ATM machine

It’s easy to let a quick run to the bank slip to the bottom of your to-do list these days. But not making banking a priority can lead to issues like bounced checks and overdue payments; you may have a deposit to make and just not get around to it in time.

As banking rules are tightening up — and not in the customer’s benefit — it’s important to streamline your banking as much as possible so that you don’t even have to worry about the matter. Automate the process as much as possible by outsourcing.

  1. Direct Deposit: If you don’t already have your paycheck going straight to your bank account every pay period, find out what it takes to make the switch now.
  2. Automatic Bill Pay: Most banks now offer the ability to set up automatic payments from your bank account on a monthly basis. As long as your bills are consistent from month to month, let the bank handle making them.
  3. Pay Bills By Credit Card: If you do have bills that fluctuate from month to month, you can set them up to be automatically paid through your credit card. That leaves you with just one bill you actually have to pay yourself each month.
  4. Automate Savings: It can be tough to remember to set money aside every month. If you treat it like another bill, however, and make it an automatic payment, your savings won’t be a matter of remembering.
  5. Tracking Your Spending: There are a variety of online applications these days that will analyze your spending and help you determine where you can improve it. Mint is one of the best known services.
  6. Make Deposits: If you routinely receive checks, maybe as part of a business, many administrative service providers will handle dropping off your deposit each day.
  7. Reconciling Bank Accounts: As long as you have some way of processing your receipts — such as having them digitized by Shoeboxed — a virtual assistant can handle reconciling your accounts.
  8. Get Account Alerts: Most banks offer the ability to send alerts to your cell phone based on circumstances you choose. For instance, you can set an alert to let you know when your account drops below a certain balance.
  9. Set Savings Goals: Setting savings goals and keeping them are tough. SmartyPig helps with the process, using social networking to help you remain committed to your savings goals.
  10. Eliminate Filing: If you notify your bank that you no longer wish to receive paper statements, they’ll send your statements online. That means you can eliminate filing or even opening paper statements.
  11. Payroll: If you run your own business, you can outsource the entire payroll process. Payroll processors handle everything from cutting checks to payroll taxes.
  12. Send Funds: When you need to send money, you don’t necessarily have to go find your check book yourself. Either transfer the funds online or use your banks online options to have them mail a check.
  13. Receive Checks: If you arrange to have a service like Earth Class Mail handle all your incoming mail, you no longer have to worry about receiving checks — the service will find them, and either forward them to you or deposit them, based on your preferences.
  14. Purchase CDs: Where you once needed to go into a bank to choose a CD, most banks offer an automatic comparison tool online, as well as the ability to purchase the CD immediately. The same holds true of other savings accounts.
  15. Exchange Foreign Currency: Planning a trip abroad? Rather than trying to deal with expensive exchange kiosk when you land, your bank can handle ordering currency for you. Many ATM cards can also be used overseas now.
  16. Digitizing Records: If you need to be able to refer to old banking data, it’s much easier if it’s digital. Since that can require typing your data in by hand, it makes sense to work with a temp to handle the project.
  17. Save for College: Depending on your bank, you may be able to start an automatic college savings plan for your children. You can set it up to automatically withdraw money from your bank account, ensuring that your child will have access to the funds when he or she is ready to go to college.
  18. Get Financial News: Sorting through the many websites, publications, and blogs offering financial news is tough. Tip’d aggregates and ranks social news so you don’t have to.
  19. Invest Your Money: Some banks now offer customers the ability to automatically deposit money in an investment account and use it to purchase pre-determined shares every month.
  20. Roll Over a Retirement Account: There’s plenty of paperwork involved with moving a retirement account. Many banks will handle that paperwork, requiring you to do little more than sign.
  21. Find the Best Banks: Finding banks with low fees and good perks can be tough, but online tools like BankFox can compare different accounts for you.
  22. Let Your Phone Do It: Most banks offer smartphone apps for mobile banking, including features like the ability to deposit a check just by taking a photo of it, at least in the case of USAA’s iPhone app.
  23. Get Customer Service: Rather than fighting your way through your bank’s phone trees, you can get direct phone lines and tips on getting a human on the phone from GetHuman.
  24. Create a Budget: Budgets can make keeping your money in the bank easier. Online personal finance apps, such as Mint, can help you create a budget based on your current spending.
  25. Updating Your Records: In order to be sure that the bank hasn’t made an error with your deposits or withdrawals, it’s important to keep up to date records. A virtual assistant can keep your records current.

Image credit: pryzmat / iStockphoto

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