Exciting news! We are upgrading our online and mobile banking experience!  Improved with you in mind, this new design will make it faster and easier to use than ever before.  With enhanced security, new features and expanded functionality, it will offer convenient access to your banking information whenever and wherever you need it.  This upgrade will occur on September 14, 2016.  We encourage you to visit our Readiness page:  https://www.mercbank.com/upgrade/  to find out more details. 

 

At Mercantile Bank, you’ll find a home mortgage experience unlike any other.  We provide personalized service that goes far beyond appraisals, escrows, and finance rates.  We’re with you step by step through the entire mortgage process to make sure that you get the home financing program that meets your needs and lifestyle.  Visit our newly designed website to find out all the ways our team can help you.  Whether it’s a new purchase, or refinancing your existing home, discover why we’re the premier choice for all sorts of home loans.  *All loans subject to credit and collateral approval.

https://www.mercbank.com/mortgage/index.asp

 

An essential part of our cornerstone values is to strengthen the communities we serve throughout Michigan.   We accomplish this in many ways including our commitment to revitalizing our neighborhoods as well as creating and promoting economic prosperity by investing in industry, agriculture and real estate.  We also have a relentless drive to help provide affordable housing, supporting housing for low and moderate income families, persons with developmental disabilities and the homeless.

Our most significant impact goes beyond financial investments.  Our hands-on approach to community engagement has helped to support the people in our communities in countless ways.  Over the past year, Mercantile Bank employees have volunteered a total of 30,140 hours.  That’s an average of 62.53 hours per employee.  We’re proud of the efforts of our team throughout the communities we serve. 

 Watch our Community Impact Report video to learn more about all the ways we’re impacting our communities.

 

 

Mercantile Bank´s Giving Together program is another way for us to give back to the communities we serve. Non-Profit organizations are able to apply to be considered for a chance to receive a donation decided by the public during a weeklong voting period at www.mercantilegivingtogether.com or at our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/mercbank

Congratulations to the most recent winners of our Giving Together Program! 

First Place: The Geek Group National Science Center

Second Place: West Michigan Veterans Assistance Program

Third Place: Foster Closet of Michigan-Isabella County Branch

Thank you to all of our finalists for the meaningful work that you do in our communities.  It’s our pleasure to help you in your mission. 

We are currently accepting applications through September 26th for Health & Human Service related organizations. To find out more about our Giving Together Program and to apply, visit us at: www.mercantilegivingtogether.com                                                                                                                                           

 

Winter 2016 eNewsletter

Research shows that in recent years 85% of the world’s population shop online and the average American uses electronic media up to 11 hours a day.  Spending time online is a quick and convenient way to communicate, get our news and shop.  However, it can be dangerous if we’re not vigilant in protecting our private information.   

With help from our friends at NerdWallet, we’ve put together a list of important steps to keep in mind to help protect yourself from online dangers. 

1. Do your online shopping/banking from home

You’ve probably taken steps to secure your home network, so it makes sense to do most of your online activity there. Public computers are convenient, but be careful about entering passwords and sensitive account information when using these machines. Many will keep your login data in the web browser history, so after you leave, the next person who uses the computer might be able to see what you typed and access your account.

If you’re on your own laptop or mobile device but using public Wi-Fi to access the Internet, you could run into similar issues. You can’t be sure the network you’re on is secure, and if it’s not, a lurking hacker could see any information you send. When you use public Wi-Fi, consider updating the settings on your device to make sure you don’t automatically join networks you won’t use regularly.

If you have to shop or bank online while away from home, consider using a virtual private network, or VPN, service to protect your account information.

2. Install antivirus software

Many antivirus companies will send security patches to your computer automatically, so you don’t have to be a tech genius to get the most up-to-date protection. In addition to installing an antivirus program, it’s a good idea to check your operating system, web browser and mobile devices to make sure they also have the latest software updates.

3. Be smart with account passwords

Strong passwords include both upper- and lower-case letters, numbers and symbols, and they can’t easily be guessed. Security experts recommend that you change your passwords regularly — at least once every few months.

4. Don’t skimp on mobile security

Sometimes you may need to shop or bank online while you’re on the go. When using smartphones, tablets and laptops, you can help protect your accounts by adding a password to lock your device screen. Also, install a “find your phone” tool to help locate your device if it’s misplaced. Many such tools give you the ability to disable your device remotely, in case it can’t be recovered.

 5. Remember, “secure” starts with an S

Before sending over account numbers or other sensitive information, check to see whether your browser address bar begins with “https” instead of “http”. The extra “S” literally stands for “secure,” because the page is encrypted. In addition to checking for the “S,” you can also look to see whether the webpage has a seal from such organizations as the Better Business Bureau, Trusted or VeriSign, which means the site is more likely to be trustworthy.

Margarette Burnette is a staff writer covering personal finance for NerdWallet. Follow her on Twitter @margarette and on Google+.

 

Debit Card protection

We are proud to offer our customers an innovative new service!  CardValet is a mobile app that lets you control your debit card usage and spending on the go.  This free app is available on the Android App store or iTunes.

Exciting features of this product include

•      Card usage controls: Establish spending limits to allow transactions up to a certain dollar amount and decline transactions when amounts exceed pre-defined thresholds.  Transactions can also be monitored or controlled for specific merchant categories such as gas, hotel, travel, groceries or electronic stores. 

•      Card on/off setting:  When the card is “on,” transactions are allowed in accordance with the usage control settings you’ve established.  When the card is “off,” no purchases or withdrawals are approved until the card is turned back “on.”  This control can be used to disable a lost or stolen card.

•     Location-based controls:  Restrict transactions to merchants located within a certain range of your location (using your phone’s GPS); transactions requested outside of the specified area can be declined.

•      Fraud protection: Report or restrict PIN and signature transactions, enabling you to manage, track and report specific types of transactions and quickly detect unauthorized activity.

•      Interactive alerts: Real-time alerts can be sent when a card is used, when a transaction is approved and exceeds any of the permitted use policies, or when a card transaction has been attempted but is declined.  

•      Financial features: Conduct limited card-related transactions wherever you are, any time of the day, including real-time balance inquiries and locating ATM’s.

If you have questions or would like find out all the ways that CardValet can help you, visit our website at: https://www.mercbank.com/cards/cardvalet.asp.  You can also stop in to any of our offices for full details.

Community Investment is “Outstanding” at Mercantile Bank

 Giving back to the communities we serve has always been a priority to us at Mercantile Bank. We are honored to once again be rated as “Outstanding” by the FDIC in our Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) examination.

 The CRA is a law that requires banks to help meet the credit needs of their communities for housing and other purposes, particularly in neighborhoods with low or moderate incomes, while maintaining safe and sound operations. An “Outstanding” rating is the highest available ranking and one which only about 5% of all banks achieve. We are proud of the fact that this is the third consecutive time we’ve received this rating, meaning that we’ve had nine years of “Outstanding” ratings.

 The “Outstanding” rating is based on our performance in lending, investments and services, focusing on areas such as mortgages, small business, and community development lending and services.  Our CRA evaluation made specific references to our strengths in lending, including our responsiveness to credit needs, and geographic distribution of small business and home mortgage loans throughout low and moderate income areas in the markets we serve.

 We believe that this rating is the result of the hard work and dedication of our employees, who year after year contribute and invest in the communities where we live and work. To this end, we are consistently looking for ways to build stronger relationships with our community partners by providing accessible banking and lending services in all of the communities we serve. 

community bank michigan news kirk cousinsWashington Redskins Quarterback MSU Football NFL Kirk CousinsWe’re proud to be partnering with pro Quarterback Kirk Cousins and wish him success this season.  Our new commercial starring Kirk is making quite an impression and has even been featured by Sports Illustrated!

nonprofit contest to win money

Giving Together Contest WinnerMercantile Bank´s Giving Together Facebook program is a way for us to give back to the communities we serve. Each quarter we give away $5,000 to one Nonprofit organization. To be considered for the program, Nonprofit organizations must complete a Grant Application. Ten organizations will be selected by Mercantile Bank from the submissions each quarter to compete for the public vote on our Facebook page.  The organization that receives the most votes during the week long voting period will receive a $5,000 donation.  Visit http://www.mercantilegivingtogether.com for more info.

Congratulations to our recent recipient of the Giving Together Grant; Roscommon Area District Library! 

 

EMV credit card debit card smart card community bank

We take your security seriously and will soon be offering an easy and new way to help you protect yourself from fraud.  Chip card; also called EMV cards contain an embedded microchip which produces a unique code that cannot be used again; adding an additional layer of fraud protection when making purchases.  Mercantile Bank debit and credit card holders whose current cards expire soon will begin seeing their new cards beginning in October 2015.                    

For more information regarding the new Chip cards you can visit:

mercbank.com

gochipsanddips.com

emv-connection.com   

Facebook twitter youtube

Want to stay up to date on events happening in your community?  Follow us on social media to get the latest stories, photos and more!

                   Community Bank on Twitter - Mercantile Bank     bank commercial and more community bank videos

Be sure to check us out at the Boys and Girls Club of Grand Rapids during the Bankers vs. Bankers Basketball game, where we’ll put our skills to the test as we play Macatawa Bank in this fun charity event!

Community education participation

 We know that by sharing our financial expertise we can help children, families and businesses achieve their goals.  We have partnered with schools to teach young children the importance of saving money and teenagers the basics of personal finance.  We also work with nonprofit organizations to provide financial education classes to help families learn to make good financial decisions and to work through financial problems.  We also help entrepreneurs and small business owners strengthen their businesses by reviewing business plans and sharing our knowledge.

Do you have questions?

Do you have questions that we can answer or is there a topic you’d like us to cover in an upcoming issue?  Send us an email and let us know!  Email us at: marketing@mercbank.com

 

Mercantile Bank of Michigan Community Banking
We recently held the first Mercantile Bank Leadership camp featuring MSU and NFL quarterback Kirk Cousins.  These events were held in both Grand Rapids and Lansing where we were able to offer this amazing experience to local high school students.  Not only were they able to meet and talk with Kirk, but they also interacted with local community leaders, and professionals from all walks of life to share stories and gain leadership skills that will enable their future success.

 Each year Mercantile Bank hires some of the most talented local  students as interns in a variety of capacities and locations throughout the Bank.  We are very excited to have this great group of young  professionals working in area’s such as; Commercial Loans, Human Resources, Mortgage Department, and Accounting. We are pleased to provide these opportunities to all of these bright, ambitious young people and look forward to delivering an educational and meaningful experience for everyone.

 

Have you been dreaming about fun this summer on a new boat?  How about riding the trails on your own ATV? Or maybe it’s time to start looking for a new house?  We’ve got just the thing to make those dreams a reality!  With our dream loan rates you could get that new toy or move into that new house sooner than you think.  Call or stop by your local office today or visit http://www.mercbank.com for details on this limited time offer.

 Simplify your life by saving time, and reducing clutter by signing up for eStatements. They’re free and available on your checking, savings and loan accounts.  You can print and save your statements anytime, and with our enhanced security features, you can avoid having      sensitive financial information sent through standard mail.  They’re also environmentally friendly!  Click here to use our conservation  calculator to find out how much you can help the environment with simple steps like reducing your paper statements.   There are so many reasons to sign up for eStatements, and it’s simple and easy to get started.  Just visit our website for more information.

 

We are pleased to announce that Mercantile debit cards can now be added to Apple Pay!

Apple Pay will change how you pay with breakthrough contactless payment technology and unique security features built right into the devices you have with you every day. You can use your iPhone, Apple Watch, or iPad to pay in a simple, secure, and private way.  With Apple Pay you can use your iPhone 6 or Apple Watch to pay in hundreds of thousands of stores accepting contactless payments. You can also make purchases within participating apps on iPhone 6, iPad Air 2, and iPad mini 3.

For more information visit: https://www.apple.com/apple-pay/

 

 

Mobile Wallets are quickly becoming a more accepted and preferred method of payment for consumers wanting to utilize their smartphones for purchases.  Recognizing this growing interest and demand, Mercantile Bank has announced partnerships with multiple industry- leading Mobile Wallet providers bringing flexibility and choices to its customers.   The bank has partnered with Visa Checkout, Google Wallet, PayPal, and coming soon, Apple Pay.

John Schulte, SVP Chief Information Officer at Mercantile Bank states, “We consider the Mobile Wallet as simply another extension of the opportunities that mobile devices bring to us in providing our customers with convenient ways to manage all of  their financial needs.  We’ve already prioritized the mobile channel as a strategic investment for the bank’s future, because we want to offer our customers the best package of convenience and personal service possible.”

With the rapidly changing landscape of mobile wallets, each mobile wallet provider is evolving to bring unique features to their wallet solution such as added security, integrated reward programs, and ease of checkout.  The most recent development is with Apple Pay.

Apple Pay is used with iPhone 6 to pay in stores without swiping your cards and in apps without entering payment and contact information. Just pay with a single touch of your finger using Touch ID.

With Apple Pay, instead of using your actual credit and debit card numbers when you add your card, a unique Device Account Number is assigned, encrypted and securely stored. And when you make a purchase, the Device Account Number alongside a transaction-specific dynamic security code is used to process your payment. So your actual credit or debit card numbers are never shared by Apple with merchants or transmitted with payment.

“Mercantile Bank’s goal with Mobile Wallet solutions is to curate for our customers the best set of choices to match their unique needs, and make them seamlessly integrate into Mercantile Bank’s existing mobile and online banking tools.  As always, we want to match these new tools with the best local banking support available when you need it.  Having choices means no compromises are required.  Our customers get to pick which mobile wallet(s) fit their financial needs, purchasing habits, and lifestyle.” said Schulte.

 

About Mercantile Bank Corporation

Based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Mercantile Bank Corporation is the bank holding company for Mercantile Bank of Michigan.  Mercantile provides banking services to businesses, individuals and governmental units, and differentiates itself on the basis of service quality and the expertise of its banking staff. Mercantile has assets of $2.9 billion and operates 53 banking offices serving communities in central and western Michigan.  Mercantile Bank Corporation’s common stock is listed on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol “MBWM.”

Budgeting & Saving

0
March 26, 2014 // Saving, Technology

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Article Written By:  Zach Roth | Creative Media Specialist | Mercantile Bank of Michigan

Budgeting is not easy.  The best intentions of saving and taking financial control can quickly become forgotten as old spending patterns creep their way back into your routine.  Instead of attempting to take on your budget all by yourself, why not utilize available tools and resources to help keep you on track?  Mercantile Bank of Michigan offers a variety of tools and services to assist you in taking control of your finances.

 

1.  Track Your Spending

Maintaining an awareness of where your money is going is a great place to start.  You’re able to notice spending patterns that you may not have even been aware of.  Seeing just how much your morning coffee is costing you over the course of a month can be shocking.  Changing the coffee routine from daily to weekly can have a significant impact on your savings over the course of a year.

Mercantile Bank’s MercMoney application tracks all of your spending for you.  Any purchases you make are immediately categorized.  The application displays your spending habits in charts and lists that help you to visualize where your money is going.

 

2.  Build a Budget

Clearly seeing your spending habits can help you find areas where you might like to make changes.  Giving yourself a budget for various expenses will allow you to stay in control of your spending.  Once again, the MercMoney application is a great tool to create and maintain a budget.  You’re able to set different budgets within each expense category.  The app can send you notifications via text or email when you are nearing your spending limit within a category.  If you need to make any adjustments to your budget throughout the year, it is easy to make changes.

 

3.   Pay Yourself

Saving money can be difficult, especially if you have to make the decision each month of how much to put away.  When money gets tight, it becomes easy to procrastinate on your own savings.  Why not take the decision out of your hands?  If you set up an automated transfer into a savings account, you will no longer have to continually decide if you can afford to pay yourself.  Set a reasonable amount and you won’t even notice the movement of funds.  By the end of the year you will have built up your savings account without even realizing it.

It’s easy to manage your accounts with Mercantile’s Internet Banking. Setting up a recurring transfer between your accounts is a simple and convenient way to make sure your savings grows.

 

4.  Be Aware

Having an awareness of your budgets and balances helps you to stay on top of executing your financial plan.  MercMobile is a great way to maintain that awareness no matter where you are.  If you are in a store contemplating a purchase, it may be helpful to check your account balance from your phone before making a decision.  The MercMobile app is free and can be quickly downloaded from your favorite app store. Don’t have a Smartphone? That’s ok, we also offer Mobile Web Banking and Text Banking so you can always get balances on the go.

 

5.  Be Intentional

Taking the first step to set up a budget is necessary.  However, your efforts are meaningless if you are unable to follow through with your budget.  Gaining the self-discipline to adhere to a budget can be incredibly challenging.  You may find yourself struggling to stay within your spending limits.  Mercantile Bank’s Reloadable Cards may be a helpful resource for staying on track.  For example, say that you are regularly exceeding your spending limit for groceries.  Unnecessary items continue to catch your eye and cause you to overspend.  You may find that putting your allotted grocery money on a Reloadable Card will help you to gain the self-discipline you need.  Knowing that there is only so much on the card can serve as your continual reminder to stick to the plan.

 

For more information on these financial tools and more, visit us at www.mercbank.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Article Written By: Damaris Olaechea from NerdWallet | www.NerdWallet.com

Since many are unfamiliar with money management tools, how about an analogy to help elucidate this mysterious new tool? A weight scale is intimidating in its simplicity: you step on it, and in three figures you (perhaps regrettably) see the cumulative efforts of munching on midnight snacks and not exercising. No matter how painfully blunt a weight scale can be, we can all agree that it’s a helpful tool to guide you towards a healthier lifestyle.

 

Personal financial management tools, also called PFMs, are a lot like that intimidating weight scale. PFMs also display figures, but instead of measuring your weight they measure your financial health. Like the weight scale, PFMs figures are useful tools for helping you maintain a healthier lifestyle. However, unlike the weight scale, the PFM will aid your financial health. One beautiful difference between the two is that PFMs can be accessed anywhere you go via your mobile phone.

 

About 90% of mobile banking users access mobile banking to check account balances or recent transactions. With mobile PFMs, not only can you to track your balances and expenses, but you can also track any existing debt, anticipate upcoming bills, and manage your savings. They offer valuable insights to help anyone looking to prepare for retirement, build emergency savings or guide themselves out of a nasty fiscal hole.

 

If you’re looking to get a better grip on your spending habits, or are trying to follow a budget to the cent, you’d do well to use a mobile PFM. Below you’ll find a few examples of the benefits provided by PFMs.

 

1. At A Glance Reports

 

Most PFMs use simple graphs or lists to show you how much spending money you have available, how much you owe, and how much you’ve budgeted. This spares you the time and trouble of thumbing though line-by-line reports when you’re ready to make a purchase, but aren’t sure if you have the funds.

 

2. Budget Tools

 

Nearly all PFMs come with some kind of budgeting tool. After all, if there’s one tried and true method of careful financial planning, it’s closely monitoring your budget. You also have the added benefit of receiving alerts via text message or email when you’re approaching your budget limits.

 

3. Money-flow Monitoring

 

One of the better features of advanced PFMs is the ability to see where you spend most of your money. This can help the conscious consumer redistribute their funds if their spending isn’t aligning with their budget.

 

4. Portfolio Management

 

Have you made investments in the stock market? Do you hold accounts in more than one place? Would you like to know how your balances are contributing to your retirement? Well, some PFMs allow you to monitor your portfolios directly through the app. Some even allow you to examine individual investments and their performance.

 

Final Word

 

While PFM tools can be extremely useful, they aren’t without certain concerns. Third party PFMs, for example, do require you give them your financial account information, including passwords.

 

If you’re afraid of using a third party for this reason, don’t fret. You’re actually in good company. According to a recent study by Forrester Research, 75 percent of consumers would prefer to use a PFM tool provided by their own financial institution. Fortunately, many banks have their own PFMs for customers to use. Try Mercantile Bank’s MercMoney tool to see how it can help you meet your financial goals.

 

PFMs are a promising tool to keep track of your financial accounts. However, like the weight scale, PFMs are only effective when they’re being used with a goal in mind. After all, no one ever lost weight just by stepping on a weight scale. Take the time to determine what your financial goals are, use a PFM to help keep you on track, and watch your financial health improve!

 

Learn More About MercMoney

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Article Written By: Mike Kroft | eBanking Services Manager | Mercantile Bank of Michigan

At Mercantile Bank, we take pride in providing our customers with innovative and helpful banking technology.  We are excited to announce that we are preparing for a major upgrade to our Online Banking, Mobile Banking and Bill Pay systems.  We believe these new resources will provide a new level of banking convenience.  These upgrades will ensure that managing your online accounts will be both easy and convenient.

The new Online Banking system is incredibly intuitive and easy to navigate.  As a part of the effortless navigation, you will be able to use a single login for both Online and Mobile Banking.  Our upgraded online bank statements are redesigned to make them more visually appealing and most importantly will be easier to read.  You will be able to print online statements as a pdf in the same format as the paper version.  If you would like to be notified when online statements are ready, you will be able to receive email alerts to let you know they are ready to be viewed.  Additionally, you will now be able to review your account history from the past 24 months.

Our new MercMoney personal finance management tools provide cutting edge banking technology that will impress.  If you have struggled with budgeting in the past, we believe these new resources will help you take control of your finances and simplify your life.  Budgeting, account aggregation, auto categorization, and debt management are a few of the tools that will allow you to visualize and interact with your money in a variety of constructive ways.  For example, all of your transactions will be automatically categorized when you enroll for MercMoney.  You will be able to examine your spending in a variety of ways that makes sense to you.  We also will have our new MercMoney app for additional convenience to the tools. Our MercMoney app along with our MercMobile app for the Apple and Android platforms will be available for download on October 23, 2013.

There are numerous amounts of new features and improvements with this upgrade.  Please visit our website (www.mercbank.com) to make note of the dates in which these changes are taking place.  We will also be hosting a library of tutorial videos to illustrate many of the new features.  We eagerly anticipate the release of this upgrade and are certain that you will appreciate it as much as we do.

Article Written By:  Zach Roth | Creative Media Specialist | Mercantile Bank of Michigan

We are proud to announce that our website is getting a new look!  The updated mercbank.com will be launching in the upcoming weeks.  At Mercantile Bank, we are continually striving to improve our products and services.  It was this focus that led us to determine how we could better the presentation and functionality of our website.  There are several reasons as to why this news has us eagerly anticipating the improvements.

After much hard work and testing we firmly believe that you will quickly fall in love with the new layout.  It will provide our customers with a simple and intuitive flow.  You will not have to make numerous amounts of clicks to finally arrive at the section of the website that you are looking for.  Each portion of the webpage is easy to find and easy to access.  Your time is important to us.  The new navigation is so simple and easy that you may actually have a couple of free minutes on your hands to just sit back and relax.

The new and improved look of mercbank.com is incredibly sharp.  We are thrilled with how neat and clean the design has turned out.  It has a calming color scheme that won’t stress out your eyes in the least bit.  Be prepared to enjoy the view.

As we are creatures of habit, there is one major thing to be aware of with the launch of the new site.  The Internet Banking Login will now be located on the upper right hand side of the homepage.  It was previously located on the upper left hand side so don’t be alarmed when your muscle memory takes you to what is now an empty space.  All you need to do is stay calm and hear the faint voice of the MercBlog whispering, “…upper right hand corner”.­

We hope that you enjoy the new look as much as we do!

Security ≠ Convenience

0
December 20, 2012 // Technology

Article Written By: Mike Kroft| eBanking Services Manager | Mercantile Bank of Michigan

It’s that time of year again! We search the stores or online websites to find the perfect gift, at the perfect price. More than likely you don’t tell that special someone you found their gift really inexpensive online, or that you had to wait 2 weeks because it was shipping from abroad.  What you may not know is that the cost of buying something from an unknown website may end up costing you a lot more 6 to 12 months down the road.

We all seem to get frustrated when we are required to use passwords, answer login questions, or additional PIN’s. These extra steps are perceived as a time consuming process that slows us down from getting that really great deal online. What we often forget, is that those time consuming processes are meant to help us keep our information secure.

It wasn’t that long ago when personal computers were the only devices that accessed the internet. Most of us had one at home and one at our workplace. Today, we are trying to manage 4 or more devices, which we can use for shopping or checking our bank account balances. The rise of mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets, have certainly complicated the number of security obstacles that we all need to understand how to navigate.

Why is it that we tend to get frustrated about the online security obstacles, but we don’t get frustrated about having to lock our car doors?  It would certainly be easier if we never had to deal with car keys. I often lose mine and have to ask my wife where I left them. She knows how frustrating this is.

As we navigate the online world during this holiday season and beyond, we need to know upfront that security is an inconvenience in a convenient online world. If we can’t accept this, we will constantly be frustrated with security technologies.  So when you are creating that account on a website that has that perfect gift for that special someone, remember their online security does not equal convenience.

Some Tips:

Ask yourself if you have ever heard of this website before? Have you read the user feedback? If you have not, you may want to buy from another site that you are more familiar with. Often I find the price difference is minimal.

When you create your user account for the site that you are buying something from, don’t make the password the same as the one you use for every other website.  When creating your password include punctuation, upper and lowercase letters, and numbers. When you are ready to checkout and you are provided the convenient check box that says, ‘Remember my credit card number for future purchases’…Don’t check it!

Happy Holidays and have a safe holiday shopping experience!