ShopSmart Shares Time and Money-Saving Bank Perks

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Five Services That Make Banking More Convenient and Rewarding for Customers

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Paying bills and other banking chores can be a pain, but most banks now offer these services at customers’ fingertips. The June 2013 issue of ShopSmart magazine, from Consumer Reports, spotlights five bank services that make check deposits, money transfers and other transactions easier than ever, plus, some can even save users money.

“There’s almost no reason to schlep to your local branch or an ATM anymore,” said Lisa Lee Freeman, editor-in-chief of ShopSmart. “Many banks are allowing their customers to handle some transactions right from their phones or tablets.”

Five Time- and Money- Saving Bank Perks

1. Person-to-person payments. Bank customers who owe a friend or family member money can pay them back the same way they pay their monthly bills by creating a new payee in the person-to-person section of their online banking setup. To send money, enter the recipients name, amount to be paid, the date it should be sent, the account from which it’s to be taken, add a memo to explain what it’s for and simply click “send.”

2. Electronic check deposits. It’s no longer necessary for customers to trudge to a branch or ATM to put checks in their accounts. More and more banks are letting customers use smart-phones or tablet for these transactions. Bank customers can photograph checks and deposit them electronically via a mobile banking app. To ensure the safety of banking information, consider installing security software that detects and removes malware and lets users remotely lock or delete data if the phone is lost or stolen. Also, avoid public wireless networks to prevent theft of account information.

3. On-the-go account monitoring. Use a smart-phone app or mobile websites to keep track of balances, transfer funds, avoid overdrafts find ATMs, and monitor account activity in real time to detect fraud.

4. Online budgeting tools. Use a debit card for most day-to-day shopping and programs offered by Bank of America, Citi, Wells Fargo, and many others will help customers pinpoint budget busters. Also, look for financial-planning tips and mortgage and insurance calculators.

5. Discounts from retailers. Some banks feature retailer ads or coupons in online statements – a new type of promotion that analyzes a customer’s banking, credit, and social-media activity to offer personalized discounts of say, 5 to 20 percent that users can click on for on-the-spot deals.

About Consumer Reports:
Consumer Reports is the world’s largest independent product-testing organization. Using its more than 50 labs, auto test center, and survey research center, the nonprofit rates thousands of products and services annually. Founded in 1936, Consumer Reports has over 8 million subscribers to its magazine, website, and other publications. Its advocacy division, Consumers Union, works for health reform, food and product safety, financial reform, and other consumer issues in Washington, D.C., the states, and in the marketplace.

About ShopSmart magazine:
Launched in Fall 2006 by Consumer Reports, ShopSmart draws upon the publication’s celebrated tradition of accepting no advertisements and providing unbiased product reviews. ShopSmart features product reviews, shopping tips on how to get the most out of products and “best of the best” lists. It’s ideal for busy shoppers who place a premium on time. ShopSmart has a newsstand price of $4.99 and is available nationwide at major retailers including Barnes & Noble, Wal-Mart, Borders, Kroger, Safeway and Publix. ShopSmart is available by subscription at

ShopSmart is available 10 times a year. Subscribe at

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Melissa Valentino
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