Whether you’re out for Right Arm Night or dinner with a friend, it’s not uncommon to split the bill. After all, you ordered an appetizer and everyone in your crew ordered drinks and entrées. You definitely don’t want to split that down the middle! Unless you have exact change, you’re probably asking around to break that $20 or have a friend spot you. We’ve all been there.
Even though 3 out of 4 consumers carry cash, it’s not always the easiest way to divvy up expenses. Luckily, that smart phone you keep on your hip can make things easier. Using a payment transfer service through your bank or credit unionmakes splitting these costs a breeze. Here’s three reasons why you might want to give it a try.
“There are certain scenarios where you might not have an ATM nearby, or the person you’re trying to pay is on the other side of the country,” says Timothy Day, vice president of digital channels at Navy Federal Credit Union. “Nothing beats the convenience of picking up a smartphone and tapping some buttons on the screen to send money instantly to your family or friends.”
For servicemembers, this convenience comes in handy if you split expenses with a roommate, or if you’re stationed overseas and your family is back home. Everything from phone bills and groceries to rent and that new TV you’ve been saving for. Services like Zelle®¹, for example, can make the transfer easily and instantly if both parties are using the service.
When you go to an ATM to get cash, your account statement shows one withdrawal. How do you keep track of what you actually did with that money? To have a budget, you’ve got to keep track of your spending.
Using a digital service² to transfer money means you have a record of your activity. “If you’re splitting a phone or lunch bill, you have the ability to know down to the exact penny where your money is going, or how much you’re receiving. It’s much easier when you look at your bank statement to budget rather than saying here’s the big lump sum from the ATM,” Day says.
Transferring money with the tap of a finger sounds great, but is it secure?
“Every service has its own security controls. If you’re using a service through your bank or credit union, such as Zelle, it’s going to have the same security controls that your institution uses,” says Day. “Other services that you download may have their own security controls. Typically they involve setting up or linking a debit card or checking account and adding the people you want to send money to.”
Now you’ve got the benefit of using the same security your financial institution uses. Now you need to verify who you’re sending money to, especially that first time. Day adds, “Triple check that phone number or email address you’re using to send money. That will give you peace of mind knowing your money is going exactly to the person you intended.”
Give it a try
Check out your bank or credit union’s website to see if they offer a transfer service. At the end of the day, using digital services to manage your money means you have more control.
So next time you split a bill or need to divvy up costs with a roommate, you’ll know how. It’s convenient, helps you budget and lets you narrow down your expenses to the penny. That way you can make informed decisions, and you won’t have to pitch in for the drinks if all you got was an appetizer!
1Zelle is available to bank account holders in the U.S. only. To receive money in minutes, the recipient’s email address or U.S. mobile number must already be enrolled with Zelle. Zelle and the Zelle-related marks are wholly owned by Early Warning Services, LLC and are used herein under license.
²Message and data rates may apply. Visit navyfederal.org for more information.