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Five Ways To Digitize Your Financial Life

The world is witnessing a shift towards a cashless society, with Sweden emerging as the unlikely leader in the race

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Cash is passé. The world is witnessing a shift towards a cashless society, with Sweden emerging as the unlikely leader in the race. Per the Swedish central bank (Riksbank), cash transactions made up barely 2% of the value of all payments made in Sweden last year - this is expected to fall further to 0.5% by 2020. Out of every 100 Krona's spent, only 2 were spent in banknotes. A compelling statistic indeed, and with some great results: reduced crime rates and thefts, to name a few.

If the recent move to demonetise OHD notes has affected your financial life deeply, perhaps it's time to consciously take a few steps to digitize your financial life. Here are some ways that you can.

Despite the widespread proliferation of Internet Banking as a service, we still see folks queueing up at branches to do things they could have done from the comfort of their homes. You can do a multitude of things using your Netbanking account, including order a new chequebook, stop a cheque payment, transfer money, book a fixed deposit, procure your historical bank statement, view your loan interest statement, make investments into mutual funds, pay your credit card bill and even pay your utility bills such as your electricity or gas payments. You can even make your water bill payments to DJB using this convenient online platform from Billdesk

Adding a beneficiary on your Netbanking account is an easy process, with an activation lag time of merely thirty minutes. All you need is the account number, name, bank name and branch name of the intended beneficiary. Make a habit of replacing cash payments with online transfers. NEFT transfers can be done during the day, whereas IMPS transfers can be done 24 hours a day. If your domestic help doesn't have a bank account, encourage him or her to apply for one, and make payments via Netbanking instead of doling out cash. They'll be sure to thank you in due course.

Credit or Debit Cards
The judicious use of Credit Cards is definitely recommended: not just does it help you track spends better, but a disciplined repayment habit can also help you build out your CIBIL score; which can work in your favour if and when you need to take out a bigger loan.

I'd like to re-emphasize that Credit Cards can be a double-edged sword; their indiscriminate usage can throw your finances into complete and utter disarray. Make sure you never break your card payments into EMI's, and ensure that you never spend more than you can repay by the due date. Follow these two golden rules and you'll be on solid ground. If you tend towards making ad-hoc and uncontrolled spends, use your debit card instead. It's worth noting that lots of online delivery platforms now accept cards on delivery as well.

Online Grocery Shopping
Local sabziwaala or kiraanawaala not accepting cash? Buy your groceries online instead and pay using your Netbanking account or your Credit/ Debit card. It's simple, fast and convenient.Bigbasket, Grocermax and the Godrej promoted Natures Basket are examples of well managed online grocery stores. They're simple, easy to use and deliveries are usually quick. You could always start with smaller purchases till you build comfort with the process. Eventually, you're likely to get hooked!

Food Delivery Apps
Food delivery apps such as Swiggy and Zomato can make it easy to order in food from the comfort of your home, and make payments electronically. Convenience aside, you're likely to get some interesting discounts too. These days, most food delivery apps have no minimum order values either. While the long-term sustainability of their business modes remains suspect, I say - why not enjoy the party while it lasts?

"Paytm Karo" has become a ubiquitous slogan; and for good reason - it's a really good app. Admittedly, I was a late convert, but I now use Paytm to make my mobile payments, my broadband payments, recharge my TATA Sky account and even load up my Delhi Metro Card. My Paytm account is also linked to my UBER account, and there's a seamless connect between the two platforms. And although I've never used it, I am told that you can use your Paytm wallet balance to pay your school and college tuition fees, your insurance premiums and loan pre-payments too. What's more, they've just launched a platform to purchase 'digital gold' as well. If you don't have a Paytm account, I strongly recommend you create one today.

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NetBanking Digital Wallet paytm personal finance