Putting Technology to Work to Manage Family Finances

Friday, May 18 at 07:00 AM
Category: Arvest News

Every parent knows, regardless of how many bells and whistles you employ to make managing family life easier, there is always room for one more tool - if it simplifies the juggling act!

Most parents are pros at maximizing smartphones, tablets and laptops. Technology assists us with everything from online grocery orders and pick-up to dinner delivery to managing homework and sports schedules, and so much more. But what about managing your family finances? How can technology help? 

Mobile banking, the use of a smartphone or tablet to manage a bank account or conduct financial transactions, is a leading preference among consumers when it comes to managing their money. A national survey by the American Bankers Association in August 2017 revealed that 70 percent of Americans surveyed had managed their bank account using a mobile device at least once during the previous month. Among the most popular features of mobile banking options is fingerprint identification for security. Touch ID, consistent updates within banking apps, and the ability to send secure messages or questions to your bank’s representatives, are all features in the latest generation of mobile banking apps. 

In 2017, more than 63 million U.S. adults used a person-to-person payment app on their mobile device. That’s roughly one-third of all smartphone users. This represented a 50-percent increase from 2016. Phone apps such as Venmo, Square Cash, Google Wallet, Zelle and others allow consumers to immediately transfer money from their personal account to a friend. That’s convenient for the non-cash-carrying parent who owes the room mom for a teacher’s gift, or for the parent of a college student who just realized they have 32 cents in their account and they need money – now! No check writing, no wait for funds to transfer – payment complete!

On a broader scale, technology hands the control of personal banking, budgeting and even applying for a mortgage loan to the hands of the customer.

By simply taking a photo of a check you need to deposit with your smartphone and submitting that photo through the bank’s mobile app, the deposit is complete. Consumers who take advantage of the ease, convenience and security of online or mobile banking can also enjoy the options of automatic bill payments, transaction monitoring, the ability to temporarily suspend the use of ATM cards and 24/7 account access - all at no cost.

Technology can help families put the numbers into perspective in terms of what is being spent where, areas of excessive spending, recommendations for adjustments and even options for saving. A few money management mobile apps worth exploring include:

Mint – For use in mobile or online budgeting. Mint tracks spending habits, sets bill reminders, is customizable, offers recommendations on budget adjustments and provides a free credit score, in addition to other features.

You Need a Budget (YNAB) - YNAB is geared toward those who are new to budgeting. It recommends budgeting practices and offers suggestions for adjustments when unexpected expenses arise. YNAB offers online classes and access to an advisor, if interested.

Mvelopes – An app based on the concept of budgeting via envelopes for different expenses. When the virtual envelope is empty, it’s empty. No borrowing from other areas.

Acorns – For those in favor of some savings on the side. Acorns rounds credit and debit purchases up to the nearest dollar and invests the cash difference into exchange-traded funds that you’ve pre-selected. 

For budget-savvy, or budget-desperate, parents – there are resources literally at your fingertips. Some are free; others charge a fee.

Making a concerted effort to find and utilize mobile and online money management tools can help make the family to-do list more manageable, freeing up time for activities you enjoy. When managed well, you could end up with a little extra savings at the end of the year.

Ashley Landon is a branch sales manager for Arvest Bank in Miami. She can be contacted at alandon@arvest.com.

Tags: Technology
 

Arvest Adds More Features to Arvest Go

Thursday, March 29 at 02:00 PM
Category: Arvest News

We’ve got some good news—we’re releasing the first update to Arvest Go to make it even better. The app update includes several new features to make banking on your phone even easier and more convenient.

Beginning March 13, 2018, users can visit their mobile app store to get the most up-to-date version of Arvest Go. Also at that time, new users will be able to download the latest version via the App Store®* or Google Play*.

This update comes just four months after the successful launch of Arvest Go and is driven by actual customer feedback and our technology roadmap.

Arvest will continue to listen to our customers in determining future updates and added features. We are also keeping our eye on trends in mobile banking in order to continually offer the best we can for our customers. As always, providing exceptional customer service—whether in branch, on the phone or through our mobile and online products—is our top priority.

New Features

The update to our Arvest Go mobile app will allow you to

  • Enjoy iPhone X user enhancements, like Face ID® log in;
  • Search through your account transactions with ease;
  • Schedule and edit recurring payments and transfers;
  • Initiate common banking functions quickly from your home screen or widget;
  • Enroll in e.statements; and
  • View your account information more easily on larger screens.

The update also includes minor bug fixes and other improvements.

What’s Arvest Go?

First launched in November 2017, the Arvest Go mobile banking app makes managing your personal accounts convenient, while providing a modern and individualized user experience. Arvest Go provides fast and easy control over your finances in a few quick taps.

With Arvest Go, users can log in using their fingerprint or passcode, enable Quick View to see account information at a glance, as well as customize their app by adding a profile photo and account nicknames.

If you are new to mobile and online banking with Arvest, simply visit with an associate at your local branch or call us at (866) 952-9523 to get a login ID and temporary password. Once you’ve installed Arvest Go on your phone, enter your credentials and follow the prompts to create a new password and set up your challenge questions and answers.

Links marked with * go to a third-party site not operated or endorsed by Arvest Bank, an FDIC-insured institution.

Tags: Arvest Go, Technology
 

Don’t Let Scammers Scrooge Your Holiday

Tuesday, October 10 at 01:00 PM
Category: Personal Finance
Shoppers looking for a good deal this holiday season should also be aware of increasingly aggressive and creative scams designed by criminals to steal money and personal information. According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) 2016 Internet Crime Report, the IC3 received a total of 298,728 complaints with reported losses in excess of $1.3 billion in 2016.  This past year, the top three crime types reported by victims were non-payment and non-delivery, personal data breaches, and payment scams. The FBI wants shoppers to be extra vigilant of the following schemes and red flags.
 
Online Shopping Scams: If a deal looks too good to be true, it probably is. Steer clear of unfamiliar sites offering unrealistic discounts on brand name merchandise or gift cards as an incentive to purchase a product, as you may end up paying for an item, giving away personal information, and receive nothing in return except a compromised identity. In addition, do not open any unsolicited e-mails or click on the links provided. Before shopping online, secure all bank and credit accounts with strong and different passwords. The same should be done for airline and rewards accounts, because the emergence of these offerings has led to an increase in the demand for and resale value of stolen information.
 
Social Media Scams: Beware of posts on social media sites that appear to offer vouchers or gift cards, even if it appears the offer was shared by an online friend. Some may pose as holiday promotions or contests that lead to participation in an online survey designed to steal personal information. In addition, do not post photos of event tickets on social media sites as fraudsters can use the barcode to recreate tickets for resale.
 
Craigslist Scams: Websites like Craigslist or eBay are especially popular during the holiday season, as people look for bargains or sell unneeded items for cash. Take steps to protect yourself by recognizing scams. Most scams attempts involve one or more of the following (source: https://www.craigslist.org/about/scams*):
  • Email or text from someone that is not local to your area.
  • Vague initial inquiry, e.g. asking about "the item." Poor grammar/spelling.
  • Western Union, Money Gram, cashier check, money order, Paypal, shipping, escrow service, or a "guarantee."
  • Inability or refusal to meet face-to-face to complete the transaction.
  • Requests for personal financial info (bank account, social security, Paypal account, etc.).
Smartphone App Scams: Some apps, often disguised as games and offered for free, may be designed to steal personal information from your device. Before downloading an app from an unknown source, look for third-party reviews and be mindful that alternative app marketplaces can potentially include stolen content and compromised versions of otherwise trustworthy applications.

Work-From-Home Scams: Beware of postings offering work that can be done from the comfort of home, as these opportunities may have unscrupulous motivations behind them. Take caution when money is required up front for instructions or products, or when a job post claims “no experience necessary.” Carefully research individuals or companies before providing them with personal information and never provide personal information when first interacting with a potential employer.
 
Additional steps to avoid becoming a victim of fraud:
  • Check bank and credit card statements routinely, including immediately after making an online purchase and weeks following the holiday season.
  • Only purchase merchandise from a reputable source.
  • Don’t trust a website to be secure just because it claims to be.
  • Do not respond to spam e-mails or click on links contained within them.
  • Avoid filling out forms contained in e-mails that ask for personal information.
  • Be cautious of all e-mail attachments and scan them for viruses before opening.
  • Verify requests for personal information from businesses or financial institutions by contacting them using the main contact information on their official website.
  • Be cautious when dealing with individuals outside of your own country.
How to report fraud: Consumers who suspect they’ve been victimized should immediately contact their financial institution and then law enforcement. Arvest customers with concerns about their accounts can report fraud by emailing reportfraud@arvest.com.
 
They are also encouraged to file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (www.ic3.gov*) regardless of dollar amount lost, and provide all relevant information regarding the complaint.
 
Links marked with * go to a third-party site not operated or endorsed by Arvest Bank, an FDIC-insured institution.
 
 

 

Tags: Consumer Protection, Financial Education, Privacy and Security, Technology
 

Track Your Teams with Gameday Experience Apps

Thursday, August 17 at 02:00 PM
Category: Arvest News

Arvest is excited to be the presenting sponsor of a collection of mobile apps that let you keep track of your favorite sports teams, no matter where you are!Football Fan
 
Developed by From Now On, an Omaha, Neb.-based emerging player in mobile app technology, the apps are branded for many of the universities, colleges and high schools within our footprint and are provided at no cost to the fans! The gameday experience apps are designed to enhance your fan experience and promote engagement.

Each school’s app—based off the FanX platform—features team info, event schedules, live stats, scores, stadium maps, personalized notifications and much more.

“Providing the FanX app to these institutions is an innovative way to elevate fan engagement while also fulfilling our mission of giving back to our communities,” said Jason Kincy, SVP and director of marketing for Arvest Bank.

You can download the apps via the App Store* and Google Play* or you can search for your school’s name in the search bar.

Go teams!

Here is a list of the gameday experience apps within our footprint. This list is current as of Aug. 10, 2017.

  • MSSU Lions GO (Missouri Southern Athletics)
  • Gorilla Experience (Pittsburg State Athletics)
  • UMKC Roos Athletics (University of Missouri-Kansas City Athletics)
  • Arkansas Tech Experience (Arkansas Tech University Athletics)
  • UAFS Lions Gameday (University of Arkansas-Fort Smith Athletics)
  • University of Ozarks Athletics
  • ORU Golden Eagles Live (Oral Roberts University Athletics)
  • NSU Live (Northeastern State University Athletics)
  • Oklahoma Christian Athletics
  • Cameron Aggies Gameday (Cameron University Athletics)
  • Little Rock Gameday Experience (University of Arkansas-Little Rock)


Coming soon! This list is current as of Aug. 10, 2017:

  • Drury University
  • Bartlesville High School
  • West Plains High School
  • Mountain Home High School
  • Yellville Summit High School


Links marked with * go to a third-party site not operated or endorsed by Arvest Bank, an FDIC-insured institution.

Tags: College, Online Services, Technology
 

What is Financial Malware and How to Protect Yourself

Tuesday, July 18 at 11:00 AM
Category: Personal Finance

What is Financial Malware?

Everywhere you turn today you seem to be bombarded with news coverage concerning the urgency of combating cybercrime, bad actors and hackers. There are many variations of malicious software, or “malware,” but financial malware, as its name implies is written specifically to commit financial fraud.

Cybercriminals use a variety of methods to infect their victims with malware including sending them email messages containing infected attachments or links to infected websites.

Once the victim is infected, the malware monitors the victim’s activity and may steal online banking credentials and other personal information using keystroke logging or screen shots images. 

In some cases, hackers may use the victim’s own web browser to collect sensitive information (e.g., the victim's PIN) by adding extra fields to legitimate online forms or by changing website wording and messaging, or by triggering legitimate-looking pop-up forms in real-time.

Financial malware may redirect the victim to a fake website designed to mimic a legitimate bank website. As the victim enters their credentials, the malware then redirects them into the legitimate site, potentially triggering a SMS or other second-factor authentication code that the Trojan can then capture via the fake website.

How to Protect Yourself
 
Most threats still need user interaction to infect a potential victim’s system. For this reason, becoming aware of these threats and diligently taking extra precautions can significantly reduce the risk of becoming a victim of cybercrime.  
 
  • Keep your operating system, web browser and other software up to date.
     
  • Make sure your computer has both an anti-spyware protection program that detects and removes spyware and an anti-virus program. Keep both programs updated. Scan your computer for viruses and spyware on a regular basis.
     
  • Be very protective of your personal account information. There are criminals who try to trick you by creating sites that look similar to real sites. The best way to know who you are dealing with is to type the address in your browser address bar; don’t click on a link that’s provided to you via email.
     
  • Do not open attachments in email messages if you do not know the sender or weren’t expecting the message. Attachments can contain viruses and spyware.
     
  • Avoid logging into password protected websites, such as online banking or email services from public computers. Instead, use trusted or secured networks.
     
  • Avoid downloading apps to your mobile phone from unofficial stores and pay attention to the permissions requested by apps before their installation.
     
  • Always sign off from sessions and close your browser after using password protected websites. 
     
  • Avoid using unencrypted email to conduct financial transactions or send sensitive information.
     
  • If you suspect your computer may be infected or that your online banking credentials may have been compromised, contact your bank and change your password from a different trusted computer. Contact a computer security professional for assistance in removing malicious software.
     
  • Regularly review your bank account activity and immediately notify your bank if you notice suspicious transactions in your account.
Tags: Consumer Protection, Financial Education, Privacy and Security, Technology

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