Banking can be very difficult to do, especially during the time of a pandemic. However, there are still many options to choose from in order to get your banking needs fulfilled.
Here are some ways you can still bank without going to a branch. Read to learn more.
Explore Online Options
Nowadays, banking can be done with the click of the button using websites or banking apps. With these online options you can do the following things:
Deposit checks. With mobile check deposit, you can take a picture of the paper check you have and submit it online, through the app or through your bank’s secure website.
Pay bills. With online bill pay, you can log in to your bank’s web page and enter the name of the recipient and their contact information. Your bank handles the rest by making an electronic funds transfer or mailing a paper check.
Apply for an account. Opening a new checking or savings account can be as easy as going to a bank’s website and submitting an online application. To apply, have your driver’s license and Social Security number handy to prove your identity.
Sign documents. Some institutions use digital services such as DocuSign to prepare documents, including loan and account opening paperwork. They can be securely emailed to you, and you can sign them electronically by clicking highlighted prompts.
Request payment assistance. Some banks are allowing customers to request arrangements online, including delaying due dates for bills, temporarily reducing monthly payments or asking for fee waivers.
Pick Up the Phone
Another option is to call the bank’s customer service number. You can use it to speak to a real person about account questions or issues that you may have.
For example, some banks have announced that customers can call and request to waive non-sufficient funds fees, overdraft fees and monthly service charges.
If you’re faced with steep fees, it may be better to simply switch to a cheaper bank. Online-only institutions, for example, tend to have low or no monthly service fees, and some offer toll-free customer service numbers staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Bank Safely at a Branch
If you still need to visit a bank branch, here are some ways to protect yourself and stay safe.
Get it on the calendar. It is a good idea to call ahead and schedule an appointment at your local branch, so that you do not have to sit around waiting and ensure you have a slot. This helps manage occupancy and social distancing requirements.
Calling ahead can also help the bank make sure it has a staffer on hand who can help you with a specialized transaction or request, he says.
Consider drive-up services. Some banks have drive-up lanes where customers can receive the same services offered inside a branch, such as making cash deposits and withdrawals, and getting money orders, all at a safe distance from other people. You could also withdraw cash from an on-site ATM without the need to interact with a teller.
Bring your protective gear. Since you’ll be touching screens, door handles and other public surfaces, consider bringing hand sanitizer or wearing gloves. If you do need to step inside a lobby, you may also be asked to wear a mask for everyone’s protection.
Accept the changes. Steve Turner, a publicist in Chesterfield, Missouri, says he visits his local branch a few times a month to make business deposits. “There are signs on the floor showing where people should stand to keep their distance,” he says. Turner has also noticed there’s less small talk with the tellers, and reasons it’s because everyone is wearing a mask. He believes these changes will remain for a while. “It was odd at first, but now it seems like a new normal,” he says.
There are always ways to still bank without having to go to a branch. There are online options and you can still receive help from the bank’s customer service over the phone.
For more information on banking, check out more bank guides right here on HMB!