Article Written By: Kyle Kunnen | SVP, Information Security Officer | Mercantile Bank of Michigan
Mobile devices have become a significant part of our lives. It wasn’t that long ago, cell phones were a privilege afforded by only a few. Today, virtually everyone carries a mobile device. The allure of always being connected and immediate access to virtually anyone or everything is immense. This additional access while great is not free from risk. Because we use our mobile devices to shop, bank and conveniently access private information, it has become even more imperative to take added precaution. Whether it is a cell phone, tablet, or other mobile device, they typically have the ability to enable a screen locking feature. Enabling this feature not only requires a code for entry, it also encrypts the contents stored on the device. This is a great first step in securing your mobile device providing assurance your information remains protected if lost or stolen.
Below are some additional items to consider as you use your mobile device:
- Never jailbreak your mobile device – While it seems to add functionality to bypass restrictions set by the manufacturer, it also greatly diminishes the devices security.
- Only use device approved app stores – The Google Play or Marketplace and Apple’s App Store. Other places exist to download apps that appear to be the same as those found in the traditional app stores, but are often repackaged solutions with malicious intent.
- Remove no longer used applications – This will not only free up space, but reduce the number of possible applications that could someday become a vulnerability.
- Keep your device operating system and apps updated – Vendors often release patches to add new features or functionality. In addition, they often deliver important fixes to known security issues. For convenience, you can configure your device to apply these updates automatically when they become available.
Check back next week for more information on the next Mercantile Bank Security Minute.
Article Written By: John Schulte| SVP, Chief Information Officer| Mercantile Bank of Michigan
Just in time for the holidays, when finances and overspending can be stressful, the new Cash Flow module is now live in our online management tool, MercMoney®. The Cash Flow module offers an easy way to project out your income/expenses (and replace the old checkbook register).
MercMoney® is integrated into our online banking system and is a great way to empower you to take control of your finances and simplify your life. Budgeting, account aggregation and debt management are a just a few of the tools available, and best of all it’s free with any Mercantile checking or savings account.
It’s easy to set up MercMoney® and the Cash Flow module with a set-up wizard that identifies most re-occurring transactions, allows you to choose/edit future dated transactions and search history for other re-occurring items the wizard may miss. The wizard makes it easy (5-10 minutes) to replace a work intensive spreadsheet or manual process cash flow tracking process.
This module works both for people who want an easy, casual estimate of their cash flow and for those who keep detailed records. It can replace your current checkbook register, spreadsheet, Quicken or paper reconciliation process – with an automated and more efficient cash projection. The mobile version of this module is expected to be released in early 2017 so you can budget while on the go.
If you would like more information on MercMoney® and the new Cash Flow module visit https://www.mercbank.com/electronic/merc-money.asp or stop in to any of our branches.
Article Written By: Lori Knierim | Marketing Officer | Mercantile Bank of Michigan
We could all use a little rest and relaxation – but when it’s time take a break and get away, how do you not go over budget? We’ve got some great tips on how to travel without breaking the bank!
Search the Web. Check local Chamber of Commerce or Visitor Bureau websites for events or festivals happening in towns throughout Michigan. Many of them are free, or very low cost and fun for the whole family.
Consider rental homes/cabins instead of hotel rooms. One of the largest parts of your vacation budget can be eaten up by expensive hotel bills… but consider checking out sites such as VRBO.com or HomeAway.com to find more affordable lodging options. Often times, they offer great accommodations at a much lower rate.
Be flexible! If possible, plan your trip during the “off” season or mid week. Many tourist destinations are able to offer package deals at greatly reduced prices if you’re able to visit when they’re not as busy. In addition, when there are fewer crowds, you’re able to enjoy the visit that much more!
Consider your mode of transportation. Planes, Trains and Automobiles! The cost of fuel can impact a vacation budget very quickly. If you’re traveling less than 300 miles taking the family car is usually more economical. Once you go beyond that point things change. Check airlines for last minute deals on flights, or consider taking a train or bus for a more scenic mode of travel.
When at all possible, try to avoid eating out. Easier said than done we know, but if you can pack snack food or sandwiches as well as drinks for the day you’d be amazed at how much money you can save. If you decide to eat out, try to pick one meal a day. Every little bit adds up so choose wisely!
The bottom line? Whether it’s a day at the beach, the local zoo, exploring a lighthouse, or hiking down a wooded path, there are so many ways to get out there and affordable enjoy that well deserved vacation time!