There is a lot of misinformation floating around about money. One of them is that ATMs are not safe because there are unsavory people out there trying to steal your information. While some people have reported their ATM accounts being skimmed, scammed, phished, and hacked, ATM machines are still largely safe to use. And with ATMs, it is all about knowing how to keep your bank accounts safe.

Here are a few tips:

  • Invest in RFID-shielded wallets and bags. They may be pricey, but this type of wallets and bags will protect your hard-earned cash. And if you can’t afford these, you can put two of your RFID-marked cards together in one wallet (having two cards confuses the scanner), or put a piece of aluminum foil in your wallet.
  • Have multiple bank accounts. The old adage of not putting all of your eggs in one basket works even in the age of information. While many banks call account holders if they detect fraud, it would still be for good measure to regularly monitor your balances.
  • Strengthen your cyber security. Complicate your password or pin. Apply alphanumeric passwords. For online transactions, you may choose to deposit only with banks that use one-time passwords or OTPs.
  • Beware of emails from your bank. Phishers have come up with ways to dress up emails in the style of your bank, usually saying that your account has had a problem. Check the sender’s email first. Do not click any links from that email. Log onto your online account with your bank for official communications. It would be best to use a laptop or desktop instead of smartphones so that all vital information in the email are displayed.

But there is one wily thief who is always watching for your weak points so that he can draw from your savings without you even noticing.  That thief is you.

In truth, you are more at risk from your own whimsical spending than from the hacker.  Remember the Pilipino saying, “Kapag may sinuksok, may madudukot.”

That is why the general rule to follow is to not put too much money in your wallet or purse.  Keeping your ATM cards in your wallet or purse would be the worst thing you could do because with such cards doubling as debit cards, you are giving the thief in you access to all of your cash.

That is why it is best to withdraw just enough and to leave your ATMs at home.  Leave your other debit and credit cards at home for good measure. You can even ask the bank to transfer your money to a passbook account to make it more difficult for you to make withdrawals.

But the best alternative is to save without you seeing your money and to have those savings invested for the long-run.  Where you invest will be determined by what your goals and risk preference are. Regardless, the more important thing is to have a budget that prioritizes savings and investments over expenses.

One last thing, wallets or purses do not bring luck. You create luck through hard work in particular when you save and invest first.

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We, your FinancePH advisors, will be glad and more than willing to help you plan your finances. Our customized financial planning approach caters to each individual needs, budgets and priorities.

If you wish to do a financial consultation with a FinancePH advisor or want to request a proposal/quote just click here. We will assign you to the best available advisor near your area.

(Originally written by Efren Ll. Cruz, RFP at http://www.savingstips.com.ph)

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