Consumers are increasingly turning to mobile and online banking options for routine banking business. According to a recent Ipsos-Forbes Advisor U.S. Weekly Consumer Confidence Survey, more than three-quarters of Americans had used their bank’s mobile app. And while it’s certainly a convenient option to bank from your couch or the sideline of your child’s soccer practice, it also can help you manage your budget and become more financially aware.

Do you have access to the PNC Mobile app[1] and PNC Online Banking[2]? If so, consider these four important banking tasks today.

1. Monitoring your account activity and tracking your spending.

Financial peace of mind may be only a click away: One study found that customers who used mobile banking had a greater awareness of their financial situation and fewer concerns about managing their finances.

If your household hasn’t yet set a budget, now is the time to create one. (Check out this article for tips on creating one.) Some people assume that budgets are confining…but rather than look at it as something that tells you what not to spend, consider it a way to discover how much you can spend! Start by determining all your “needs,” such as housing, food, utilities, saving money and debt payments. Then you’ll know how much you have left over for your “wants,” whether it’s enjoying take-out on a busy night or indulging in new shoes you’ve had your eye on.

But if you don’t track your outgoing funds on a regular basis, you might not realize you’ve already used up your monthly bucket for dining out. Maybe you ordered delivery every night during an especially busy week, and you’ll need to rein it in. By regularly checking in on what you’ve spent in various categories, you’ll be able to see where you need to cut back without waiting for the whole month to go by when the damage is already done.

2. Confirming that deposits have cleared and funds are available.

It’s easy to assume funds are ready for you to use the minute you make a deposit. Yet sometimes there is a gap between when funds hit your account and when you can access them, depending on how the deposit was made, the dollar amount and other factors. It is smart to verify that deposited funds are available before paying your credit card bill, so you can rest assured that the payment will clear your account with no problem.

If you find that funds aren’t there when you think they should be, you can speak with a banker to see if there’s been an issue. Maybe you miscalculated when a paycheck was supposed to hit your account or didn’t accurately scan a deposit you were making from your phone. 

One helpful tool to consider if you need immediate access to a check deposit is PNC Express Funds.[3]  Deposit the check directly into your account via the PNC Mobile app[4], at a PNC DepositEasySM ATM or with a PNC teller and for a fee, you can have the full amount available right away. 

Keeping a watchful eye on your account will allow you to more strategically schedule payments for your rent or other automatic payments to coincide with deposits, say of a weekly paycheck, to manage the ebb and flow of the account.

3. Paying bills online may help to prevent late fees.

With our busy lives, it’s so easy to put a bill aside and then forget to pay it on time, despite your best intentions — or get it ready only to realize you don’t have a stamp. With online bill pay, you can schedule a regular payment in advance so you don’t ever forget or miss a due date. And if you’re doing a one-time payment, you can avoid potential mail delays by paying online.

Paying a bill late can hurt your finances down the road since even one delayed payment can ding your credit score. Keeping your credit strong ensures you’ll qualify for the best rates for mortgage or auto loans when the time is right to make a big purchase.

4. Setting up alerts to help prevent and detect fraudulent activity.

Sometimes a thief can get access to your bank account even if your card is still securely in your wallet — and you might be none the wiser until you realize bills are late or you’ve accrued unnecessary fees.

If you discover a fraudulent bank charge, you should immediately contact your bank or credit card provider. Financial institutions have processes and customer service representatives in place to address fraudulent activity and help you keep your accounts safe. The sooner you report an unauthorized transaction the better, as your liability may increase the more time transpires between when the theft occurred and when you report it. 

Keeping a sharp eye on that balance makes sure you never lose your hard-earned money to a thief. For added protection, you can set up fraud alerts on your PNC accounts.  

Wondering how to avoid being a victim of a bank scam?[5]  There are steps you can take to make it less likely.  

  • Never use mobile banking features when you’re on a public WiFi hotspot since a thief could steal important personal identifiers that would let them impersonate you.
  • Make sure you have set up a strong password, one that’s easy for you to remember but hard for a thief to guess. That means avoiding using your name or birthdate or obvious passwords like “password” or “123456.”
  • Create a different password for each account so that if one of your accounts is compromised, a thief won’t have access to anything else.
  • Always make sure your mobile device is locked so that someone can’t pick it up and access your financial information. Call the bank immediately if your device has been stolen. 
  • Only send money to recipients you know and trust by using verifiable payment tools such as Zelle.   

Mobile banking for the win

With all these benefits available from using mobile banking, why wait? Enjoy the convenience and financial peace of mind that comes from having a continual handle on what’s happening with your account. 

Have questions? Call 1-888-PNC-BANK (1-888-762-2265) to talk with a financial professional about your financial wellness.