Whether set up on your mobile app or your online account, banking alerts can be a simple and seamless way to keep on top of your accounts, dodge unnecessary fees, and protect yourself from instances of fraud.
Today, banking text and email alerts are usually highly customizable. They can let you know when cash is going in or coming out, as well as if anything unusual is happening with your accounts.
Just a few minutes of upfront legwork could end up saving you time, hassle, as well as money in fees and more, down the line.
Now: Which automated alerts should you enable — and which could you skip? Here are seven banking alerts to consider opting for. Depending on your situation, you may want to try them all or just a few.
1. Low Balance
Cars have gas lights to warn drivers when fuel is close to empty, so why shouldn’t bank accounts?
A low balance alert lets you know when funds have dipped below a predetermined amount—it could be $20, $1,000 or any amount you set.
This can help keep you from overspending and triggering expensive overdraft fees.
When you receive an overdraft alert, you can then decide if you want to transfer money into your account or hold off on making a purchase until your next paycheck clears.
A low-balance alert might be helpful for consumers who are nervous about racking up overdraft fees, or anyone who wants to keep close tabs on how much money is in their account without having to log in all the time.
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2. Direct Deposit
Constantly checking your account to see if your paycheck has been deposited can be a nuisance, particularly if you only recently set up direct deposit (which can take one or two pay cycles to get going).
If you sign up for a direct deposit account alert, however, you’ll know exactly when money sent electronically to your account has been deposited and is ready to use.
Being notified of direct deposits each paycycle can also help you make sure that your employer is paying on time, and that you have enough money in your account to cover bills and automatic expenses.
Plus, who doesn’t like getting good news? Cha-ching!
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Open a SoFi Checking and Savings Account with direct deposit and get up to a $250 cash bonus. Plus, get up to 4.60% APY on your cash!1
3. Unusual Activity
While you may not want to think about ever being the victim of a crime, millions of people report fraud and identity theft to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) each year.
Setting up an unusual activity mobile account alert can save account holders a lot of headaches, as well as time and money, should their accounts ever become compromised.
An unusual activity alert notifies consumers when there’s a change in their account status that’s outside the norm.
For example, if a large amount of money gets transferred out of the account all at once and this is something that rarely occurs, you would receive an unusual activity alert.
Or, an alert might let you if purchases are being made outside your typical travel area.
By alerting you the moment a potential fraud takes place, you can take action quickly, report the transaction, or even freeze your account.
Without this alert, a fraudster could rack up several charges on an account without the account holder even being the wiser.
That could result in having to report multiple false charges, instead of just one, as well as costly overdraft fees you would then have appeal.
4. New Log-In
Another helpful way to protect your accounts against bank fraud and theft is to set up a new log-in account alert.
This alert lets you know when someone has logged into your account from a computer or device that has never been used to access your account before.
If you weren’t the one logging in, you can then immediately change your password, and even freeze your account to prevent spending.
This can help prevent a fraudster who has managed to get access to your account information from doing too much damage.
Some financial institutions also allow customers to set up multi-factor authentication on their account (which requires users to provide multiple pieces of identifying information, not just a username and password to access an account), which can even further protect your money.
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5. Large Purchase
Some banks allow users to set up a customizable large purchase alert.
This alert will send you a message any time a purchase over a certain dollar amount (which typically you determine) is about to be charged to your account.
If you see the alert and don’t recognize the purchase, you may then be able to block the transaction.
Having a large purchase alert set up can help prevent fraud, but also human error.
If a restaurant server accidentally adds an extra zero to a dinner bill, a large purchase alert could go off. That could save you the hassle of reporting the purchase later and trying to have it reversed.
This mobile bank alert may be especially helpful if you are not in the habit of checking your bank account transactions on a regular basis.
6. Overdraft Alert
If you overdraw your account using a check or debit card, your bank might allow the transaction, letting you spend more money than you actually have in your account.
Typically, this allowance comes with a price—an overdraft or NSF fees (which can often exceed $35).
And, if you don’t realize you’re overdrafting your account, you might continue to make purchases, and incur a fee on each one.
Depending on the bank, if your account remains in a negative balance for an extended number of days, your account could even be closed.
If you get an overdraft alert, you may want to add money to your account as quickly as possible to prevent any more overdrafts.
If you move quickly, you might possibly be able to avoid the first overdraft fee. You may want to check if your bank has a deadline to deposit money that might help you avoid an overdraft fee.
7. Profile Changes
Profile change bank alerts notify you if someone has tried to change your password or username, or any personal information in your profile, such as contact information or opting out of bills through mail.
Turning on the profile change alert on your account can be a great way to keep tabs on any recent account activity.
If you see something was changed, and it wasn’t you who made the changes, you’ll likely want to change your password ASAP, and also alert the bank.
Setting an alert for withdrawals from an ATM or debit card lets a person know when cash has left their account.
This might be helpful in the event that there are multiple authorized users on the card (so you are aware of a change in the account balance), but also if the card has been stolen.
According to the FTC , the maximum loss for a person who reports their card as lost within two days of discovery is $50.
That means even if a thief steals a debit or ATM card and wipes out the account’s balance, the account holder would not be out more than $50.
If a person doesn’t notice their ATM or debit card has gone missing, or been stolen out of their wallet, a withdrawal notification could be the first thing to alert them.
Automatic bank alerts can provide you with important and timely account information, such as when your account falls below a certain amount, or when your paycheck has been electronically deposited.
This can help you keep track of your account and your spending, as well as avoid costly overdraft fees. They can also notify you right away if there’s unusual activity on your account, which can help you resolve any fraudulent activity on your account.
If you’re looking for an easy way to keep an eye on your money, consider signing up for a SoFi Checking and Savings. Open a checking and savings account today, and you’ll spend and save in one convenient place, track your finances, and more. Plus, you won’t pay account fees which can nibble away at your cash.
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SoFi members with direct deposit activity can earn 4.60% annual percentage yield (APY) on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Direct Deposit means a deposit to an account holder’s SoFi Checking or Savings account, including payroll, pension, or government payments (e.g., Social Security), made by the account holder’s employer, payroll or benefits provider or government agency (“Direct Deposit”) via the Automated Clearing House (“ACH”) Network during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Deposits that are not from an employer or government agency, including but not limited to check deposits, peer-to-peer transfers (e.g., transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc.), merchant transactions (e.g., transactions from PayPal, Stripe, Square, etc.), and bank ACH funds transfers and wire transfers from external accounts, do not constitute Direct Deposit activity. There is no minimum Direct Deposit amount required to qualify for the stated interest rate.
SoFi members with Qualifying Deposits can earn 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Qualifying Deposits means one or more deposits that, in the aggregate, are equal to or greater than $5,000 to an account holder’s SoFi Checking and Savings account (“Qualifying Deposits”) during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Qualifying Deposits only include those deposits from the following eligible sources: (i) ACH transfers, (ii) inbound wire transfers, (iii) peer-to-peer transfers (i.e., external transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc. and internal peer-to-peer transfers from a SoFi account belonging to another account holder), (iv) check deposits, (v) instant funding to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, (vi) push payments to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, and (vii) cash deposits. Qualifying Deposits do not include: (i) transfers between an account holder’s Checking account, Savings account, and/or Vaults; (ii) interest payments; (iii) bonuses issued by SoFi Bank or its affiliates; or (iv) credits, reversals, and refunds from SoFi Bank, N.A. (“SoFi Bank”) or from a merchant.
SoFi Bank shall, in its sole discretion, assess each account holder’s Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits throughout each 30-Day Evaluation Period to determine the applicability of rates and may request additional documentation for verification of eligibility. The 30-Day Evaluation Period refers to the “Start Date” and “End Date” set forth on the APY Details page of your account, which comprises a period of 30 calendar days (the “30-Day Evaluation Period”). You can access the APY Details page at any time by logging into your SoFi account on the SoFi mobile app or SoFi website and selecting either (i) Banking > Savings > Current APY or (ii) Banking > Checking > Current APY. Upon receiving a Direct Deposit or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits to your account, you will begin earning 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% on checking balances on or before the following calendar day. You will continue to earn these APYs for (i) the remainder of the current 30-Day Evaluation Period and through the end of the subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period and (ii) any following 30-day Evaluation Periods during which SoFi Bank determines you to have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits without interruption.
SoFi Bank reserves the right to grant a grace period to account holders following a change in Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits activity before adjusting rates. If SoFi Bank grants you a grace period, the dates for such grace period will be reflected on the APY Details page of your account. If SoFi Bank determines that you did not have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits during the current 30-day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, then you will begin earning the rates earned by account holders without either Direct Deposit or Qualifying Deposits until you have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits in a subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period. For the avoidance of doubt, an account holder with both Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits will earn the rates earned by account holders with Direct Deposit.
Members without either Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits, as determined by SoFi Bank, during a 30-Day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, will earn 1.20% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances.
Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. These rates are current as of 10/24/2023. There is no minimum balance requirement. Additional information can be found at http://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet..
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This article is not intended to be legal advice. Please consult an attorney for advice.