10 Online Banking Alerts You Really Should Turn On


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When it comes to managing your financial life, technology can be your friend. By toggling on banking alerts, you can stay on top of your bank accounts and possibly avoid such issues as overdraft, late fees, and unauthorized use of your banking details.

Setting up automated alerts can be quick and easy, but you may need help knowing which are the right ones to use to suit your needs. Here’s a guide to 10 of the most valuable online banking alerts that you may find useful.

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What Are Mobile Banking Alerts?

Mobile banking alerts are typically alerts sent by email and/or text that keep you updated on the status of your accounts. They can share important information about your finances (such as, say, you are about to overdraft your account) or they can help protect your account by informing you of a new log-in.

In many cases, you can customize how you want to receive mobile banking alerts, whether by email, text message, and/or push notification. You can also personalize the alerts. For example, one person might want a low balance alert when their account balance falls under $200, while another person might want to be notified when their account gets down to $25.

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What Are the Benefits of Online Banking Alerts?

These alerts can help keep your bank account safe online and protect your financial status in the following ways:

  •    Allow you to monitor your banking activity
  •    Help you avoid unauthorized activity
  •    Prevent scams and fraud
  •    Alert you to low balances so you can steer clear of overdraft and related fees
  •    Help you manage debit card purchase behavior
  •    Know when an important payment or debit is made
  •    Feel more in control and secure of your finances.

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Mobile Banking Alerts You Should Turn On

Here are 10 important mobile banking alerts. See which ones might suit your particular situation and needs.

1. Low Balance

Cars have gas lights to warn drivers when fuel is close to empty, so why shouldn’t bank accounts?

  • A low balance alert lets you know when funds have dipped below a predetermined amount—it could be $20, $1,000, or any amount you set. This can help keep you from overspending and triggering expensive overdraft fees.
  • When you receive an overdraft alert, you can then decide if you want to transfer money into your account or hold off on making a purchase until your next paycheck clears. You can potentially avoid having a negative bank balance.

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2. Direct Deposit

Constantly checking your account to see if your paycheck has been deposited can be a nuisance, particularly if you only recently set up direct deposit (which can take one or two pay cycles to get going).

If you sign up for a direct deposit notification, however, you’ll know exactly when money sent electronically to your account has been deposited and is ready to use.

Being notified of direct deposits each paycycle can also help you make sure that your employer is paying on time and that you have enough money in your account to cover bills and automatic expenses.

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3. Unusual Activity Alert

Unfortunately, millions of people report fraud and identity theft to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) each year.

Setting up an unusual activity mobile account alert can save account holders a lot of headaches, as well as time and money, should their accounts ever become compromised.

An unusual activity alert notifies consumers when there’s a change in their account status that’s outside the norm. For example, if a large amount of money gets transferred out of the account all at once and this is something that rarely occurs, you would receive an unusual activity alert.

Or, an alert might let you if purchases are being made outside your typical travel area.

By alerting you the moment a potential fraud takes place, you can take action quickly, report the transaction, or even freeze your account.

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4. New Log-In Alert

Another helpful way to protect your accounts against bank fraud and theft is to set up a new log-in account alert.

This alert lets you know when someone has logged into your account from a computer or device that has never been used to access your account before.

If you weren’t the one logging in, you can possibly stymie the fraudster by immediately changing your password and even freezing your account to prevent spending.

Some financial institutions also allow customers to set up multifactor authentication on their account (which requires users to provide multiple pieces of identifying information, not just a username and password to access an account), which can even further protect your money.

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5. Large Purchase Alert

Some banks allow users to set up a customizable large purchase alert. With this kind of online banking alert, you will usually receive a message whenever a purchase over a certain dollar amount (which typically you determine) is about to be charged to your account.

If you see the alert and don’t recognize the purchase, you may then be able to block the transaction.

Having a large purchase alert set up can help prevent fraud, but also human error. If a restaurant server accidentally adds an extra zero to a dinner bill, a large purchase alert could go off. That could save you the hassle of reporting the purchase later and trying to have it reversed.

This mobile bank alert may be especially helpful if you are not in the habit of monitoring your bank account on a regular basis.

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6. Overdraft Alert

If you overdraw your account using a check or debit card, your bank might allow the transaction, letting you spend more money than you actually have in your account.

Typically, this comes with a price — an overdraft or NSF fees (which can often exceed $35). And, if you don’t realize you’re overdrafting your account, you might continue to make purchases, and incur a fee on each one.

Depending on the bank, if your account remains in a negative balance for an extended number of days, your account could even be closed.

To avoid these problems, If you get an overdraft alert, you may want to:

  • Add money to your account as quickly as possible to prevent any more overdrafts. If you move quickly, you might possibly be able to avoid the first overdraft fee (check if your bank has a deadline to deposit money that might help you avoid an overdraft fee).
  • Some banks have no overdraft fees up to a certain dollar amount; check and see if yours offers this feature.

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7. Profile Changes Alert

Profile change bank alerts notify you if someone has tried to change your password, username, or any personal information in your profile, such as contact information or opting out of bills through mail.

If you see something was changed and you didn’t make the changes, you’ll likely want to change your password ASAP and alert the bank to help protect your account.

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8. Large ATM Withdrawal Alert

Setting an alert for withdrawals from an ATM or debit card lets a person know when cash has left their account.

This might be helpful in the event that there are multiple authorized users on the card (so you are aware of a change in the account balance) but also if the card has been stolen.

According to the FTC, the maximum loss for a person who reports their card as lost within two days of discovery is $50. That means even if a thief steals a debit or ATM card and wipes out the account’s balance, the account holder would not be out more than $50.

If a person doesn’t notice their ATM or debit card has gone missing, a withdrawal notification could be the first thing to alert them.

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9. Debit Card Alert

This kind of alert clues you in to debit card transactions. It can tell you in real time about your debit card’s usage. It can be especially helpful as it can indicate when someone is using a debit card online that belongs to you.

If this is an unauthorized transaction, you can take action to contact your bank and freeze your account as needed. Remember, if you report misuse of your card number within two days of the event, you are not liable for more than $50, per the Electronic Funds Transfer Act. In this way, online banking activity alerts could help you avoid having to pay for fraudulent charges.

(Learn more: Personal Loan Calculator

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10. Upcoming Payment Alert

An upcoming payment alert can be a good way to stay posted on recurring or one-time scheduled payments. For instance, if you had scheduled a payment of a medical bill a couple of weeks ago to happen right now, the alert could nudge you to check your balance and make sure you’re in good shape to cover the expense.

Or an upcoming payment alert could remind you that you are paying for, say, a streaming channel you haven’t been watching and you might decide to cancel and save some money.

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What to Do After Getting an Online Banking Alert or Bank Notification?

If you receive a mobile banking alert or bank notification, you may or may not need to take action.

  • If the message tells you something you already knew or expected (say, that you received your paycheck or your mortgage was paid per your instructions), no action is needed.
  • If you receive an alert that your bank account is low and/or you are tisk of overdraft, you can transfer funds to avoid problems and fees.
  • If you are informed that a transaction or log-in occurred that you do not recognize, you can (and should) alert your bank’s customer service ASAP to avoid fraudulent activity and consequent issues, such as identity theft. In addition, you may want to change passwords or freeze your account.

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The Takeaway

Online banking alerts can help you manage your financial life more conveniently. Automatic bank alerts can provide you with important and timely account information, such as when your account balance falls below a certain amount or when your paycheck has been electronically deposited.

This can help you keep track of your account and your spending, as well as avoid costly overdraft fees. They can also notify you right away if there’s unusual activity on your account, which can help you resolve any fraudulent activity on your account. Setting up alerts is a personal decision and can be changed as your needs evolve.

This article originally appeared on SoFi.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

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SoFi members with direct deposit activity can earn 4.60% annual percentage yield (APY) on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Direct Deposit means a deposit to an account holder’s SoFi Checking or Savings account, including payroll, pension, or government payments (e.g., Social Security), made by the account holder’s employer, payroll or benefits provider or government agency (“Direct Deposit”) via the Automated Clearing House (“ACH”) Network during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Deposits that are not from an employer or government agency, including but not limited to check deposits, peer-to-peer transfers (e.g., transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc.), merchant transactions (e.g., transactions from PayPal, Stripe, Square, etc.), and bank ACH funds transfers and wire transfers from external accounts, do not constitute Direct Deposit activity. There is no minimum Direct Deposit amount required to qualify for the stated interest rate.

SoFi members with Qualifying Deposits can earn 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Qualifying Deposits means one or more deposits that, in the aggregate, are equal to or greater than $5,000 to an account holder’s SoFi Checking and Savings account (“Qualifying Deposits”) during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Qualifying Deposits only include those deposits from the following eligible sources: (i) ACH transfers, (ii) inbound wire transfers, (iii) peer-to-peer transfers (i.e., external transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc. and internal peer-to-peer transfers from a SoFi account belonging to another account holder), (iv) check deposits, (v) instant funding to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, (vi) push payments to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, and (vii) cash deposits. Qualifying Deposits do not include: (i) transfers between an account holder’s Checking account, Savings account, and/or Vaults; (ii) interest payments; (iii) bonuses issued by SoFi Bank or its affiliates; or (iv) credits, reversals, and refunds from SoFi Bank, N.A. (“SoFi Bank”) or from a merchant.

SoFi Bank shall, in its sole discretion, assess each account holder’s Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits throughout each 30-Day Evaluation Period to determine the applicability of rates and may request additional documentation for verification of eligibility. The 30-Day Evaluation Period refers to the “Start Date” and “End Date” set forth on the APY Details page of your account, which comprises a period of 30 calendar days (the “30-Day Evaluation Period”). You can access the APY Details page at any time by logging into your SoFi account on the SoFi mobile app or SoFi website and selecting either (i) Banking > Savings > Current APY or (ii) Banking > Checking > Current APY.

 Upon receiving a Direct Deposit or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits to your account, you will begin earning 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% on checking balances on or before the following calendar day. You will continue to earn these APYs for (i) the remainder of the current 30-Day Evaluation Period and through the end of the subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period and (ii) any following 30-day Evaluation Periods during which SoFi Bank determines you to have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits without interruption.

SoFi Bank reserves the right to grant a grace period to account holders following a change in Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits activity before adjusting rates. If SoFi Bank grants you a grace period, the dates for such grace period will be reflected on the APY Details page of your account. If SoFi Bank determines that you did not have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits during the current 30-day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, then you will begin earning the rates earned by account holders without either Direct Deposit or Qualifying Deposits until you have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits in a subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period. For the avoidance of doubt, an account holder with both Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits will earn the rates earned by account holders with Direct Deposit.

Members without either Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits, as determined by SoFi Bank, during a 30-Day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, will earn 1.20% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances.

Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. These rates are current as of 10/24/2023. There is no minimum balance requirement. Additional information can be found at https://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

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