Stay protected! Learn how alerts can keep your accounts safe and secure.
Picture this: You’re lounging on your couch, enjoying a lazy Sunday afternoon when suddenly your phone buzzes with a notification. Your financial institution has just sent you an alert about a transaction on your account that you don’t recognize. Your heart races as you wonder whether someone has stolen your identity or your card. But before you panic, you read the details of the alert. It’s just a harmless online purchase you made that your financial institution flagged as potentially fraudulent. You smile with relief, happy that you signed up for account alerts.
In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of account alerts, how they work, and how to set them up for your account.
What Are Account Alerts?
In a nutshell, account alerts are automated notifications that your financial institution sends you via phone, email, text message, or push notification on your mobile device. These alerts let you know about various events and activities related to your accounts. By receiving alerts in real time, you can quickly identify and address any issues that may arise with your account. Best of all, you can customize the alerts and choose the ones that are right for you.
Here are 11 account alerts you can set up:
1. Low Balance Alert
This alert notifies you when your account balance falls below a certain threshold that you set. One of the great things about a low balance alert is that you’ll know when to move money into your checking account from savings to avoid overdraft fees or even tighten spending until the next payday.
2. High Balance Alert
You always want your money to work for you as hard as it possibly can, and a high balance alert can help. A high balance alert can let you know when it’s time to move money from your checking account into your savings, retirement, or other investment account. This alert can be useful for budgeting and saving goals, allowing you to celebrate your financial progress.
3. Single Transaction Alert
If you have a good sense of your typical daily spending and want to keep a closer eye on your account activity, consider setting up a single transaction alert. For example, if most of your transactions are $50 or less, you can set an alert to notify you of any transactions that exceed this amount. Although this alert may flag everyday purchases, it can also help you catch fraudulent activity. Fraudsters often use multiple low-dollar transactions to drain accounts, so a single transaction alert can be an effective tool for detecting potential fraud before it becomes a bigger problem.
4. Large Purchase Alert
This specified amount is usually set higher than the one used for normal, single transaction alerts, and it’s meant to let customers know when a big purchase has been made. It can help you spot unauthorized transactions or prevent overspending, giving you greater control over your finances.
5. Large ATM Withdrawal Alert
This feature notifies you when a large ATM withdrawal occurs on your account, allowing you to identify potentially fraudulent transactions or unauthorized withdrawals. If you share a joint account, this alert can help you and your co-owner keep track of each other’s spending.
6. Debit Card Use Alert
Keep track of your spending by setting up a debit card use alert. This feature notifies you of all debit card purchases made on your account, including the merchant name and transaction amount. This alert can help you keep an eye on your spending and catch any unauthorized use.
7. Unusual Activity Alert
This feature alerts you when unusual activity occurs on your account, such as transactions from a foreign country or at an unusual time. This alert can help you identify and prevent fraudulent activity, keeping your account safe.
8. Foreign Transaction Alert
These alerts can be helpful in keeping track of your spending and detecting fraudulent activity in another country. You’ll be notified of any transaction made in a foreign currency, whether it’s online or in person. When traveling, these alerts can also help you monitor additional fees.
9. Upcoming Payment Alert
If you want to stay on top of bills, this alert can help. You’ll receive notifications for upcoming payments due on your account, such as credit card bills, loan payments, utility bills, and other recurring charges. Additionally, you can monitor subscriptions, like gym memberships, with this feature. These upcoming payment alerts will help you avoid missed payments and costly late fees, giving you peace of mind.
10. Direct Deposit Alert
You have cash! This feature notifies you when a direct deposit, such as your paycheck or tax refund, arrives in your account. With this alert, you can plan your bill payments, budget for large purchases, and make the most of your funds.
11. Profile Change Alert
Your online credentials are essential for protecting your account from fraud. To keep an eye on any changes made to your login information, consider setting up a profile change alert. This feature notifies you when changes are made to your account profile details, such as your email address, username, or password.
Fraudsters may attempt to gain access to your account by changing this information, effectively locking you out and giving them free rein. By setting up a profile change alert, you can stay informed about any changes made to your account and act quickly to prevent unauthorized access.
How Do You Set Up Account Alerts?
Setting up account alerts is a simple process that can vary depending on your financial institution and the type of alerts you want to receive. In most cases, you can set up alerts through your online account or mobile app. To get started, log in to your account from your mobile device or desktop and navigate to the account settings section. Look for an option to manage alerts or notifications and select the type of alerts you want to receive. You may be able to customize the dollar amount thresholds for certain alerts or choose to receive alerts via email, text, or push notification.
Choose the options that work best for your preferences and stay informed about your account activity. Contact your financial institution’s customer service department if you need assistance setting up alerts.
Beware of Scams
While alerts can be helpful in monitoring your account activity, it’s important to be aware of potential scams. You should be on the lookout for several types of alert scams:
- Scammers may send emails that look like they’re from your financial institution, asking for personal information or directing you to an official-looking webpage to log in. Be wary of any alerts that ask for personal information or instruct you to click on a link.
- In these scams, scammers will call you. The call may display a fake caller ID to make it look like it’s your financial institution calling. They may ask for your information or advise you to transfer your money to a new account.
- Criminals will contact you by text message, posing as your financial institution and asking for personal information.
To avoid falling victim to account alert scams, be cautious of any alerts that ask for personal information or direct you to click on a link. Verify the authenticity of any alerts or messages with your financial institution’s customer service before providing any personal information or clicking on links.
If you suspect that an alert or message is fraudulent, report it to the Federal Trade Commission at reportfraud.ftc.gov. Many messaging apps and email servers also have a report spam or junk option that you can use to report fraudulent messages.