Is Cash Still King? Digital Payment Services Are Increasing in Popularity

Is cash still king? If you’re like many Americans, the answer to that question is probably no.

According to a study conducted by the Pew Research Center, roughly 3 in 10 Americans say they make no purchases using cash during a typical week. For Americans who report that all, or almost all purchases are made using cash, the numbers are declining – from 24% in 2015 to 18% in 2019.

Debit, credit, and digital payment options have created a level of consumer comfort that has completely transformed the way transactions are conducted. Instead of relying on cash or checks, many consumers are turning to various forms of digital payment services.

At F&M Bank, we recommend customers take advantage of our Person-to-Person Payment money transfer app, or as we call it, P2P.

What is P2P?  

P2P is a mobile banking funds transfer app that lets you send money securely through your personal computer or phone. Simply type in the email address or phone number of the person you need to pay and send up to $500.00, for free! For the utmost in convenience, the recipient can bank with any financial institution. Here’s an example of how it works:

Your coworker is selling Girl Scout cookies for her daughter, and today is the deadline to order. You’ve resisted ordering for two weeks, but it’s been a stressful day and your salad from lunch didn’t do the trick. You reach into your wallet only to realize you have no cash, you never carry your checkbook, and the nearest ATM is a 15-minute drive from the office.

Luckily, you remember F&M Bank offers the P2P service. Instead of spending the afternoon sad and hungry, you visit the P2P website (or, mobile banking customers may visit the F&M Bank app), send payment and you’re now in Thin Mint heaven.

This scenario might be a little dramatized, but it truly is a real-life example of how one customer chose to use the app. P2P offers a convenient, alternative method for sending cash digitally in a variety of different situations. The service offers a timely, simple and secure way to pay.

It’s Timely

Mailing a check or cash can take days to reach your payee. Why wait that long? P2P payments are sent immediately, and if the payee selects to accept payment using their debit card number, payment is instantaneous! A payee may also choose to accept a payment using their deposit account number, but the transfer could take up to three days to process using ACH. The debit card method is preferred if you’re looking for a quick transfer!

One customer says, “I send my daughter and grandchildren money from time to time and use P2P. The money gets there much faster than sending a check! I love it and use it quite often.”

It’s Simple

P2P makes life easy. To send a payment, you only need to enter:

  • Your Name
  • Your Email Address
  • Your Recipient’s Email Address or Phone Number
  • Your F&M Bank Debit Card Number

F&M Bank wanted to make sending cash easy as easy as possible. We know geographical barriers can make a cash transfer difficult. Whether your family or friends live in a different town, or state, P2P offers a convenient solution.

A P2P user says, “My college friends and I get together each year for a reunion. We rent an Airbnb for a weekend and all split the rental fee. Since we’re all spread out across the state of Virginia and bank with different institutions, P2P is an easy and secure way for me to pay back a friend who banks somewhere else.”

Another user states, “I’ve used P2P to pay back my siblings who live out of state for our shared Netflix and Amazon Prime accounts!”

It’s Secure

The greatest benefit of P2P is the peace of mind it can provide users. Sending a check or cash through the mail can be risky as mail fraud is a real concern. Also, while there are many digital transfer options available for download on your app store, your local bank can provide a higher level of security.

We ensure all our web-based banking services meet or exceed industry security guidelines. Our mobile PIN pad is encrypted so it never travels across payment channels. Entering your PIN with your mouse or by touch ensures your account is protected even if your computer is infected with viruses or malware.

Customers should still be very vigilant when initiating a P2P transfer. Although security measures are in place, you should always double check to ensure the recipient’s information you are entering is correct.

Kelsey Dean, Marketing Specialist at F&M Bank, states, “Treat P2P just like a cash transfer. Would you give $50 to someone you really didn’t know on a personal level? It’s important to only send P2P payments to family or friends that you trust. Also, double check the amount you are sending. It’s easy to mistype or accidentally add an extra number on a phone screen.”

Ready to Get Started?

If you’re interested in using our P2P platform, visit our website or login to your F&M Bank Mobile Banking account. If you have any questions at all regarding P2P or our digital banking suite of products, please don’t hesitate to contact us!

Did you know you can also send payments or pay bills with iPay in online banking? To use iPay you just need an F&M bank user ID and password but anyone can send funds using P2P!

Best Apps for Money Management

With the proper tools, it’s never been easier to build your financial literacy, monitor daily transactions, and grow your accounts to meet short and long-term savings goals.

Do you like to use technology to problem solve and create more efficiency in your life? If you said yes, then “fintech,” a term that describes the merging of tech and finance, is a good match for you. With an ever-growing number of money management apps, access to everything from personal accounts to global markets is at our fingertips. People of all ages from kids to retirees, as well as business owners, can not only get a detailed overview of their financial situation but have fun tracking every dollar and cent. With the proper tools, it’s never been easier to build your financial literacy, monitor daily transactions, and grow your accounts to meet short and long-term savings goals.

Whether it’s creating a budget, organizing your personal finances, saving for vacations and retirement, or managing your small business’ spending, all aspects of your money can be managed directly from your smartphone. We’ve identified some of the best personal finance, investment, business, and kids’ apps to streamline your time and resources. All are free to download and use unless otherwise noted.

Best Personal Finance Apps

From credit cards to bank and retirement accounts, our financial lives are complicated. Understanding what you have and how to make it work for you is critical. Whether you’re trying to improve your credit score before making your first home purchase, or you want to save for a vacation or big purchase, these apps can help you take those specific steps as well as basic ones like creating a budget.

Know Your Credit Score

As your credit score is the backbone of your financial life, consider downloading Credit Karma. It gives you a free copy of your credit report as well as advice on steps you can take to get your score where you want it to be. In this age of online security threats, Credit Karma also provides you with notifications to alert you to new activity reflected on your report.

Banking Apps

Your bank account is at the heart of all you do, from paying bills to buying lunch on the go. A sound banking app, such as F&M Bank’s Mobile Banking app will make you the master of your domain from the convenience of your phone or tablet.  Your account is kept safe via passcode or touch ID entry to the app, where you can view transactions, pay bills, deposit checks through mobile deposit, and transfer funds between F&M bank accounts. Using the F&M mobile app will not save any sensitive information to your phone.

Budgeting Apps

While on-the-go access to your accounts is essential, creating objectives for your money is just as critical. Squirrel is F&M Bank’s no-cost Personal Financial Management Tool and it enables you to track your spending, create budgets, and set goals. While you’ll need an F&M Bank online account login to use Squirrel, you can link your Squirrel account to other accounts you have such as a 401(k) or other retirement account. With access to 15,000 financial institutions, Squirrel provides you with a full financial picture, including a cash flow calendar and visual tracking of progress to your goals.

With a complete financial picture, including your total net worth after debts and assets are combined, Squirrel offers the same information as the mobile banking app as well as so much more. Don’t just watch your money go in and out on your account ledger. Take control and set goals for saving and debt repayment, check cash flow before making discretionary purchases, and feel empowered to take the steering wheel of your financial life

F&M Bank Squirrel App

Best Apps for Business Owners

Companies with a business checking account can also use their bank’s mobile app to keep track of daily transactions and cash flow.

Beyond you’re a business banking app, inDinero is a tax compliance and accounting app that compiles information from all of your business bank accounts and credit cards to present a clear, comprehensive view of your company’s spending. Discover where your money goes and when, and obtain forecasts of future spending based on current trends. inDinero allows you to gain insight into the total picture of your business’ finances. Plans start at $295/month.

To take the pain out of small business accounting, consider adding Freshbooks to your life. This software makes your billing process seamless and straightforward, creating attractive, professional invoices in seconds. You can track your time on projects and follow-up with clients directly from Freshbooks, freeing you from cumbersome paperwork and administrative tasks. Freshbooks allows you to track your expenses and, because it’s cloud-based, you can have a snapshot of all of your business expenses anytime, anywhere. After a 30 day free trial, Freshbooks offers monthly plans starting at $10.

F&M Bank Treehouse Club ScreenshotBest Money Apps for Kids

F&M Bank Treehouse Club makes saving fun.  Kids can access their savings account as well as play games designed to increase their financial literacy. The app makes earning and learning can be exciting for little ones.

PiggyBot is a virtual piggy bank to make savings a more hands-on experience for kids. They can feature photos of the items they are saving for in PiggyBot for additional incentive to keep adding to their bank, combining the popularity of picture-based platforms into the app.

How will you use “Fintech” to manage your money?

Whatever your current financial situation and future goals, the range of quality personal finance and business apps can make the path to a sound financial future easier and more manageable than ever. With just a few apps added to your tablet or mobile device, you can understand your money in new ways and, more importantly, make it work for you. F&M Bank customers, and those who would like to open an F&M Bank account, can take advantage of our free Personal Financial Management Tool, Squirrel. It’s just another way we fulfill our mission as a community bank to meet the needs of our customers and community by offering the best financial products.

Join the Treehouse Savings Club!

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Maximize Your Mobile Banking Experience

Mobile banking is more than just a convenient way to check your accounts on the go – it’s a toolbox.

In fact, when you log-in to your account, you have dozens of tools at your disposal, and the best part, they’re free! If you’re enrolled in mobile banking, but not taking advantage of various alerts and account preferences, use the below tips to turn your digital banking into an aid for managing your money and monitoring your account activity.

Mobile banking is more than just a convenient way to check your accounts on the go – it’s a toolbox.

In fact, when you log-in to your account, you have dozens of tools at your disposal, and the best part, they’re free! If you’re enrolled in mobile banking, but not taking advantage of various alerts and account preferences, use the below tips to turn your digital banking into an aid for managing your money and monitoring your account activity.

1) Set Up Alerts

In the F&M Bank mobile app, customers can set up various text alerts based on account activity. Here are a few alert options you can access in minutes.

Balance

If you are not proactive at checking your account balance on a regular basis, you can receive a text either daily, or monthly, depending on your preference. This is a great way to ensure your checkbook and online account balances match!

  • Daily balance – This will send an alert of your daily balance for a particular account.
  • Monthly balance – This will send an alert once a month of your current balance on a particular day.

Balances Above/Below

You also can set up alerts that notify you when your account balance falls below or goes above and indicated amount. For example, if you establish an alert and indicate $1,000 as your preferred checking account balance, you will be alerted via text if an expenditure drops your balance to $950. This tool can serve as a wake-up call for overspending, or a pleasant surprise for those trying to achieve a savings goal.

  • Balances above/below – This will send an alert when your balance falls below or goes above the amount you define.

Transaction

This tool alerts you when certain transactions are made. You can select which transactions interest you (ACH, Debit Card, Wires, etc.), or, you can select all. A dollar amount must be established. For example, if you want to receive a text every time a debit card transaction is made greater than $50, you can set up that alert in minutes. This is a great way to monitor fraud, and ensure you are aware of the purchases being made on your account.

  • Transaction – this will send alerts when particular transactions are applied to your account.

To begin setting up alerts, visit the “Text Banking” tab in the mobile app.

2) Make Savings Automatic

Take advantage of the automatic transfer tool in online banking to build your savings. If you know your paycheck posts to your account every Friday, schedule a weekly transfer from your checking account to savings. If you don’t think you can afford to save a large amount each week, start small. By setting up an auto-transfer, you’re consistently saving, and that is what is important. Just click, the “Transfers” tab in the mobile app to get started.

3) Protect Your Accounts with Touch ID

F&M Bank’s mobile app is extremely secure – it uses 128-bit SSL (Secure Socket Layer) encryption to protect your information and we don’t store any information on your phone. You are required to log in each time you access your account information or bill pay services through Mobile Banking. Instead of entering your username and password every time, use your thumb print instead! Just visit the “User Options” tab to set up this feature.

4) Deposit Checks on the Go

Deposit checks quickly and safely with the F&M Bank mobile app!

  • Sign in to the app.
  • Click on “Mobile Deposit Capture”.
  • Choose deposit checks. Or, click transactions to view recent deposits.
  • Follow the prompts on your mobile screen.
  • Confirm the details are correct and press “submit”.
  • You will come to the final screen – press “I agree”, and you are finished.

 

Equifax Data Breach – FAQs

Concerned about the Equifax breach? See our FAQs to learn more about the breach and how to protect yourself.

Frequently Asked Questions

I’ve been hearing about the Equifax breach in the news. What happened?

Equifax, one of the three major credit bureaus, experienced a massive data breach. The hackers accessed people’s names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver’s license numbers. They also stole credit card numbers for about 209,000 people and dispute documents with personal identifying information for about 182,000 people.

Was my information stolen?

If you have a credit report, there’s a good chance it was. Go to a special website set up by Equifax to find out: https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on “Potential Impact,” enter some personal information and the site will tell you if you’ve been affected. Be sure you’re on a secure network (not public wi-fi) when you submit sensitive data over the internet.

How can I protect myself?

  • Enroll in Equifax’s services.

Equifax is offering one year of free credit monitoring and other services, whether or not your information was exposed. You can sign up at https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/.

  • Monitor your credit reports.

In addition, you can order a free copy of your credit report from all three of the credit reporting agencies at annualcreditreport.com. You are entitled to one free report from each of the credit bureaus once per year.

  • Monitor your bank accounts.

We also encourage you to monitor your financial accounts regularly for fraudulent transactions. Use online and mobile banking to keep a close eye on your accounts.

  • Watch out for scams related to the breach.

Do not trust e-mails that appear to come from Equifax regarding the breach. Attackers are likely to take advantage of the situation and craft sophisticated phishing e-mails.

Should I place a credit freeze on my files?

Before deciding to place a credit freeze on your accounts, consider your personal situation. If you might be applying for credit soon or think you might need quick credit in an emergency, it might be better to simply place a fraud alert on your files with the three major credit bureaus.  A fraud alert puts a red flag on your credit report which requires businesses to take additional steps, such as contacting you by phone before opening a new account.

How do I contact the three major credit bureaus to place a freeze on my files?

Equifax: Call 800-349-9960 or visit its website.

Experian: Call 888-397-3742 or visit its website.

TransUnion: Call 888-909-8872 or visit its website.

Where can I get more information about the Equifax breach?

You can learn more directly from Equifax at https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/. You can also learn more by visiting the Federal Trade Commission’s web page on the breach at https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2017/09/equifax-data-breach-what-do. To learn more about how to protect yourself after a breach, visit https://www.identitytheft.gov/Info-Lost-or-Stolen.

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Ransomware

How We Protect Your Data from Ransomware
It is important to us to provide you timely information regarding the steps we take to protect our customers’ data in the event of a Ransomware attack.

It is important to us to provide you timely information regarding the steps we take to protect our customers’ data in the event of a Ransomware attack.

Criminals use Ransomware to hold your data hostage. They will typically include malware as an attachment in an email or as an embedded link in the email. The recipient opens the attachment or clicks on the link and the ransomware installs to their PC or laptop. The malware will quickly encrypt the data stored on the workstation and other network resources and, when the encryption is complete, demand a ransom from the victim, typically payable in bitcoin. The criminals will promise to provide the victim with the key to decrypt the data, but there are no guarantees. 

F&M Bank takes the following steps to protect our customers’ data from malware, especially Ransomware:

• The Bank trains its employees to recognize phishing email attempts and the Bank tests compliance with our polices on a quarterly basis.

• The Bank continuously patches and updates the operating systems of our workstations and servers.

• Software applications are patched to the latest versions and configured to reduce the risk of malware infection.

• Anti-virus software is installed to all workstations and servers and the virus signature files are continuously updated.

• We employ spam filters and secure email protocols to help prevent malware laden email from reaching our employees.

• An Intrusion Detection/Intrusion Prevention system also monitors traffic to alert the Bank and block malware infections.

• Web filters prevent employee access to sites known to host malware or other malicious material.

• The Bank performs daily backups of all customer data and the backups are segregated from the network to prevent a malicious encryption of the data.

We appreciate your trust in our financial institution. Please contact us online or at your nearby branch for any account-related questions you may have.

Protecting Your Mobile Device

Your mobile device provides convenient access to your email, bank and social media accounts. Unfortunately, it can potentially provide the same convenient access for criminals. The American Bankers Association recommends following these tips to keep your information – and your money – safe.

Use the passcode lock on your smartphone and other devices. This will make it more difficult for thieves to access your information if your device is lost or stolen.

• Log out completely when you finish a mobile banking session.

• Protect your phone from viruses and malicious software, or malware, just like you do for your computer by installing mobile security software.

• Use caution when downloading apps. Apps can contain malicious software, worms, and viruses. Beware of apps that ask for unnecessary “permissions.”

• Download the updates for your phone and mobile apps.

• Avoid storing sensitive information like passwords or a social security number on your mobile device.

• Tell your financial institution immediately if you change your phone number or lose your mobile device.

• Be aware of shoulder surfers. The most basic form of information theft is observation. Be aware of your surroundings especially when you’re punching in sensitive information.

• Wipe your mobile device before you donate, sell or trade it using specialized software or using the manufacturer’s recommended technique. Some software allows you to wipe your device remotely if it is lost or stolen.

• Beware of mobile phishing. Avoid opening links and attachments in emails and texts, especially from senders you don’t know. And be wary of ads (not from your security provider) claiming that your device is infected.

• Watch out for public Wi-Fi. Public connections aren't very secure, so don’t perform banking transactions on a public network. If you need to access your account, try disabling the Wi-Fi and switching to your mobile network.

• Report any suspected fraud to your bank immediately.

Yahoo! Data Breach

Yahoo Data Breach – Precautions to Take

On September 22, Yahoo announced that 500 million of their accounts were hacked and are sold by internet criminals. Internet criminals can use this information in a variety of ways. For instance, they could send phishing emails claiming you need to change your Yahoo account, looking just like the real ones. If you are a Yahoo user or use the same user codes and passwords for different accounts, including a Yahoo account, consider taking these steps:

  • Open your browser and go to Yahoo. Do not use a link in any email. Reset your password and make it a strong, complex password or rather a pass-phrase.
  • If you were using that same password on multiple websites, stop doing so immediately. Using the same password all over the place is an invitation to get hacked. If you did use your Yahoo passwords on other sites, go to those sites and change the password there too. Also change the security questions and make the answer something non-obvious.
  • Use a free password manager that can generate hard-to-hack passwords, keep and remember them for you.
  • Watch out for any phishing emails that relate to Yahoo in any way and ask for information.

The Federal Trade Commission also offers a short video on handling data breaches and points consumers to the website IdentityTheft.gov/databreach for more information.

Browser update notice

Effective Monday, July 11, 2016, users attempting to gain access to online banking with Internet Explorer versions 7 or 8 will be unable to do so. Please update your browser to the latest version.

 

Online Banking Supported Browsers

Supported Browsers – our online banking supports the latest versions of Safari, Chrome, Internet Explorer and Firefox. Each time a new version of these browsers is released the bank encourages you to update your internet browser for the best online experience.

Effective Monday, July 11, 2016, users attempting to gain access to online banking with Internet Explorer versions 7 or 8 will be unable to do so. Please, update your browser to the latest version. Feel free to contact your local branch with any questions regarding this update. Thank you!

New Phishing Email Uses Accurate GPS Data To Attempt to Gather Credit/Debit Card Information

There is a newly reported phishing tactic that may prove to be very effective. Criminals, most likely using GPS data from compromised mobile phones, will use this data to craft an e-mail with accurate travel information to a specific user. The e-mail will contain a link or attachment to either gather credit/debit card information or load malware to the recipient’s device.

Remember that traffic citations are never emailed or sent out in the form of an email attachment, and report scams like this to your local police department.

A sample scam e-mail is below:

From: Speeding Citation

To: (Accurate Email Removed)

Date: 03/11/2016 03:08 PM

Subject: [External] Notification of excess speed

First Name: (Accurate Name removed)

Last Name: (Accurate Name removed)

Notification of excess speed

Route: (Accurate Local Township Road –removed)

Date: 8 March 2016

Time: 7:55 am

Speed Limit: 40

Detected Speed: 52

The Infraction Statement contains an image of your license plate and the citation which must be paid in 5 working days.

 

Source: KnowBe4.com

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