What are my options for digital banking?

Plenty. We live in the digital age, where you don’t even need to leave your couch to do anything; from buying groceries to meeting the love of your life. Destinations Credit Union is part of the many financial institutions allowing you to bank from a mobile device, and even through a mobile app!

In fact, The digital age is ushering in a new era of green banking, and the planet is healthier for it already. Mobile banking saves gas that you would spend on making a special trip to a branch. It saves paper that would be used on statements or receipts. Of course, the advent of the credit card is cutting down quite a bit on the paper, metals and energy used to make, track, and replace dollars and coins. Sites like Paypal or GoFundMe allow you to pay or be paid instantly, which cuts out the need for paper in checks or, again, receipts and paper money. The same goes for the ability to pay bills automatically online, either through your online/mobile banking page or through the company’s website. 

Are there any risks to digital banking? 

While the benefits are fantastic, digital banking does come with a few small risks. Some people find keeping a budget to be more difficult when they can just look at their phone and rationalize a purchase they don’t need simply because their balance seems okay. This is best solved with separate accounts for savings and spending, so you never think you have more money than you do. Also, although you can do quite a lot of your banking online, you can’t do everything. There are still some important tasks that you need to do in person, including setting up new accounts and making deposits over a certain threshold.

Of course, the biggest concern with banking in the digital age is the ever-looming threat of hackers. Robbery no longer looks like a tall man in a ski mask with a revolver. Instead, most robbery happens through identity theft, perpetrated by a much scarier, faceless criminal who could be anywhere. Protecting security is at the forefront of everyone’s minds, and Destinations Credit Union uses industry-leading security protection technology. You can help by choosing strong passwords and avoiding online banking from public computers. Fortunately, identity theft is still quite rare. In fact, online banking has helped reduce much of the danger that comes from having paper with personal information on it sitting in the garbage can for anyone to find. The benefits that online banking provides continue to outweigh the risks. 

Are there any banking initiatives that directly support environmental sustainability? 
For starters, an ethical financial institution is one whose primary goal is to support sustainability and the long-term health of its community. Credit unions nationally have led the charge by identifying and supporting local businesses. The less distance goods have to travel, the less CO2 gets pumped into the atmosphere. Destinations Credit Union has also contributed to green initiatives across the community, such as conversion to a mostly paperless system and our annual shred day. Buying an energy-efficient car or building green features into your home can help build a sustainable future. 

How can this help me? 

In addition to the long-term benefits of going green, sustainable banking offers many advantages. Online banking can be done at any time and any place – no waiting for the branch to open, no wasting extra gas money driving to the ATM. Having receipts and monthly statements emailed to you keeps them all in one place, which allows for easy organization and budgeting.

The ability to be paid instantly allows you to, well, be paid instantly. No more waiting for a check to cash or losing it at the bottom of your purse. With automatic bill payments, you can put the bills right out of mind and never have to worry about forgetting them again. This does great things for your stress level and your credit score. In the end, saving the earth can also save you time, money and energy. 

How can I go green banking? 

In the year 2016, green banking is easier than ever. If you’re ready to be a part of the future, take these four easy steps:

  • Download our app for easy access to your accounts from anywhere in the world (note, you must be enrolled in and know your online banking credentials to use the app).
  • Enroll in paperless statements and get your important financial updates via email.
  • Set up direct deposit to split your paycheck between your savings and your checking and/or to make loan payments.
  • Use online bill pay to automatically and securely pay your bills each month.


Securing Your Phone


If you spent time on Twitter, CNN, or just about any other corner of the Internet, you might believe that they only thing that happened anywhere in the universe last week was Apple’s product announcement on Wednesday. Joined by developers from Adobe and Microsoft, the company showed off a new iPad, new iPhone, and a pencil. That’s right, a pencil.

In all the excitement of a new $70 pencil, it was easy to miss Apple’s discussion of iOS 9, which is to be released September 16. For some, however, that date was surprising, because their phones had been asking them to upgrade to iOS 9 for days. Unfortunately, that update was not from Apple. It was from scammers, hoping to gain access to people’s mobile phones, where we keep all of our secrets. The effects of the attempted scam appear to be minimal so far, but it’s a great reminder to brush up on our mobile security. Here are some quick steps you can take to protect yourself on your phone:
 
1). Always update your software. It can be annoying to find a time to plug in your phone when you’re on Wi-Fi, and sometimes you don’t want to put your phone down for an hour or more while it downloads the most recent operating system. For smaller apps, it can feel like you’re dealing with a new update every other week. What’s the deal? Those apps never seem to add anything useful. 

The reason you get so many little updates is that the apps from major developers are constantly getting security updates. Google and Microsoft update every two weeks, usually with minor bug fixes and security updates, but they’ll update more frequently if security risks dictate it.  It might be annoying sometimes, but the frequency of those updates is the best security you have for the software you use on your phone everyday. 

The biggest security issues are covered by operating system updates. Apple is notoriously slow on OS updates, just like they are with many of their apps, which only serves to make their updates even more important.  When iOS 9 comes out on the 16th, it will be their third major update of the year, which is far more frequent than usual.  If you’re currently running anything before iOS 8.4.1, your security is out of date, and only going to be more antiquated next week.  Take the time to update–it’s worth it. 

2). Think about the Wi-Fi you connect to.  If you’re still on a restrictive data plan – and with the price of mobile data being what it is, no one would blame you – you understand the relief that finding the open Wi-Fi connection of a fast-food restaurant or coffee shop can provide.  But that relief might be misguided.  After all, that barista – the one with the tattoos, piercings, and boho sense of cool – isn’t an IT specialist.  It’s unlikely they get paid much more than minimum wage plus tips, and that kind of salary doesn’t attract tech-savvy security experts.  When was the last time the router was replaced? When did they last update the firmware or check the network for viruses?  You’re about to connect your phone, which may be the most expensive object on your person, the object you use the most often, and the most irreplaceable tether to your family and friends to a network whose security is at best questionable and at worst far from safe. If all you were planning to do was check social media or the box score of last night’s game, you might want to just stay on your LTE or 4G network.  If you were going to do anything more private, whether it’s email, banking, or shopping, you definitely want to consider whether that coffee shop wi-fi is a good idea. 

3).  Reconsider what you do on your phone.  If you had a time machine and could show your smart phone to a younger you from the 1990s, the younger you would be stunned.  If you were into grunge music, you might use Spotify or Apple Music to explain that you now carry every song ever recorded in your pocket at all times.  If you spent the 1990s rollerblading, you might pull up MyFitnessPal or Nike+ to show how you can track your heart rate, calories burned, and steps taken every day.  If you spent the 1990s in an office, you might pull out Excel or PowerPoint to explain that, well, basically it’s the same thing, but on a smaller screen.  The next thing that would happen, though, is that they younger you would ask what else you use it for everyday.  You’d explain messaging and email, but when you explained mobile banking how would you react? 

If you told your younger self that you had a personal computer in your pocket at all times, and that you put your most private secrets in it – from medical information to intimate conversations with your romantic partner to your financial data – which you then sent out into the world through an invisible network (which you don’t understand), which then ran your secrets through servers (in a location that you don’t know), before traveling through another hard-wired network (that you can’t explain) to your financial institution or investment firm, where the information immediately reversed course and came back to you over the same mysterious connections…If you told that to your younger self would they be impressed?  Or would they smash the phone on the ground and slap you in the face for your stupidity?  How can you trust your secrets that way?  Why are you putting all of that information in one place? 

If you want to protect your information online, you need to use the kinds of software that are built with security protocols and frequent updates.  With Destinations Credit Union Mobile Banking, we have found the best software security providers in the business and built layer after layer to protect your information.  We’re not interested in disappointing the 90’s version of you, who still believes that there’s a difference between public life and private life.  We want your information safe and secure. 

Our app also lets you deposit checks with your camera, make transfers, track your spending, report fraudulent activity, or do virtually anything else you could do in our brick and mortar locations.  Most importantly, it’s still us on the other end – a neighborhood credit union that puts service for members ahead of profits, so you know we’re not going to cut corners on security.

Destinations Credit Union is also in the process of a major upgrade to our mobile app which will include many more features, including bill payment

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Mobile Banking – 4 Ways To Stay On Top Of Your Finances While On The Go

Most people have a checklist they go through before they leave the house. Is the stove turned off? Are the doors locked? Do I have my wallet, my keys and my cellphone? The only thing that has changed about that process in the last few years has been the addition of that last item on the list.

Today, 91% of Americans have cellphones and 61% of them have smartphones. This is a remarkable change from even two years ago. More than half of the people you see every day are carrying a computer that dwarfs the most powerful computing technology that was available a decade ago. It’s also connected to all of the world’s information, literally at our fingertips. What do we use it for? Drawing moustaches on our selfies and tossing wingless birds at shoddily made pig housing.

If you’d like to use your smartphone for more sophisticated purposes, plus add a ton of convenience and peace of mind to your life, consider mobile banking. With a couple of taps, you can access a whole suite of financial information. Let’s look at four scenarios where mobile banking can save you some time … and even some money. 

1.) Say goodbye to security woes 

Despite all of the data breaches that have been in the public eye over the past few years, no one has figured out how to compromise mobile devices as a platform. Security leaks have affected PCs, Macs and point of sale terminals, but no widespread security vulnerability has compromised mobile banking. Despite the fear, mobile banking is actually a fundamentally secure platform.

The first reason for this is the plurality of platforms. You and your neighbor may not be able to share cellphone chargers, much less apps or other experiences. This diversity makes it difficult for a single vulnerability to affect many users. Since there’s less possibility of large scale attacks, hackers have very little incentive to dedicate time toward trying to compromise mobile platforms.

The second reason for this is the tight control placed on mobile devices. Because these devices have to send regular usage information back to your mobile provider, they tend to be far less prone to modification. There’s just not as much you can do to an iPhone or an Android as you can to a PC. While some users might override those protections, such modifications are not widespread enough to justify attempted infiltration.

Mobile banking is secure and safe. Data transmitted from your cellphone to your provider is heavily encrypted. If you lose your phone, it can be remotely deactivated and passwords usually aren’t stored on the device. 

2.) You can check your balance any time 

Rather than waiting for your statement every month or booting up that slow PC for checking your account balances online, you can view transactions while waiting for a bus or in line at a restaurant. You can stay vigilant against illegal account access any time you’ve got your phone and a spare few seconds.

The convenience of mobile banking can also keep you from making costly mistakes. If you know funds may be running tight, check your account balance while in the checkout line to make sure you can cover the cost of your purchases. You can see if your monthly rent check has been withdrawn from your account to avoid the costly fees associated with overdrafting. It’s easier than ever to keep track of your finances.

You can also help to prevent errors with mobile banking. Accidental overpayment, duplicate payments and other errors are a regrettable reality of the modern high-speed economy. By regularly checking your account statement, you can catch these pesky problems before they turn into big issues. 

3.) It’s where you’ll find the next big thing 

Mobile payments and mobile check depositing are becoming more widely available and are already being used in many places. As technology gets better, these functions will become cheaper, faster and even more widespread. Getting involved in mobile banking on the ground floor will help you stay up to speed with this rapidly evolving world.

Imagine getting turn-by-turn walking directions to your nearest ATM. You could get alerts when new houses are listed for sale along your daily commute. You might pay for your breakfast by signing a receipt on your phone.  These and other changes are coming and they are only the beginning. If mobile banking doesn’t do something you need, wait six months. Someone will probably find an app for that. 

4.) 24-hour-a-day instant access 

Do you ever wake up in the middle of the night in a panic because you can’t remember if you paid your electric bill? Ever have a tiny freakout on the bus because you suspect someone may have accessed your account? Are money worries preventing you from enjoying your vacation? If you have these concerns and are nowhere near your computer, you could just suffer through them.

As an alternative, though, you could use a mobile app to check your balance and transaction history. See if your monthly bills have cleared. Make sure your balance is safe. You can do all of this any time you’ve got your phone, day or night.

Mobile banking won’t replace traditional, face-to-face interaction. There will always be a place in the credit union service standards for the human interaction. What mobile banking apps offer is a wonderful supplement to those high-quality services. Space-age convenience, top-level security, and blissful peace of mind are all available from your pocket, anywhere in the world. 

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