It is now a matter of public security to stay at home, and many financial institutions are closing branches or restricting access to their physical locations to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Fortunately, the internet can open up new options for saving money and managing your finances without leaving the house. The key is to find services that are reliable, secure and easy to use. That's why Senior Planet has partnered with Zelle Ⓡ a person-to-person payment service (P2P) to help you learn safe ways to manage your money – and even a little bit – online. Ready to dive in?
Online and Mobile Banking
Most banks and credit unions have an easy to use option for online banking. Even if you were concerned about trying an online banking platform in the past, there are plenty of benefits to being able to manage your money online or your smartphone.
In-depth security measures exist on online banking platforms to help keep your information safe. When you visit an online banking website, check the URL in the web address bar: you will see & # 39; https: // & # 39; at the beginning of the address. That & # 39; s & # 39; stands for safe, and it means that all information you enter on that website is encrypted so that only the sender and recipient can read it. Banks and credit unions can also use a security process called & # 39; multi-factor authentication & # 39; requiring users to provide multiple pieces of evidence proving 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 that you can also enter. They can also detect transactions that are irregular and quickly notify you when something seems suspicious, such as if you have unauthorized activity in your account.
An added benefit: every online banking website and mobile application is a little different, but many banks and credit unions allow you to set up utilities through their platform, so you can have payments made securely and automatically on their due date subtract. Hundreds of banks and credit unions in the United States also provide access to Zelle through their platform ̵
Saving Money Online
Online services are often cheaper than their traditional counterparts. Online retailers are as popular and affordable as ever. From ecommerce giants like Amazon and eBay to specialty prescription drug sites like FamilyWize or GoodRx, online retailers can offer low prices because they don't carry the same overheads as brick and mortar stores. Shopping online also makes it easy to compare prices between retailers, so you can be sure you're getting the best deal.
Make sure that the retailers you buy from are known and that you stick to the ones you may have even bought from physically as they now have options online.
You can also save by switching to online versions of some of your daily services. To save on your phone plan, switch to Wi-Fi call options. Google Hangouts, Skype and WhatsApp are free services that allow you to call or video call friends and family via an internet connection.
Video streaming services such as Netflix, Prime Video, and Hulu can run your network TV shows and thousands of movies, music, and original shows for anywhere from $ 5.99 to $ 16.99 a month.
Online shopping is not the only reason you may need to send electronic money. If you want to send a cash gift to a friend or family member, you don't have to adjust and go to the ATM or send a check.
P2P payments are an easy way to send and receive digital money with people you know and trust. When you sign in to your mobile banking app or the online banking website, 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 mobile phone number. Currently, more than 800 financial institutions are contracted to participate in the Zelle Network ® with more than half online today and transaction processing. For consumers who do not yet have access to Zelle in their mobile banking app, the Zelle app offers an option 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 is also fast: with Zelle you can transfer money from your bank account to the account of someone you trust within minutes, if both parties are already registered with Zelle . It saves time and paper and you don't have to worry about ATM costs.
One thing worth noting: almost all P2P services require an email address and / or mobile number to sign up, verify and receive your account
Avoid fraud and scams
Scammers can use your email address or mobile phone number to trick you into sending them money. The best way to prevent fraud and scams is to only interact with people and entities that you know and trust and whose identity you can verify. If you think you've been tricked into donating your money, the following websites – in addition to your financial institution – may offer help:
Zelle Pay It Safe
https : //www.zellepay.com/pay-it-safe
Tips and Resources for Secure P2P Payments
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)
Provides seniors and their families with information and tools to safely tackle financial problems.
The National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA)
www.ncea.aoa.gov  Contains information on all types of elder abuse, including financial exploitation, and means of reporting elder abuse.
Fraud Information Center of the National Consumers League
Individuals can register fraud complaints. It is also a source of tips for preventing fraud against seniors.