5 Times You Should Still Go Into the Bank, According to Experts
Your mobile app can't give you cash, now, can it?
When was the last time you actually went into the bank? These days, you can do most of what you need on the go. From the palm of your hand, you can settle bills, check your balances, move money between your accounts, put holds on your cards, request replacement cards, and even deposit paper checks (provided you can shoot a well-lit photo). But there are still a few reasons to head to a physical bank. Read on to hear from financial experts about the five times you should go the extra quarter mile to conduct your financial business at the bank.
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When you want financial advice.
When it comes to getting good financial advice, your phone might not cut it.
"You will usually be forwarded to a customer service or call center when using digital banking platforms," says Paw Vej, chief operating officer of the financial comparison platform Financer. Vej adds that such centers typically "do not have direct and full access to your account credentials and information."
And if you head into the bank, you may be surprised at the level of customer service you receive.
"The physical bank branch is in a state of transformation today with banks, large and small, evolving their branches from transactional to relational," explains, E.J. Kritz, EVP of training and customer experience at ath Power Consulting (APC). "In other words [there are] fewer 'tellers' and more 'bankers.' Customers want to receive sound financial advice from their banks, from a real person—ideally in-person."
When you need a notary (or other service).
"Let's not forget that some specialist services, like notary services, often demand an in-person visit," Branson Knowles, head of U.S. digital banking at Top Mobile Banks, notes.
Some banks, like Bank of America, offer notary services at no extra cost to existing account owners. And while you could technically find a notary at, say, your local UPS, banks also offer other services, including access to a safe deposit box.
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When you're dealing with large amounts of cash.
For access to regular amounts of spending cash, you can skip the bank and visit an ATM. But ATMs put a limit on how much cash you can withdraw at once. It varies from bank to bank but is generally between a couple hundred to, at most, a couple thousand dollars.
There are also limits at ATMs for cash deposits. "If you need to deposit a significant sum of cash, particularly if it exceeds your daily ATM deposit limit, you should go to a bank in person," Knowles said.
When you really want a secure transaction.
The proliferation of digital banking has gone hand-in-hand with the proliferation of digital scams, which target elderly people at a higher rate. Going into a bank is the most surefire way to guarantee your transaction isn't subject to a scam.
"Obviously, when transacting physically, you would not have to worry about cybersecurity and the risk of compromising your banking credentials," Vej says. "The advent of online banking has prompted criminals to employ more cunning and innovative ways to hack into online bank accounts. This can be mitigated with physical interactions in branches."
But security can also mean simply ensuring everything goes off without a hitch. "The human touch is advantageous for in-person transactions since it can help avoid errors or misunderstandings," Knowles said. "Physical banks also help to protect consumers by employing security guards and surveillance technology."
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When you need a cashier's check.
"You must visit a bank location if you require a certified or cashier's check," shares Knowles.
Cashier's checks are essentially bank-verified proof that your check won't bounce. You don't need them for everything, but cashier's checks are typically mandated for down payments on a new house or security deposits on a new apartment. You also might need them for other big-ticket items, like a new car.
Best Life offers the most up-to-date financial information from top experts and the latest news and research, but our content is not meant to be a substitute for professional guidance. When it comes to the money you're spending, saving, or investing, always consult your financial advisor directly.