Banks' mobile apps and websites have afforded us a host of possibilities to manage our finances and look after our financial health quickly and easily, anytime and anywhere. Here are some examples. 

Digital banking is a virtual banking model customers can use as a main channel for managing financial products and accessing traditional services (e.g. customer support, certificates of ownership and simply checking the balance of their current account) and more innovative ones (e.g. getting a virtual card and giving consent with an electronic signature). Digital banking has become hugely popular in recent years.

According to a recent Statista study, the number of online banking users has continued to grow across the European Union. In Denmark and Finland, more than 90% of the population was already banking online in 2020 — well above the EU average of 58%. In Spain, penetration was already above 60%, with smartphones being the most popular device for banking online.

Some major reasons for this shift are simplicity, convenience and security. Banks go to great lengths to ensure that apps and websites are simple and intuitive to enhance browsing and user experience. Furthermore, digital banking allows users to carry out transactions on a smart device from the comfort of their own home; all they need is an Internet connection, and they don't have to to wait in line. Last, they use technologies such as artificial intelligence and blockchain for tight cybersecurity. But among those benefits of digital banking, the one that most consumers would likely highlight is utility. If you'd like to learn more about the benefits of digital banking, be sure to read this Openbank article. 

What features does my digital banking app/website offer?

Virtual banking spaces are constantly evolving to meet customers' needs. More and more of us are looking for tools to manage our personal finances in an easy and secure way.

Here are popular features that some banks offer: 

  • Creating budgets: a budget is the quintessential virtual app tool for learning how to manage our finances. It enables us to see what we earn and, most importantly, how we spend it. In particular, its graphs and other visual displays give us a better understanding of our financial health. 

  • Listing expenses by category:  knowing how much money we spend on things is important because it allows us to spot expenses that might actually be harming our financial health. Such expenses could be “ant expenses”, like eating out for breakfast (which we might include under the category of “eating out”). Other categories could be fashion, home, beauty and so on. 

  • Spending alerts: this is a very common feature in smart phones and watches, which send us an alert when we make a payment. However, this feature has changed, and many banks now also alert users before they're charged for something – often with recurring charges, such as electricity and internet bills, rent and mortgage instalments. We can also choose to receive deposit alerts when transfers or wages is paid into our account. It is a flexible tool that users can customize to suit their tastes and preferences.

  • Card limits: these cap the amount of transactions we make with card, such as cash withdrawals or card purchases. It is a useful feature for keeping our spending in check and avoiding overindebtedness. 

  • Savings rules: this feature lets us set up automatic saving rules, like rounding up purchases, making regular contributions to savings products and instructing our bank to automatically send a percentage of our wages to a savings account. 

  • Setting financial goals: people can save up to have a cushion against unforeseen events or to achieve a certain goal, such as a family holiday or a new car. Using these tools, we can set our target, enter the cost and say by when we want to have the money available. Following savings rules is also a great way to economize. 

  • Sales and discounts: some banks use their virtual platforms to offer customers a number of perks to save money, such as sales and discounts on purchases. However, we should only use them for purchases we had already planned to make. Buying products or services simply because of a discount is not a good idea.

  • Adding all bank accounts: this is a recent tool that allow you to access all your bank accounts on a single digital banking app in order to view balances and carry out transfers and other transactions.

These tools are constantly adapting to users' needs and preferences in order to be simpler and more intuitive. However, users may still have questions  about how they work. To help resolve them, banks offer online help, often with chatbots or virtual assistants such as Alexa.

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