By Christina Orlovsky Page, contributor
November 5, 2010 - Nursing has the benefit of being a caring profession, but it also has the added bonus of being a solid career choice, offering competitive salaries in a difficult economic time. As such, it’s important for nurses to know the best ways to balance their budgets and manage their finances.
Luckily, in today’s technological world, financial savvy is available at your fingertips, with high-tech tools available to help you manage your money quickly, easily and on the go.
While there’s an endless supply of financial software and online calculators available to help individuals track their finances and balance their budgets, perhaps the most convenient new tools available today are those offered by your neighborhood banking institutions. And many of these online services are offered free of charge or at minimal expense.
“Our customers tell us that want to bank on their terms, which means having flexibility and convenience and, most importantly, access to their funds 24/7,” said Tara Burke, a spokesperson for Bank of America. “Being able to offer our customers the access to pay their bills while waiting in line or commuting on the train has proven to be beneficial and has enhanced the customer experience.”
Bank of America is just one of many financial institutions across the country that offers its customers the ability to bank when they want to, no matter where they are. Specifically, Burke acknowledged several different banking tools that meet with today’s need for instant access.
“We offer mobile banking, text banking, online banking and access to over 18,000 ATMs nationwide,” she said. “We’ve seen a significant uptick in the number of customers signing up and using our mobile banking platform, with more than 5.5 million users since launching in 2007.”
In fact, mobile banking – whether it’s from a computer, a cell phone or a smart phone like an iPhone – is almost as prevalent as the commercials letting you know, “There’s an app for that.”
Chase Bank has implemented numerous e-mail and mobile banking tools that help customers keep track of their funds, manage multiple accounts and ensure protection from bank fraud. Chase customers can set up e-mail alerts to learn when money gets deposited, when their account goes below a predetermined value and when a transfer exceeds a predetermined limit. New texting tools serve as an added value to text-savvy consumers.
“To access your accounts on the go, you can text Chase with the word BAL and the bank will send you back your balances,” explained Gary Kishner, Chase Bank spokesperson. “If you’ve opted in for overdraft protection, you can also set up text alerts that let you know as soon as you’ve overdrawn your account. You can then immediately transfer money via text so you won’t incur any overdraft charges. It’s an immediate way to protect yourself from fees.”
Perhaps the most popular new tool offered by Chase is the ability to deposit a check via text with an iPhone app.
“You simply log into your account through the iPhone app, take a picture of the front and back of an endorsed check and it’s deposited,” Kishner said. “It’s very convenient way to make a deposit if you can’t get to the bank.”
Both Chase and Bank of America also offer Web-based tools to help customers balance their budget.
“Our budget planning tool My Portfolio allows customers to view their monthly expenses and help them save,” explained Burke. “We also offer various savings programs such as Keep the Change and Add it Up.” Chase helps its credit card users balance their budget and manage their debt through an online feature called Blueprint, which offers a consumer-friendly educational and money management tool to help individuals see exactly where their money is going each month, design customized payment plans and monitor their debt-reduction progress.
Still, with all the tech tools available to help individuals manage their finances, as in many industries – including nursing – technology is not meant to replace the ever-important human connection.
“With everyone’s lives busier and busier nowadays, technology has made it more convenient for customers to do their banking and manage their accounts,” Kishner concluded. “But these technologies are not meant to replace bankers. In fact, we are growing the number of banks and we still want customers to come in and see us. But all the technology makes it more convenient for them to manage their funds, avoid fees and catch potential unauthorized banking.”
© 2010. AMN Healthcare, Inc. All Rights Reserved.