It is now a matter of public safety to stay at home, and many financial institutions are closing branches or restricting access to their physical locations to help limit the spread of COVID-19. Fortunately, the internet can open up new options to save money and manage your finances without leaving the house. The key is to find services that are reputable, safe and easy to use. That is why Senior Planet is partnering with Zelle [1945 a person-to-person (P2P) payment service, to help you learn safe ways to manage your money – and even save a little – online. Are you ready to dive in?
Internet and mobile banking
Most banks and credit unions have an easy-to-use online banking option. Even if you've been worried about testing an online banking platform before, there are many benefits to being able to manage your money online or your smartphone.
There are deep security measures on online banking platforms to help keep your information secure. When you visit an online banking site, check the URL in the URL field ̵1; you will see "https: //" at the beginning of the URL. These "s" are secure, which means that all information you enter on that site is encrypted so that only the sender and recipient can read it. Banks and credit unions can also use a security process called "multi-factor authentication," which requires users to provide multiple proofs that prove their identity. For example, you will be asked to enter your password, and then the financial institution can send a code to your mobile phone so that you can also enter. They can also detect transactions that are irregular and notify you quickly when something looks suspicious – for example, if there is unauthorized activity in your account.
An added benefit: every online banking site and mobile application is a little different, but many banks and credit unions allow you to set up payment payments through their platform, so you can have payments safely and automatically deducted until the due date. Hundreds of banks and credit unions in the United States also give you access to Zelle through their platform – more on that below.
Save Money Online
Online services are often cheaper than their traditional counterparts. Online shoppers are as popular and as affordable as they have ever been. From e-commerce giants like Amazon and eBay to specialized prescription drug sites like FamilyWize or GoodRx, online stores can offer low prices because they do not have the same general costs as brick-and-mortar stores. By shopping online you can easily compare prices between retailers so you can be sure that you are getting the best deal.
Make sure the retailers you buy from are well known and stick to the ones you might even have bought from physically, as they have online options now.
You can also save by switching to online versions of some of your daily services. To save on your phone plan, switch to WiFi call options. Google Hangouts, Skype and WhatsApp are free services that allow you to make voice or video calls to friends and family through an Internet connection.
Video streaming services such as Netflix, Prime Video, and Hulu can provide you with TV shows plus thousands of movies, music and original shows anywhere from $ 5.99 to $ 16.99 per month.
Shopping online is not the only reason you may need to transfer money electronically. If you want to send a cash gift to a friend or family member, there is no need to fit and go to the ATM or send a check.
P2P payments are an easy way to send and receive money digitally with people you know and trust. When you log into your mobile banking app or online banking site, you can send and receive money directly from one bank account in the United States to another using only the recipient's email address or U.S. mobile number. Currently, more than 800 financial institutions are contracted to participate in the Zelle Network ® with more than half online today and manage transactions. For consumers who do not already have access to Zelle in their mobile banking app, the Zelle app provides an alternative for consumers to send and receive money with people they trust.
Zelle is directly linked to your bank account and your data is encrypted to prevent theft and fraud. SSL security measures also protect your identity and activity. It's also quick: Zelle lets you send money from your bank account to the account of someone you usually trust within minutes when both parties have already signed up to Zelle . It saves time and paper, and you don't have to worry about ATM fees.
One thing worth noting – almost all P2P services require an email address and / or mobile number to register, verify your account and receive notifications.
Avoiding Fraud and Fraud
Scammers can use your email address or mobile number to trick you into sending them money. The best way to avoid fraud and fraud is to only engage with people and entities you know and trust, whose identity you can verify. If you believe you have been tricked into depositing your money, the following websites – in addition to your financial institution – may provide assistance:
Zelle & # 39; s Pay It Safe  https://www.zellepay.com/pay-it-safe
Tips and Resources for Secure P2P Payments
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)
www .consumerfinance. gov
Provides senior citizens and their families with information and tools to safely manage financial challenges.
National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA)
www.ncea.aoa.gov  Contains information on all types of elder abuse, including financial exploitation and elder abuse reporting resources .
National Consumers League & # 39; Fraud Information Center
People can register fraud complaints. It is also a resource for tips on preventing fraud targeting older people.