The majority of identity theft victims received warnings that their accounts might have been breached but did nothing. If you get one of these messages, change your PIN and ask your provider to change your debit card number. You can also ask one of the major credit card bureaus to place a fraud alert on your file.
  • Inspect card readers and ATMs: Don’t use card slots that look dirty or show evidence of tampering, such as scratches, glue or debris. And steer clear of machines with strange instructions, such as “Enter PIN twice.”
  • Cover your card: When using your debit card or typing your PIN at an ATM, block the view with your other hand. Go to a different location entirely if suspicious people are hanging around the ATM, and if your card gets stuck, notify the bank directly rather than accepting “help” from strangers.

Even if you’ve taken precautions, debit card fraud can still happen. If your card gets hacked, don’t panic. Tell your bank or credit union right away so you won’t be held responsible for unauthorized charges, and file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.

Roberta Pescow, NerdWallet

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