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  • Writer's pictureBlack Married & Debt Free

3 Tips to Make the Most of Your Digital Banking Experience

According to the FDIC, 14% of African American households are unbanked.

We talked about this for weeks. The kids were excited, and now on a Saturday morning, it was finally time. My husband and I loaded the kids into the car, and we drove to our local bank to open their first bank account.

As we exited the car, we snapped a family photo and recorded a quick video for the gram. We sanitized hands, put on facemasks, and cheerfully walked into the bank. There was one teller and six people ahead of us, and on any other day, this would have caused us to head for the door, but this day was different.

Finally, the teller motioned us to the window. That’s when I said, “we’d like to open a banking account for our kids today.” The teller then regretfully informed us that we could only do this online or through their mobile app. I was puzzled. We were at a bank, with money, to open an account, and we could not.

We apologized to our kids; they were understandably disappointed. The weeks of parental hype up ultimately resulted in a mellow dramatic letdown.

At this moment, I came to terms with the fact that technology had changed banking considerably and digital banking was now the norm.

Digital banking is the use of apps and websites to accomplish your banking needs. A 2021 article in Forbes described it as, “Online Banking + Mobile Banking = Digital Banking”

The experience at the bank proved to be a setback, but as instructed, we went online and opened two youth accounts, and after, a UGMA/UTMA, a type of custodial account with investment options. If I wasn't a tech-savvy millennial, the situation might have ended differently. Having to open an account online is an example of an added barrier to banking that may leave some individuals behind.

According to the FDIC, 14% of African-American households do not have bank accounts and 20% percent of single female households are unbanked.

Here are three tips to make the most of your digital banking experience:

Understand the benefits. Digital banking is convenient, saves time, and eliminates the need to make a trip to a brick-and-mortar bank. Also, most digital banking platforms offer 24/7 customer support as a bonus.

Reverse mistrust. The lack of trust is a reason why many remain unbanked. To build confidence, check to see if your financial institution is FDIC-insured by searching the BankFind database at FDIC insurance protects money (up to $250,000) deposited into checking accounts, savings accounts, money markets, and certificates of deposits.

Explore digital options available through your current financial institution. Digital banking offers transaction and security alerts, transfer of funds capabilities, check deposits by phone, bill payment options, and more. These tools put you in control of your money.

The way we bank will continue to change, making it increasingly necessary to stay informed - not just for individual benefit but for the bright-eyed little ones who look up to us and others in our tribe.

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