Holiday Shopping? 5 Ways Your Bank Can Help

The holiday season is full of joy and cheer, but there’s also a lot of hustle and bustle involved. If you sometimes become overwhelmed by your holiday to-dos, take a deep breath. Your bank doesn’t just make it possible for you to write checks and swipe cards for all those gifts: It can also help simplify your holiday shopping—without costing you an extra dime.

Reduce the stress of holiday shopping by taking advantage of these free tools and services that can help make your season merry and bright.

1. Easily purchase gifts together. Zelle offers an easy, fast and secure way to pay virtually anyone: Within minutes, money can be moved electronically from your bank account to the account of the person you’re paying—whether or not they have a Fifth Third bank account. Zelle is already included in your mobile banking app, and unlike peer-to-peer payment apps, funds received from Zelle deposit immediately into your checking account so the payment is quick and easy*.

For instance, your sister can buy the gifts for Mom and Dad, and you can conveniently send your portion to her bank account using your mobile banking app. All you need is her email address or mobile phone number. Splitting the cost of a gift has never been easier.

2. Stick to your budget. Seventy-two percent of parents set a budget for holiday shopping, but 58 percent spend more than they intended, according to a recent study. Rather than setting an arbitrary holiday spending budget, which is likely to get out of control, consider using a spending calculator to get a firm understanding of your monthly spending. Then you can see how much you can expect to have left over to put toward holiday shopping without breaking your monthly budget.

3. Stay on top of real-time spending. As you’re shopping for holiday gifts, it can be easy to get carried away and lose track of how much you’ve spent. Fifth Third Bank allows customers to set up customized mobile alerts to help them stay informed. You can set up notifications for when your account reaches a certain balance threshold, when your account is used to make online purchases or purchases that reach a specific transaction threshold. You can also set mobile alerts to remind you to make a payment on time. 

4. Make secure digital payments. Shopping with your smartphone continues to grow in popularity—not only is it easy and convenient, but it's also secure. With mobile wallet applications, you can make  digital payments from your phone through Masterpass, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Android Pay, and Microsoft Wallet. Forget the bulky wallet and purse while shopping! It's as easy as a tap! 

5. Build your child’s future. Do the grandparents, aunts and uncles tend to shower your children with too many gifts that just lead to toy overload? If so, you’re not alone. But why not skip—or minimize—the toys and ask well-meaning friends and family members to apply the money they’d use on gifts to something that will last longer? Open a 529 college savings plan in your child’s name and welcome contributions from others. By contributing some of your holiday dollars to your child’s 529 plan, you’ll simplify your shopping and allow your child’s college savings to start growing tax free.

The holidays can be hectic, but it doesn’t mean they have to be. Let your bank help you make the holidays brighter by taking some of the stress out of holiday shopping.

* Zelle and the Zelle related marks and logos are property of Early Warning Services, LLC. Transactions made between financial institutions in the Zelle Network typically complete within minutes. If your recipient does not have access to Zelle through their bank or credit union, transactions could take between 1 and 3 days to complete.

Masterpass is a registered trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated. Apple Pay is a registered trademark of Apple Inc. Samsung Pay is a registered trademark of Samsung Electronics Co, Ltd. Android and the Android Pay are trademarks or registered trademarks of Google. Microsoft and Microsoft Wallet are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation.

The views expressed by the author are not necessarily those of Fifth Third Bank and are solely the opinions of the author. This article is for informational purposes only. It does not constitute the rendering of legal, accounting, or other professional services by Fifth Third Bank or any of their subsidiaries or affiliates, and are provided without any warranty whatsoever. Deposit and credit products provided by Fifth Third Bank.