How to be 'money smart' in a digital world


(BPT) - Modern digital technology has replaced landlines, television antennas, VCRs, CDs and many other things that were once part of our daily lives — and the next thing to go may well be cash.

A few years ago, the idea that we would no longer use cash would have seemed outlandish, but it’s happening right before our eyes. A 2016 Gallup poll found only 24 percent of Americans made all or most of their purchases with cash, compared to 36 percent five years ago. Plus, according to a recent U.S. Bank Cash Behavior Survey, more consumers say they prefer the use of digital apps to make payments versus cash.

Digital payments, specifically person-to-person (P2P) payment technologies, have made it fast, safe and convenient to send and receive money from a mobile device. Where once people exchanged cash, they are increasingly sending money to one another via P2P technology services like Zelle(R), which connects the nation’s leading financial institutions to enable consumers to send fast payments to friends, family and people they trust.

If you haven’t already joined the 100K consumers, on average a day, who are signing up to use P2P payments, the experts at Early Warning Services, the network operator of Zelle(R) — offer three ways to be “Money Smart” in a Digital World:

* Speed — When rent is due, or someone’s birthday is coming up, time and money are critical! Don’t send money that will take days to get to someone or could get lost/stolen at the post office. With Zelle you can safely send money, typically within minutes when both parties are already registered.

* Simplicity — Using Zelle makes it easy to send money to friends and family with a bank account in the U.S. — whether you’re using your banking app on your phone or the online banking portal on your laptop, you can pay friends back or request money from family wherever you are and without ever looking for an ATM.

* Safety — Make sure you only send money to people you know and trust, and make sure you type in their phone number or email address accurately when you send funds. By only sending money to people you’re already familiar with, you help to mitigate your chances of falling victim to scams.

Are the days of wrinkly dollar bills and trips to the ATM over? Maybe, maybe not — but as more people switch to mobile payments, the convenience, security and ease will revolutionize the way people exchange money.