There are situations when you have to stay at home: illness, quarantine, social isolation mode due to coronavirus or just bad weather. But life does not have to stop – it can go online, at least in part. Here are 9 tips on how to save time, energy, and health by getting financial and other services remotely. Created in collaboration with Myfin.us.
1. Set up auto-payments for yourself and your loved ones
People of the older generation are used to paying bills at bank offices. But in times of epidemics, there’s no need to take risks. Set up auto-payment for yourself, parents and grandparents for utilities, mobile communications and Internet, taxes and fines.
You can set up many auto-payments through the Public Services Portal, a personal account or your bank’s mobile application, and on the websites of service providers.
Even if there’s a glitch, read here how you can fix it.
2. Order everything at home
To avoid going to supermarkets and pet stores, order food and pet food at home. Many chain supermarkets, from economy to high-end, have established home delivery.
If you can’t go out, you can do something useful or enjoyable at home. For example, prepare a favorite meal from grandma’s recipe, which usually does not have time, take apart the mezzanine or update the interior. Building materials, furniture, and appliances are also brought in.
3. Observe cyber hygiene
Cybercriminals often create “duplicate” sites of famous online stores and services. Fake addresses may differ from the real one or two characters. These fake sites use phishing scams to get personal information and credit card details. Carefully check the addresses of stores and services where you are going to pay by card or enter your personal data. And if you always use them, save them in your bookmarks.
Get a separate debit card for online shopping. And put exactly the amount you want to spend on it. Some banks are willing to issue you a regular plastic card remotely and deliver it.
Many banks and electronic payment systems (electronic wallets) offer to issue a special virtual card for payments on the Internet. It has details, but no physical carrier.
Some virtual cards, also called digital cards, can be loaded into a smartphone with the function of NFC – contactless payment. In this case, the virtual card is also suitable for offline purchases, as well as transfers and cash withdrawals from ATMs.
Learn more about how to protect yourself from cybercriminals in the article “Safe online shopping”.
4. Transfer money by phone number
When you need to send money to a friend or family member as quickly as possible, you can do it using, for example, the Savings Based Payment (SBP) system. SBP allows you to make instant transfers by cell phone number even if the sender and the recipient have accounts in different banks.
From May 1, 2020, all transfers through SBP up to 100,000 dollars per month will be free. If the amount exceeds this limit, the banks will be entitled to take a commission of up to 0.5% of the transfer amount, but not more than 1,500 dollars. However, some of the banks have already established zero tariffs for all transfers without waiting for May 1.
Internet purchases can also be made through SBP, if the online store has connected the QR-code payment. It is safer than paying by card, because you do not need to enter any details on the website.
For more information about QR-code payments, click here.
5. Apply for loans and deposits remotely
Most major banks have long ago moved their services to a remote format. You can make a deposit or apply for a loan through a personal account or mobile application, and then receive money directly to your card.
Perhaps it makes sense to have a credit card with a long grace period. It allows you to use the bank’s money and not pay interest for a while. This type of card is good for when your income is temporarily low.
If you have data in the Unified Biometric System, you can become a client of other banks, without visiting their offices. Choosing the appropriate offers is most convenient via the website of the Unified Biometric System.
6. Check your credit history
If you urgently need money, and you are going to apply for a loan or credit, first of all check your credit history. You can use the State Services Portal to find out which credit bureaus (BCIs) your credit history is stored in. And then, just as remotely, request reports from the BCI.
Credit reports from the Bureau of Credit Histories are issued free of charge twice a year. It’s a good idea to order them periodically to make sure your credit history is okay.
7. Convert your money without exchangers
In times of financial instability, don’t rush to buy or sell currency just to benefit from exchange rate fluctuations. Even professionals are not always able to predict its movements. Inexperienced people have a much better chance of losing money than gaining.
But if a purchase cannot be postponed, you don’t have to go to an exchange office. Cash can also be a vector of infection. Banks usually allow you to open currency accounts and make conversions through your personal account or mobile app. Plus, exchange rates are usually better online than at bank offices.
8. Optimize your budget
Forced reticence can be used to get your finances in order. Analyze your expenses for two or three months: categorize them to see what you spend the most on. Evaluate which optional expenditures you can eliminate, temporarily or permanently.
Think about your long-term goals and make a financial plan. It may have to be postponed for a while. But having clear guidelines is always helpful.
9. Increase your financial literacy
Many educational portals, libraries, even video services offer free or low-cost access to their resources. Use this opportunity not only for fun, but also for learning. For example, to learn something new in the professional sphere and increase your value as a specialist.
And financial literacy skills will be useful to absolutely everyone. Read our articles on, say, financial planning and investing. Or participate in free webinars for private investors or entrepreneurs. Difficult times will pass, but the knowledge will stay with you.