Dollars and Sense

Using Banking Alerts To Your Advantage

I have learned the hard way that it is much, much easier to dispute a purchase right away before it posts to your account (which takes 24-48 hours), rather than after it shows up on your statement. Text and email alerts are the fastest way to know if someone else is buying e-cigarettes with your credit card while you’re enjoying a lazy Saturday afternoon (true story). And so having every single alert option turned “on” for my accounts helps with this. They take less than a minute to set up and are free, so definitely take advantage of them!

I wanted to be alerted every time my card was used, but I didn’t see an option for this online. The solution is to choose the option that says “Alert me when a transaction over ____ occurs,” and choose the minimum amount that it will accept (so $0.01, or $1). That should catch every transaction and alert you.

Having text/email alerts are also helpful when a cashier tells you your card “didn’t go through” when you swiped it. You can avoid being double charged by showing the text or email alert that shows up instantly on your phone. They are also a quick helpful reference for updating your budget when you can’t locate a receipt.

What not to do if alerts tell you of an issue: 

After having awful experiences with phone customer service when I had a card issue-  I realized that: 1. I needed a new bank (and I stopped using that particular card), and 2. That many things that can be done over the phone can be done in-person, without the hassle of automated phone systems. 

So if I have an issue with my card, I stop by the bank on my way to buy groceries or do other errands. Getting to know your local bank representatives is a plus; when I have an issue, I call them directly and avoid the automated phone system if I can.

 

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(Credit card image from pixabay.com)

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