5 Banking Technologies That Make Life Easier
In recent years, online and mobile banking have undergone a significant transformation thanks to advances in technology. As a Bellco account holder, we want to remind you of some of the convenient technologies that can truly make banking easier for our members.
Alerts and Notifications
No matter whether you use a computer or mobile phone, alerts and notifications have revolutionized how we stay informed about our financial health. With these features, you can be sent real-time updates about account activity, including low balance alerts, withdrawals, and even suspicious transactions. These text, email, or push notifications can help you stay on top of your finances, preventing potential issues and giving you peace of mind.
Remote deposit, also known as mobile check deposit, allows you to snap a photo of your check using your smartphone and deposit it directly into your account. This mobile banking technology has saved countless trips to a branch and time waiting in lines, making it incredibly convenient for busy individuals and businesses.
Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Apps
Splitting bills or paying a friend back for lunch has never been easier, thanks to P2P payment services like Zelle®. You can now easily send money to friends and family with just a few taps on your smartphone. Gone are the awkward moments of digging for cash or writing checks. P2P payments are not only convenient but also secure, as they often include features like two-factor authentication and end-to-end encryption.
Say goodbye to the hassle of manual transactions with our online loan payment options. You can easily set up automatic bill payments and transfers with peace of mind knowing that your payments are taken care of. No matter whether you’re looking to pay from your Bellco account or another financial institution, or setting up a one-time or recurring payment, Bellco has you covered.
Coming this fall, we’re implementing an additional layer of security to further protect you and your accounts from fraud. The technology will analyze Bellco debit and credit card purchases made online to ensure it’s really you. If it looks suspicious, you will be prompted to use the one-time passcode process for verifying your identity. Once selected, you will receive a one-time passcode via text message, which you will need to enter at the merchant’s site to continue with the transaction. Please note, it’s important that we have your mobile number on file, so the one-time passcode process works correctly. If not, you may not be able to continue with your online purchase. To update your information, please visit a Bellco branch or log in to Online Banking and update the “mobile” field.
As technology continues to advance, you can expect even more innovations that will further simplify and enhance our banking experience.
Zelle and the Zelle related marks are wholly owned by Early Warning Services, LLC and are used herein under license.
Celebrate October with Dog-Friendly Activities
Autumn is an amazing time in our beautiful state, with changing colors, sunny days and crisp nights, the approach of spooky season, and great family-friendly events to take in nearly every weekend. And in many cases, that includes not just two-legged families but four-legged, furry families as well. If you’re wanting to celebrate your favorite elements of fall with your beloved pooch, we’ve found a few for you to consider.
What screams October more than a pumpkin patch? Many people have fond memories of choosing their Halloween pumpkins right in the field. And if you’re in the Penrose area (a couple hours south of Denver) or willing to make the drive there, you can bring your pup to Happy Apple Farm. Admission is free, and you and your dog can enjoy free hayrides while taking in a great mountain view.
If street markets are more your jam, you might be thrilled to hear the Denver Bazaar will be back at Belleview Station in the Tech Center on October 7. With over 80 local vendors, including food and fashion trucks, as well as live music, the afternoon is bound to be an exploration of delights. Admission is free, and dogs are welcome (but be aware that it could be crowded, so it might not be great for a less adventurous pooch).
And don’t miss out on dog-specific events, either!
- For some Halloween-focused fun, on October 14, you can head to Aspen Grove Shopping Center for Woof-O-Ween, where your furry friend can enter the costume contest, enjoy doggy-centered activities, and even trick-or-treat through some of the participating shops. (Admission is free, but you should reserve a spot through the Eventbrite link above.)
- On October 15, bring Fido to the Chatfield Dog Park for the third annual Peeps ’n’ Pups party. Your pet can try some agility challenges, mingle with other dogs, and take a splash in the lake. Admission is free.
- For more costume fun, check out the Tennyson Pet Parade and Costume Contest on October 28. Walk away with swag bags and souvenirs, as well as the chance for your fur baby to win a prize in individual or group costumes or be named the Most Photogenic Pet. Registration is limited, so sign-up is required, along with a suggested donation, 100% of which will go straight to Colorado Pet Pantry.
Pet families don’t have to enjoy the autumn fun alone. Bring your canine companions with you as you make memories this fall—just be sure to double-check the rules to know whether your destination is as fond of dogs as you are.
The Rise of Phishing, Smishing, and Vishing
In today’s digital age, cybercriminals are constantly devising new and sophisticated methods to exploit our vulnerabilities. Three common forms of these cyberattacks are phishing, smishing, and vishing. Each technique has its own unique characteristics, but they all share the goal of deceiving individuals into revealing sensitive information.
Phishing is one of the most prevalent forms of cyberattacks, which typically involves scammers sending fraudulent emails that appear to come from legitimate sources, such as banks, social media platforms, or trusted organizations. These emails often contain malicious links or attachments that, when clicked, lead to fake websites designed to steal your login credentials or personal information. To protect yourself:
- Verify the sender. Always double-check the sender’s email address. Cybercriminals often use slightly altered or convincing email addresses to impersonate trusted entities.
- Don’t click on suspicious links. Hover your mouse over links in emails to see the actual URL. If it looks suspicious, do not click on it. Instead, type the URL directly into your browser.
- Use multi-factor authentication (MFA). Enable MFA wherever possible to add an extra layer of security to your online accounts.
Smishing is the SMS/text message equivalent of phishing. Cybercriminals send text messages claiming to be from reputable sources, encouraging recipients to click on links or provide personal information. These messages often play on urgency or fear to elicit a quick response. To protect yourself:
- Be skeptical. Approach unsolicited text messages with caution, especially those that ask for sensitive information or contain unusual links.
- Avoid clicking on links. Just like with phishing emails, don’t click on links in text messages unless you are sure of their authenticity.
- Check the source. Verify the sender’s phone number or contact information independently to confirm the message’s legitimacy.
Vishing is a phone-based social engineering attack. Attackers impersonate legitimate entities, such as banks or government agencies, and call individuals to extract sensitive information or money. Vishing calls may be automated or carried out by human operators. To protect yourself:
- Verify the caller. Ask for the caller’s name, organization, and contact details. Hang up, then independently verify the information by calling the official number of the organization.
- Don’t share personal information. Never share personal or financial information over the phone unless you are certain of the caller’s identity.
- Beware of urgency. Scammers often use threats or promises of immediate action to pressure you. Take your time to validate the call’s legitimacy.
By staying informed, being cautious, and verifying the authenticity of messages and calls, you can significantly reduce the risk of falling victim to these attacks. To report a scam to the FTC, please visit ReportFraud.ftc.gov. If you believe you are a victim of fraud in relation to your Bellco accounts, please contact Bellco’s Fraud Department at 303-689-7548.
5 Ways to Strengthen Your Financial Health
Did you know that October is Financial Planning Month? In honor of getting your finances in order, here are five steps you can take to enhance your financial well-being:
1. Assess your Budget
Do you have a budget? Before the holiday shopping season arrives is a great time to build one. Most money management apps offer monthly breakdowns to help identify potential overspending areas. While the 50/30/20 rule is a popular guideline, adjust it to suit your income and cost of living. Can you trim expenses by canceling unused subscriptions or hunting for better home or auto insurance rates? Small cutbacks can add up to big savings.
2. Check your Credit Report
Get a free credit report from the major credit bureaus (Equifax, TransUnion, Experian) through www.annualcreditreport.com and carefully examine it for errors or discrepancies. Ensure that all your accounts are accurately reported, and there’s no sign of fraudulent activity. Addressing issues promptly can benefit your credit score and positively impact your future borrowing potential.
3. Revaluate Your Investment Portfolio
If you currently have investments, now is a good time to assess their performance over the past few months and rebalance as necessary. Ask yourself if your current investment strategy aligns with your long-term financial objectives and risk tolerance. If you’re new to investing or feeling uncertain, consider seeking advice from a financial advisor.
4. Create a Savings Strategy
Anticipating significant expenses in the second half of the year, such as home renovations or education costs? Begin setting aside funds or exploring financing options ahead of time to minimize future stress. Consider setting up automated, recurring deductions from your paycheck into a savings account. If you can’t save just yet, that’s okay—just schedule a reminder to revisit your savings plan in 2-3 months.
5. Make a Plan to Pay Down Debt
Now is an ideal time to assess your outstanding debts, including credit card balances, loans, or mortgages. Examine the balances, current interest rates, and payment terms for each. If you feel overwhelmed by your debt, explore the possibility of a Debt Management Program (DMP), which could potentially lower your monthly obligations and gradually improve your credit score.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution, so chatting with a counselor from GreenPath Financial Wellness can help you determine if a DMP is a good fit for your situation.