Do You Plinqit?

By Celeste Lohrenz

We all know we should be saving money.  From the time we got our first summer jobs during high school, our parent’s almost certainly tried to convince us to put most of it in the bank.  Even though we know we should be saving, most of us probably didn’t do it as well then, and probably aren’t doing it as well as we should or would like to now.

Almost 60% of Americans have less than $6,000 saved (42% have less than $1,000).  Only 14% of people under 54 see retirement savings as a priority, even though we should be saving 10-17% of our income in order to retire at our current standard of living – that’s if we start saving at the age of 25.

Without a plan for saving consistently, it’s hard to cover any larger expenses, including emergencies, college tuition, weddings, a new home, vacation, and many other things.  It’s important to start saving early for all of these things so that when they happen, you’re prepared.

One of the best things you can do is automate your savings.  For your retirement account, you can have contributions deducted from your paycheck and deposited into your account.  For other saving needs, have you considered Plinqit?

Plinqit is a digital savings tool offered by The Milford Bank and HT Mobile Apps to make saving easier and more fun.  You simply set up your Plinqit account and define specific savings goals.  You can even set up five different goals, so you can track progress towards each individual target separately.  Your Plinqit account is connected to your checking account, so once the saving goal is set up, you don’t have to do anything other than watch it grow.

In addition, you can earn small bonuses by watching videos or reading articles designed to help increase your financial education, so you you’ll learn more about money while earning, too.  You can also earn bonuses by reaching your savings goals and referring others to use Plinqit.

Plinqit is free to use, and you can download a mobile app to your Apple or Android device to manage your account easily.

Most importantly, though, using an automated tool can help you save more effectively without having to remember to add to a separate account manually.  Once you set it up, it just happens and your vacation, emergency, or other savings will grow.

If you have questions about Plinqit, savings accounts, or any other financial needs, our banking experts are here to help.

10 Tips for Safe Online Banking

It’s not surprising to see digital banking continue to grow, considering nearly everything else we do is accessible online.  Over the past several years, online and mobile banking has grown as the primary banking method by almost 25%, according to the FDIC.  It’s not hard to imagine that growth continuing this year, especially as the pandemic closed many branches temporarily and people generally trying to avoid risk.  That’s not to say people aren’t visiting branches – they are.  In fact, 80% of households that used digital banking as their primary banking resource still visit branches.  But, the growth is a clear indicator that the convenience of online banking is real, and with banks providing many of their services online and through mobile apps, customers are taking advantage.

Of course, as with other online activities, online banking comes with risks if you’re not careful.  Banks take security seriously and ensure they have the best security measures in place to protect your accounts.  But, there are two sides to every transaction and, if you’re not practicing safe online banking habits, you could be exposing your information to hackers.

Here are a few tips to help you keep you digital banking information secure.

No sharing – Your personal and banking information is yours; keep it that way.  If you get a call or email from someone asking for sensitive information, it’s very likely a scam.  Even if you think there’s a chance it’s a legitimate request, hang up (or don’t respond to the email).  Look up the company’s phone number and call them to confirm.  Remember that your bank will never call asking you for your card numbers, security codes, PIN numbers, or other sensitive information.

WiFi security – Make sure you have followed best practices for home WiFi, including using a strong, unique password.  It’s a good idea to leave that network for you immediate family’s use.  Most modern WiFi routers allow you to easily set up a separate guest network for others to use (make sure to use a different password for the guest network).

Public WiFi – Quite simply, don’t do it.  There’s too much risk and limited security on most public networks.  They are meant to enable access to the internet, but they are typically not safe for financial transactions.  If you have access to a VPN, use that or your mobile network if you have to make banking transactions before your get home.

Passwords – Just as you do for your WiFi, use strong, unique passwords for your online and mobile banking apps.  Not all sites use the same high levels of security as banks.  Using unique passwords means that, even if one password is stolen from a site with weaker security, your banking information will not be exposed.  Check our post on creating strong passwords to help.

Sign out – Remember to sign out of your online banking accounts when done to avoid exposing your accounts in the event your devices are compromised.

P2P payments – There are many great tools for easily sending and receiving money from friends or family members.  It’s a smart habit to limit your P2P activity to people you know and trust explicitly.  If someone asks you to pay for a purchase using a P2P product, you should think twice about it.  These options are great for quickly sending money to someone, such as when splitting a bill, but they don’t offer you recourse for recovering lost funds.  On the other hand, other payment options, like credit cards and digital payment platforms like PayPal, Google Pay, and others, offer fraud protection (check before you use them to make sure you understand what is covered and what isn’t).

Mobile security – Even if you’ve secured your home devices, don’t forget your smartphones.  Treat your mobile devices just as you would a laptop or desktop with good security software.  Many security solutions available for consumer use package mobile security apps in their solutions.  If you subscribe to security software, check to see if it comes with a mobile solution.  As with your home devices, always make sure your security software is current.  Consider allowing your security software to update automatically to make sure you always have the latest protection.

Firewalls – Make sure you have an active firewall for your broadband connection to reduce risk.  Your operating system or security software should include a firewall option that you can enable.

Contact info – Make sure you update your bank and your mobile accounts if you get new contact information.  It will help your bank communicate with you and will make sure you continue receiving important information, including your account activity alerts.

Monitor your accounts – Banks have good fraud detection in place to protect your accounts, but cyber criminals are also good at what they do.  Checking your accounts regularly can double down on your bank’s efforts and spot any questionable transactions.  It’s easy to do with your online portal or mobile app and won’t take you much more time than checking email.  You can also set up automated alerts via text or email to let you know each time a transaction is made.  Alerts It will help not only help you manage your spending, but will alert you immediately of any suspicious account activity so you can contact your bank and take appropriate steps.

Online banking has become extremely convenient.  With all the digital tools available for many of your banking needs, you will rarely have to physically visit a branch if you don’t want to or are just not able to.   But, you need to make sure you’re taking precautions and following best practices for online activity to avoid putting your financial information at risk.

Making New Year’s Resolutions That Will Actually Be Helpful

By Celeste Lohrenz

As we reach the end of what has been nothing short of a challenging year – and hope 2021 will bring good news – it’s time for the age-old tradition of making New Year’s resolutions.  Most people, though, don’t follow through on them.  But, the key to making them stick is to make resolutions that are specific enough and achievable and, importantly, beneficial.  If you have a vested interest in keeping your resolutions, you’ll be more likely to do so.

Taking stock of your financial situation is a great place to start.  Then, you can look at where you may need or want to make changes in your spending or saving habits to improve one or more areas of your personal finances.  You can certainly do these things at any time, but if you need a little additional motivation, try making a financial New Year’s resolution and see how it changes your financial outlook by this time next year.  It’s something you have control over, and improving your finances will have short and long term benefits.  Here are a few suggestions.

Stick to your budget

One of the most important tools for financial responsibility is your budget.  Without one, it can be difficult to manage your spending and increase savings.  If you haven’t created a budget, start with understanding your monthly spending, then you can start to build a budget and see how that relates to how much you want to save.  If you already have a budget, review it to see if you can cut any spending to help save more.  But, make sure you create a reasonable budget.  If you set one that’s not realistic, you will not only fail to stick to it, but once you go over budget once, your spending can snowball quickly.

Check your credit report

Your credit score is a key factor in how banks decide whether to lend you money or not, and also what interest rates borrowers will get, which can all impact your ability to finance major investments, like homes or cars, or to get credit cards.  You can see your credit score every time to log into your online account here at The Milford Bank.  If there’s nothing suspicious and your credit score is strong, you won’t spend much time on it.  But, if you need to improve your score or notice something wrong, make it a priority to fix it.

It’s easy to say you’ll eliminate all your debt, but it’s a lot harder to do it if you have significant credit card balances, auto loans, student loans, or other debt.  Reducing it is much easier.  Try setting incremental, more achievable goals, like paying off one loan at a time, or paying an extra $50 or $100 a month on your credit card.  Even if you don’t pay it all off by the end of the year, you’ll have made significant progress that you can carry over into the following year.

Automate saving

Saving isn’t always easy, but using automated tools, like Plinqit, can help you reach your small and large saving goals by automating your savings deposits.  Regardless of what you’re saving for – college tuition, a wedding, the down payment on a new home, or anything else – you no longer have to remember to put money away.  Instead, set your goals and watch your savings grow each month.

Build an emergency fund

The thing about emergencies is you never know when they may happen.  Your roof may start leaking, dishwasher may stop working, your car may need a new engine, or any number of other things may come up that require access to funds.  That’s where having an emergency fund is can be a major benefit.  Instead of dipping into your savings or accumulating debt, an emergency fund provides security for any unexpected situations that come up, including loss of income.

Save for retirement

It’s never too early to start building your retirement nest egg.  It’s simple logic – the earlier you start, the more you are likely to have when you retire.  Whether you have a 401k plan or IRA, try maximizing how much you put into it each month, while still maintaining a reasonable budget (especially if your company matches your contribution).  You may also want to pay more attention to how your contributions are being invested.  Talk to your financial advisor if you’re not sure how to effectively manage your investments.

Start banking digitally

Just about everything we do these days can be done online.  If you haven’t yet tried online or mobile banking, you haven’t experienced the freedom and flexibility it provides.  Most of your everyday baking transactions can be done through your bank’s website or mobile app, reducing the number of trips you have to make to the branch and giving you more time to enjoy doing other things.  If you need help setting up your online account or mobile app, our bank’s specialists are ready to help.

Review your will

Nobody wants to think about it, but creating a will and making sure it’s updated as your financial circumstances change can be a huge help to your loved ones when the time comes.  Take the time to meet with a professional to document how you want your assets allocated, and enjoy the peace of mind that you’ve made things a little easier for your family in the future.

These are just a few ideas for kicking off the new year with a positive financial outlook.  Once you have assessed your current situation, you may find other ways you can improve your financial wellness.  The key is finding something that makes sense while setting a goal that is achievable yet meaningful enough to make you want to follow through.  Whether you’re looking at short-term benefit or long-term opportunities, you can’t achieve them if you don’t set objectives and create a path to financial success.

As Digital Banking Grows, Local Banks Still Have the Edge

It’s not surprising to see the use of digital financial tools have increased over the past three months, during the COVID-19 pandemic. Online shopping saw a sharp increase with most stores limited to curbside pickup, but digital banking also saw growth. In fact, the U.S. saw a 60% increase in people installing digital banking apps as their local branches were closed.

The surge in usage includes new digital users who had previously never enrolled in online or mobile banking, as well as existing digital customers – almost half of whom say they are now using digital services more frequently. But, despite living in a connected world, customer satisfaction with digital banking isn’t as high as it should be, particularly with larger regional and national banks.

The reason is simple. Despite having a broader geographic reach, larger banks have a hard time competing with local banks on service quality and personalization. The same advantages local banks have in their offices extend into the digital world, creating better experiences and service continuity.

Lower fees and rates – Local banks tend to offer lower rates and fewer fees than larger banks, whether banking is done in-person or online.

Service availability – While large banks often promote having more services, most local banks offer the same services today, including digital and online banking, and are able to more easily adapt their services to their local customers. Local banks are also more likely to offer innovative solutions to help customers achieve their financial goals, such as personal savings apps like Plinqit. One of the biggest drivers of digital customer satisfaction is the availability of P2P payment apps, with Zelle having the greatest positive impact.

Customer service – Local banks have intimate knowledge of their communities and pride themselves on building relationships with customers. As a result, they typically offer more personalized service, including when customers need help with digital banking services. As with any digital services, customers are bound to have questions about setting up services and learning how to use them effectively. Local bank representatives are well positioned to provide the answers.

Local knowledge – Because of their understanding of local demographics, trends, and needs, local banks are more easily able to customize their services to meet customers’ needs. They also work closely with other local organizations to support economic and social growth in the community. Larger banks typically offer exactly the same menu of services to their customers, regardless of location or individual needs.

Now that bank offices are starting to re-open, many customers may go back their traditional in-person banking patterns and enjoy the relationships they have built over the years. But, when they have a need, the digital services and customer support local banks are able to offer will make it easy to move back and forth between digital and in-person banking, as circumstances dictate. To learn more about all the digital services The Milford Bank offers, contact a us to speak with a banking specialist.

Are You Getting the Most From Your Digital Banking Tools?

For the past two months, most of us have been working from home as our businesses have closed physical workspaces due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  It’s been a challenge for many, and we are hopeful that we can all start to get back to our offices and ease back into more normal environments soon.

Throughout this crisis, even though our lobbies have been closed, The Milford Bank has continued to provide the banking services you need through our drive-thru tellers, ATMs, and phones.  We also hope you’ve discovered the many digital banking services we offer.  They are not only helpful now, but offer a convenient way to manage your finances going forward – so you can spend more time doing the things you enjoy.

Through mobile apps for phones and tablets, as well as online banking via your browser, digital banking gives you access to most of the services you need on a regular basis.  One very important thing to always keep in mind is to only use your digital banking tools on secure networks – and never use public WiFi to access your accounts.

Online and mobile banking apps ­– With our online tools and mobile app, you have a powerful set of tools to make managing your finances easier than ever.  With them, most of your banking needs can be handled from anywhere and from most digital devices, including:

  • Access your accounts
  • Check balances and transactions
  • Get copies of checks
  • Review loan/mortgage information
  • Transfer funds between accounts
  • Make deposits
  • Pay bills, set up/stop automatic payments
  • Make P2P payments
  • Find the closest ATMs or offices

You can access online services from any browser, and the mobile app is available for iPhones, Android phones, iPads, Android tablets, and Amazon tablets.

Plinqit– Saving money is never easy, and today, it may be even harder for many.  Savings apps like Plinqit can help you set aside even small amounts of money regularly for emergencies, college tuitions, weddings, mortgages, new cars, or anything else you may need extra money for.  All you have to do is set up your account, connect it to your savings account, and set your savings goals and a savings schedule.  Automating your saving – even if it’s only a small amount each week or month – will help you work towards those larger purchases.

ZelleZelle is a convenient way to send money to or receive money from friends and family, without having to make trips to the ATM or branch offices for withdrawals, and then mailing checks.  The funds are exchanged directly between bank accounts, so transfers typically happen within minutes.  You can access the Zelle service directly from our mobile app or online portal.

Notifi – One of the keys to effectively managing your finances is keeping track of transactions, not only to make sure they are legitimate, but to monitor your weekly or monthly spending.  Notifi allows you to set up text or email alerts for transactions across your accounts.  You can get alerts for all transactions, or certain types, or even those that exceed specified amounts.  Notifi is available through our mobile banking app.

Card Valet – Similar to Notifi, Card Valet keeps you updated on transactions made with your cards.  In addition to simply notifying you of transactions, which can immediately alert you to fraudulent activity – you can set geofencing parameters to help protect your cards, and even set limits on why kinds of transactions they may be used for.  These are also great features if you’re giving your kids access to cards for gas, meals, or other specific needs.  Card Valet is also available through our mobile banking app.

While we’re looking forward to welcoming you back inside our lobbies, we know many of you will prefer these digital tools for a while – and maybe permanently when you see how useful they are.  Of course, if you have questions, need help, or have other banking needs, our staff is always ready to help you, either by phone, or by emailing us at customerservice@milfordbank.com.

Staying Financially Healthy During the Coronavirus Pandemic

By Pam Reiss

As the world continues to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic, life as we know it has come to a grinding halt. Millions of us are working from home, our children are getting their schooling through videoconferencing, and our normal social and sports activities are in limbo.

Unfortunately, the situation can create some uncertainty around how to manage financially. Whether you’re currently working or not, it’s very likely you’ve been thinking about how to manage your finances during this time. The good news is at least some typical spending has naturally been cut because we’re all staying at home. But, there are many ways you may be able to keep your financial situation as stable as possible and stretch your budgets a bit.

Takeout vs. cooking – Ordering takeout or delivery is a great way to support local businesses during the crisis, but if you need to cut your spending, since you’re at home anyway, try limiting how often you order out. Instead, enjoy more home-cooked meals. There are many resources online for inexpensive, healthy meals. You can plan your entire week’s meals, make a complete shopping list, and make just one trip to the grocery store. You can even have one night of the week reserved for leftovers. If you want to continue to support a few local restaurants, set aside one or two days of the week for that.

Buy what you need – We’re still able to go to the grocery store, despite having to follow public safety guidelines. If you initially stocked up on non-perishables or frozen items, start using those instead of constantly buying more. Also, when you’re at the grocery store, there are still many items on sale each week. You can check out your grocery store’s flyer online to see what’s on sale, and plan your meals for the week accordingly.

Other ways to save – Take a look at some of the other things you’re spending on each week and see where you can cut a little out of your budget. Things to look at include video services. If you’re a cable subscriber, you might think about switching to a lower service tier, at least temporarily, or if you have multiple streaming services, consider cutting one of more of them. The monthly savings can add up quickly, and you can certainly find other ways to entertain your family.

Low interest rates – With interest rates dropping, this may be a good time to look into refinancing your mortgage or student loan, or even consolidating multiple loans. While there will be paperwork involved, lower interest rates can provide significant savings each month.

Emergency fund – If you’ve been following good financial habits and have built up an emergency fund, don’t automatically fall back on it. First take a look at ways you can reasonably adjust your spending. Then, if you find you need to dip into it, you can hopefully use just a little of it. If you’re fortunate enough to be working, this is a good time to add to or start your emergency fund. Since at least some of your normal extracurricular spending has been put on hold, consider putting that toward your emergency fund. You never know when you’ll need it.

Investment funds – It can be difficult watching retirement accounts and other investments lose money with the current market instability. The good news is they have historically bounced back reasonably quickly. Before you move or sell your investments, talk to your financial advisor, who can give you advice on whether it’s a smart move or not. Making a rash decision could actually end up hurting your investment funds.

Protect your credit – If at all possible, continue to pay your bills on time. If you’ve been using your credit cards, at the very least, pay the minimum on those to avoid hurting your credit score. If you are in a situation where you can’t pay some of your bills, contact your lenders. some lenders are allowing extra flexibility with payment terms or interest rates to help during the pandemic. You should also check your credit reports regularly. Fraudulent activity often increases during crises, and consumers and businesses are under a constant barrage from cyber criminals. Be extra cautious with emails, websites, and phone calls. There are thousands of malicious COVID-19 websites out there, and many phishing emails and phone calls looking to exploit uncertainty and fear.

The good news is most of the financial resources you normally have at your disposal are still available, though not in an in-person capacity. But, you can still contact us if you need advice.  Even though we’re all dealing with this pandemic, you can do things to help keep your finances in order and limit any long-term impact.

Why Digital is an Advantage for Local Banking

It’s no secret that the world has gone digital. So much of everything we do each day happens online with the mobile devices that seem to be attached to our appendages. Mobile and desktop apps and online portals have changed the way we manage our lives, including our finances.

With the Millennial generation now the largest single population group in the workforce, the majority of spenders and financial decision-makers will soon be digital natives. They have grown up in the smartphone era and expect to be able to do just about everything digitally, including banking.

According to a recent report, 69% of Millennials use their laptops or PCs at least once a week to access bank accounts, but 92% do the same thing on their smartphones, and more than half engage in banking activities on their mobile devices more than five times a week.

Interestingly, Gen X is actually ahead of the Millennial generation in terms of laptop banking (82% at least once a week), and not far behind when it comes to smartphones (83% at least once per week and 47% more than five time a week).

The Milford Bank has always prided ourselves on the personal service we deliver and the community and human connections we are able to create. While on the surface it would appear that national banking brands would have an advantage with digital banking, we are happy to be provided the opportunity to build on our relationships we have had with our customers by offering a variety of digital products and services that can be correctly tailored to our customers’ needs and wants. Some of the advantages of this digital shift are:

Expanded customer base – Digital banking allows us to expand our customer bases. Because most people don’t need to visit branches very frequently, offering digital banking products can showcase our brand to new customers. Customers are comfortable doing most of their banking using digital tools, and are within a reasonable distance from a branch to be able to go when they need to.

Quality customer experience – The Milford Bank prides itself on delivering superior customer service. While it may seem digital banking could detract from that experience, it’s actually quite the opposite. Because customers expect to be able to do their banking online, giving them the tools to do it is part of a great experience.

Improved customer engagement – Digital tools create opportunities for increased engagement between The Milford Bank and its customers. That means that we now have more ways to let our customers know about the tools that are available for their banking needs – especially new ones, like partnering with P2P payment networks, and to emphasize the flexibility the combination of local and digital banking offers.

Perpetual availability – One of the great benefits of digital banking is its 24/7/365 availability. While offices are closed for holidays, the Internet stays open for business, which means you can access your accounts, pay bills, and send money to your kids in college any time at all – from anywhere.

The bottom line is banking is going digital, and it is important for The Milford Bank to give our customers a diverse variety of tools to choose how they want to bank. As banking competition has moved online, The Milford Bank cherishes the opportunity to blend the personalized experience a customer gets when they visit one of our offices with the ease and convenience of our digital product offerings. Customers like feeling that they matter and it is important for us to provide quality products and services regardless of whether it is in person or online.

What you need to know about using P2P payment apps

By Lynn Viesti Berube

One of the unique features about today’s app-centric society is there’s an app or just about everything, it seems.  It’s great to be able to download apps and take care of so many things on your mobile devices.   On the other hand, because these apps tend to be fairly targeted – most try to solve a single problem – they don’t always offer quite the level of flexibility or functionality users might want.

Take mobile payment apps, for instance, like Zelle or Venmo, which are becoming increasingly popular.  They are designed to make exchanging funds between individuals easier using digital technology.  But, they are not necessarily intended for all transactions.  Both companies have been clear that their intended use is for payments between friends or other people who know and trust one another.  For things like paying a share of a dinner bill, sending an entry fee for a fantasy sports league, or getting in on a group birthday gift, apps like these make transactions fast and simple.  These are cases where one individual outlays funds for an activity, and others need to pay their share.

But, as with any digital transactions, there are risks that users should be aware of.  Here are a few simple tips to keep your apps, accounts, and money safe while letting you enjoy the convenience of P2P payment apps.

Intended uses – Use the apps as they are intended.  If an online retailer asks you to pay using a p2P app, you should be suspicious.  Reputable online retailers should offer payment methods that don’t require immediate P2P transfers, such as credit cards, PayPal, and other means.  If you’re paying for services, such as a snowplow service in the winter, using a P2P app, you may be using local residents not set up to receive credit card payments, and sending a check each time it snows can be a nuisance, so a P2P app might be the best option.  At the very least, make sure you know who you’re paying, use only reputable providers, and make sure you’ve received the service before paying.  Consider sending a check the first few times to make sure the relationship works out.

Identity – It’s easy to make a mistake when typing an email, phone, number or username.  Double check whatever identifier you’re using to send money to someone.  Once the money has been sent, it’s hard – often impossible – to get it back, so taking the extra time to get it right can reduce potential headaches.

Send a test – If you’re not certain you are sending to the right person, send a small amount as a test and confirm they received it before sending the full amount.

Security – Follow the same security principles as you would for any other application or website.  Use the highest level of security they offer, including using a PIN or fingerprint ID for transactions.  If the application offers two-factor authentication, be sure to use it.  While this adds an additional step when using the app, it also adds an additional layer of protection that help keep you account secure, even if your credentials are compromised.

Deposits – Some apps place funds you’ve received into a mobile wallet until you manually transfer them into your bank account.  This can sometimes take several days to process, so once you have approved the transfer, check to verify that it actually went through.

Fees – Some P2P payment platforms charge fees for certain kinds of transactions.  Make sure you know what your app’s policies and fees are so you won’t be surprised and can account for fees when sending or receiving money.

Settings – Always check your app’s privacy and sharing settings.  They may have default settings that make information available to others that want kept private.

Kids – Many parents want to give their children access to P2P payment apps to make it easier for them to participate in various activities.  You probably don’t want to give them full access to your credit card or bank accounts, so take the trip to your local bank to see what options they might be able to offer, such as a prepaid debit card to link to your child’s app.  If they are part of one of the payment platform networks, they likely are well versed on the best ways to let your kids use them.  Of course, before anything, make sure your child’s device has security protocols enabled, and talk to them about potential security risks and how to avoid them.

 

Peer 2 Peer Payment Apps Give Consumers More Choice

By Celeste Lohrenz

As it has been with nearly every industry, digital technology is changing the way people bank.  Online tools and mobile apps are making it easier for people to manage their finances, giving them modern options to replace traditional options.  P2P (Peer To Peer) payment apps, for instance, have become highly popular as a means of exchanging funds between individuals.

While check payments are still very popular – even with Millennials, new P2P payment users are nearly evenly split between those younger than and older than 45.

It’s really about having options.  If there one thing a digital economy has proven  it is that people want convenience.  They want to be able to transact using whatever methods are most convenient for them at the time.  That may mean going to a local bank office to understand the differences between home equity loans and HELOCs.  It may mean putting a check in the mail for a monthly car payment.  It may mean going to an ATM to take out cash for dinner.  It may mean putting a new TV on a store credit account because of a no-interest offer.  Increasingly, though, it also means using P2P apps to settle with friends, relatives, colleagues, or others.

For instance, Zelle – a mobile payment platform whose parent company is actually owned by seven major banks – delivered $49 billion through 196 million transactions in Q3 2019 alone, a year-over-year increase of 58% in transaction value and 73% in transaction volume. The Milford Bank is happy to now offer Zelle to our customers as a further option to your banking experience.

There are many reasons P2P payment apps such as Zelle are growing, but convenience is at the top of the list. Zelle offers a simple alternative to get money to other users quickly – if both parties are signed up with Zelle for instance, funds may be available within minutes.  Zelle is available on both Android and iOS platforms, making it easy to transfer money to split a dinner tab or utility bill, regardless of what mobile devices your friends use.

But, perhaps the biggest benefit Zelle offers is trust.  The biggest reason consumers avoid mobile payment apps is lack of trust.  In addition to being operated by a consortium of the biggest banks in the country, Zelle partners with other financial institutions so those banks can make Zelle transactions available through their own mobile apps and online resources – as opposed to having to use a third-party app.  Sending or requesting money is as simple as logging into The Milford Bank’s mobile app or online account and choosing the person to send funds to using your mobile contact list or entering their phone number or email address.

Along with The Milford Bank, more than 600 financial institutions have signed up to be part of the Zelle Network, with more than 250 already online and processing transactions.  In all, more users representing more than 5,500 banks have successfully completed Zelle transactions.