Moving from secondary to post-secondary education is a significant milestone but it is also involves many other small but equally important milestones, all revolving around greater independence.
Yet with greater independence comes greater responsibility. One of the important firsts in this phase of your life often is banking. Some of you will actually be embarking on a career in the area of finances, however each and everyone of you would need to open your first account, if nothing else, to start receiving your stipend. Perhaps your parents would have opened a savings account in your name when you were little, but this is generally the time when you walk up to a bank representative for the first time and seek to start a banking relationship. Research conducted in this area shows that among millennials in particular, the world of financial services is not instinctively palatable. Often tagged as ‘a necessary evil’, many tend to maintain as distant a relationship as possible with their financial services provider.
Admittedly, the world of banking was simpler ten years ago. Basically, you had a savings account, or a current account if you needed a cheque book for your daily needs, a term deposit account for putting away capital you would not be needing in the short to medium term, and at most a personal loan, probably to buy your first car or computer, and eventually a home loan. That would have summed up the average customer profile.
The picture has changed a bit since then, but that is not necessarily bad. One of the greatest influencers on the world of financial services is technology. Gone are the days where you had to stand in a queue to encash a cheque or withdraw funds from your account, and then ask the cashier to update your savings book. Now you get all that and more via your Internet and your Mobile Banking. If you download the BOV Mobile app for instance, you may view your balances and recent transactions in real time on your mobile phone. You may even pay a third party or settle a utility bill there and then, and why not, share a bill, if you are eating out with your friends. Even paying for a service is as easy as sending an SMS to anyone on your Contacts list.
And what about online shopping? Nowadays you can opt for a BOV MasterCard Prepaid Card to pay for your online purchases. These are cards which you buy for different denominations, ranging from EUR50 to EUR150. Cards, be they credit or debit, represent another alternative. We have added another layer of security through the introduction of BOV 3D Secure. In a nutshell, when you effect a payment online and enter your card details, the merchant will ask you to enter a code that would have been sent to you as an SMS on your mobile phone, as an added validation that the card is rightfully yours. We shall also shortly be introducing contactless technology to our cards which means that when settling low value payments all you need to do is simply tap your card on the point of sale, and the transaction is processed without even having to enter your PIN. However, all the security features would still be intact.
Then there are financing products to help you finance your projects or eventually set up your business. Bancassurance and investments are no longer on the periphery of the financial services world. It may seem daunting to even mention planning for retirement at your age, but here planning is the key word. If you start saving at a young age and investing for your future, you would be able to enjoy the lifestyle you are now working hard for, even when you reach retirement age.
It would be safe to say that banking has outgrown its birth suit over the past years, and grown at a dynamic pace. This has made it more challenging yes, but concurrently less boring. There are tools out there that can help you get informed and make your own decisions about your financial future. At Bank of Valletta we regularly organise talks under the BOV Investor Education programme, to help you and others wanting to learn more, get better acquainted with different banking channels and services. We also seek to make your life easier by providing customised packages – BOV Club for when you are starting your studies and the BOV Graduates Package for when you are ready to take your first career steps. Our people, whether on Campus, at BOV Customer Service Centre or at your branch are more than willing to support you and build a sound working relationship with you. Interested? Then, drop us a line on [email protected], call us on 2131 2020 or send us a Private Message on our BOV Club Facebook Page.