We all know that technology has changed our world in ways both small and large. It has changed how we communicate, how we shop, and how we manage our money. Learning how to be smart about your money and the technology that we all rely on is critical for your financial health and well being. With that, we offer a few simple tips to help you keep your money safe in today’s tech savvy world.
First, be safe. Fortunately, most online shopping sites are secured and your information is not at risk. You should, however, be conscientious about protecting your passwords, avoid handling financial matters or using your credit card on open wireless networks, and exercise good common sense. Do be wary of sites you are not familiar with and consider using a reputable service like PayPal for some online transactions. Check with your credit card company regarding their policies for credit card number theft, but with smart shopping and some simple care and forethought, your information will be quite safe online.
Online bill pay is one of the most convenient options available to all of us today. There’s no longer a need to remember to put that bill in the mail five days before it is due or have stamps on hand. You should, however, understand how various online bill paying services work. Some use your bank account or credit card to make an instant payment. Others may take up to two days to credit these payments. If you are at risk of a late fee, do keep this in mind. While more and more banks offer free online bill payment, you should keep in mind that many of these services work by mailing a check drawn on your account in a timely manner. This is a helpful service, and one that many people use without difficulty, but payments are not immediate and can, in fact, take several days.
Take advantage of the money management options available. With a computer at hand, you can use budgeting software to track your spending. Both Microsoft Money and Quicken allow you to easily import bank and credit card statements, making it easier than ever to track where your money is going. You can also find budgeting software for your PDA, allowing you to track your money wherever you might be. Consider looking into money management options with online access if you are often on the road so you can keep your finances as up to date as possible (for those of you who do not like doing everything online and prefer writing).
Finally, one of the best options offered by modern technology is also the simplest. You can know, in just minutes, how much money you have. Online bank and credit card statements allow you to watch your spending carefully, prevent overdrafts and have a better handle on your overall financial state. Some banks and financial institutions may even allow you to access this information via text message, making it easier than ever. Knowing your money allows you to manage it in a way that is both smart and more convenient than ever before.