Does banking technology really make your life easier?
You look for a lot of things when picking a bank. Rates, price and location are probably all at the top of your list. These days technology is likely right there with it.
Technology promises to make your life easier, and sometimes it does. But what we’re after isn’t the latest app or online feature. What we’re really chasing is something that’s simple and saves us time and effort.
When it comes to banking technology, these are the features you should focus on: the ones that actually make things easy.
A Simple Interface
Online banking is a balancing act. You want the ability to do most of your business from your phone or computer, but too many features make it cluttered and overcomplicated. I’m only using a few of the basic features to do 90 percent of my business, why should I worry about extra apps and dashboards? I prefer a simple, streamlined online banking interface to one with every bell and whistle and endless customization.
Complete Financial Picture
One of the most helpful features you can find in online and mobile banking for your personal business is the ability to tie in accounts from multiple institutions. If I can view my bank accounts, credit cards, investments and more all in one place, I can see the whole picture at once which is always a plus. Some banks even offer tools that automatically track your spending and income to chart trends and group together spending categories. This can really give you a good idea of what’s happening with your money.
Easy Ways to Pay
Most everyone offers some form of online bill pay, so look at the fine details to see what you like and don’t like. Do you get timely alerts about bill due dates? Can you schedule in advance? Does it allow for electronic bills? And what about person-to-person payments? With so many options and flavors of the month for payment apps, what really matters is making sure it’s easy to send and easy to receive.
Easy Ways to Deposit
If your bank makes it easy to send money, they should make it easy to receive money, too. Depositing checks from your phone isn’t new, but it is extremely convenient. For businesses, remote deposit options can be critical. Ask about how you can deposit large numbers of checks without having to rush to the bank before it closes.
Access to Everything Else
Also for businesses, can you get to all your other services from one place? Specifically wires, ACH, Positive Pay and more. Banks that offer single sign-on or a link to these services from within online banking – not to mention easy-to-use tokens for security – make it easy for you to manage your cash flow.
Here’s the bottom line: Technology isn’t what matters. How you’re able to use technology is what matters. Does it make it easier for you to do your business? Or does it overcomplicate otherwise simple processes? Does it add value to your banking relationship? Or does it come at the expense of connecting with a person?
In a time when technology is replacing people, 1-800 numbers are replacing local contacts, and banks are opening branches with video conferencing instead of tellers, it’s important to remember that your ease of doing business doesn’t come from technology alone.
Most banks offer pretty comparable technology. The difference makers are the people behind the machines. Technology shouldn’t be a replacement for people. It should be a bridge to connecting with them further.
Joelle Rogin is a financial advisor at Pinnacle Financial Partners’ Shady Grove office in Memphis, TN. She can be reached by phone at 901-259-2127 or by email at [email protected].