It’s back to school time out there for all you bright-eyed, young business leaders of tomorrow. Ughh, those first few days after Labor day are the college equivalent of those cold winter Monday mornings. It’s harsh.
But Bank of America is trying to make things as easy and as lame as possible for your finances this semester. They’ve got this new site feature with a wacky/hip college guy named Morris teaching us all the valuable lessons of helpful banking services and how we can use them with a Bank of America account.
I’ve watched a few of the episodes on the site and it seems like Morris is painfully out of touch with legit college problems. The dude is supposed to be an upperclassman but he has a 1950s-era ‘State’ pennant hanging on what appears to be his dorm room wall? Come on bro, man up and move off-campus to avoid the noise violations and puritanical drinking restrictions.
Also, as AdFreak points out, Morris appears to be stone cold sober in all of his little introductions. Even his ‘Spring Break‘ segment has him drinking a large fruity drink labeled ‘Non-Alcoholic’. Get real, Morris.
As for the financial advice – it seems like Bank of America is trying to do too much. Under their ‘college tips’ advice index the sage wisdom is filed under Financial Advice, Dorm Room, Random, Classes, Food. What, no ‘Sex’ advice? No cross promotional thing with Trojan? Opportunity lost.
The classes, food, and dorm room stuff is all very typical and obvious. Sounds verbatim like all the paperwork and colorful posters hanging on your RA’s door. But let’s take a look at the financial tips they offer:
1. Missed payments on your bills will hurt your credit rating (it’s important), so set them up with automatic Bill Pay. That way you don’t have to worry about them being late.
2. If you set up overdraft protection service, it’ll automatically take available funds from your Bank of America savings and put it into your Bank of America checking if you go over your balance. Although a $10 transfer fee applies, this could save you from possibly getting dinged by much more in overdraft fees.
3. Put money into your savings account every month, even if it’s just a little bit. It’ll make you feel all warm and fuzzy later, when you realize you have enough for that rainy day.
4. Your payment dates for credit cards can change month to month. Try to pay them off as soon as you can, or at least make sure you know the date and write it down somewhere you’ll notice. Like a calendar.
5. Don’t jack up your credit score by being late on payments, it may not seem like a big deal now, but later on when you try to get a car loan or credit card, it will.
6. When you buy stuff using a credit card, remember that the price listed on the tag may not be the real price. You have to take into account the interest on your card and fees, so it might actually cost you much more.
7. Don’t give out personal information online all willy-nilly. One easy trick is to make sure the website has an “s” on the end of the http: in the URL and a yellow lock in the lower right corner of your browser. That means it’s designed to be secure.
8. Be mindful of your checking account balance. Remember pending charges may not always be reflected in the amount showing on your computer screen. You might think you have more money than you actually do, and overdraw your account.
9. With your check card, just because it works, doesn’t mean you have money. You can still overdraw your account, so proceed with caution when you know your funds are low.
10. Your first stop for a student loan should be FAFSA.ed.gov. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, is the way to get the cheapest form of loan for college, and often you don’t have to repay any principal until after you graduate.
11. Use your student ID everywhere you can. Lots of places like movies, restaurants, gyms and more offer special discounts to students. Check out your college website for lists of places with discounts.
12. Students are too busy to be writing and depositing checks. Plus, a paperless society helps the environment. Signing up for online banking saves you time while helping save the environment.
13. Overdraft protection rocks! With overdraft protection, your bank links your checking and savings accounts to cover each other in the event of insufficient funds in one account.
I like the automatic bill pay options, and the overdraft protection is a good idea (check out our other post on all the ways to avoid overdraft fees) and FAFSA is definitely a good call.
Not bad advice overall, but saying stuff like ‘don’t jack up your credit score‘, ‘willy-nilly‘ and ‘overdraft protection rocks!‘ are surefire ways to make college kids roll their eyes at your lameness. And what exactly do they mean by ‘having enough for that rainy day’? They couldn’t think of any examples for what a college kid would do with some extra savings, seriously?
AdFreak: BofA’s College Videos Not Like Actual College, September 2, 2008