Banking Tips to Make Your Holidays Merry and Bright

Before you deck the halls and wrap the gifts, it’s important to take stock of some common holiday pitfalls that arise with increased spending. No one wants unexpected issues to crush their holiday spirit. It’s also time to be extra vigilant against seedy characters looking to hack into your accounts to fund their own holiday cheer.

  1. Debit card and ATM limits: If you’ve never switched up your card spending limits, your per transaction, per day debit card spending limit is likely the default $500 (with use of pin) or $1,000 (with a credit, signature-based transaction). If you are making a larger purchase, simply call your local Standard Bank office to have your limit temporarily raised. This can only be done by the bank, you cannot increase these limits in our app through Card Controls (our free mobile feature that customizes your debit card as well as turns it on/off).Likewise, Standard Bank ATM limits are $500 per day. So, if you plan to give cash gifts, in-person transactions may be easier if you’re able to visit a local branch during operating hours.

    What you can do in Card Controls, however, is lower your debit card spending limits to help protect against fraud. If you set your max limit to a lower limit, say $200, and you want to spend more during the holidays, simply change it back in the app. It’s easy to forget about those settings when your spending increases during the holidays.

  2. Remember your Card Control settings. Sometimes it’s easy to forget how well you protected yourself! These settings help keep your account safe, but it also means you need to adjust them if you plan to use your debit card while you’re traveling or spend outside your normal banking habits.

    Holidays are very busy times, and this can be a step that’s easy to forget, but there is nothing fun about fiddling with your Card Control settings while you’re standing in the snow at a gas pump or trying to pick up the dinner tab with friends. So, if your card is ever denied—check your Card Control settings. You may have prevented yourself from certain transaction types, geographies, or spending limits. Changes are instant, so you may have to adjust your settings and try your transaction again.

  3. Keep tabs on your spending. Sounds simple, but not all businesses and vendors process payments and checks the same way. Some may appear instantly, and others may take a day or more. Checking your account online may not offer you a true picture of your finances.

    Whether you use paper or electronic ledgers, it’s a good idea to record what you spend so you don’t overdraw your account and create a financial mess to clean up in January. 

  4. ‘Tis the season for fraud. Sadly, thieves prey on the goodwill and kind hearts of their suspects. Fraudulent charities and “feel good” solicitations are common around the holidays. They try to tug at your heartstrings and your wallet. If you’re concerned about the validity of an organization, visit charitynavigator.org for ratings on thousands charities.

    Also, fraudsters typically strike accounts on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day or the day after. They know you are busy celebrating the holiday and that the banks are closed—the perfect time to strike. To help mitigate fraud on holidays, turn off your debit card in Card Controls. A quick tap can always turn it back on if you need to make a quick purchase. 

    Furthermore, there have been recent reports of spoofed phone numbers for charities and banks. It may look like your bank is calling, but it’s actually a thief taking on the bank’s identity. Never give personal information over the phone. If it’s needed for something you were expecting, simply ask to call the person back at an official phone number you can verify. If the company is legitimate, they will completely understand. This is safety protocol in banking.

We are extra diligent keeping an eye out for our customers this time of year. So if you are ever unsure or have any questions during normal business hours, please call our Customer Care Center at 1-866-856-Bank (2265) or stop by your local office. We’re more than happy to be of service to you! After hours, for 24/7 banking or app assistance, call 1-888-722-1323.

From all of us at Standard Bank, have a safe and enjoyable holiday season!