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December 02, 2021

Would you want your bank texting you account updates?

Banking, whether you like it or not, is coming to the mobile phone.

There will be an entire generation opposed to this maturation (as MSN detailed a few months ago), but technology has become too advanced for consumers not  to embrace controlling their money from the convenience of their handhelds.

And today, Scotiabank has made the mobile evolution’s next big play.

The Canadian megabank announced it will roll out a new service plan that would allow users to receive a text message every time there is activity on their account.

InfoAlerts, as it will be called, will be a BlackBerry and iPhone app at first, with future versions likely in store.

Scotiabank clients would be able to choose whether to receive a text or email when a transaction happens in one of their accounts.

This news comes in the wake of a Wall Street Journal story reporting how consumers were more likely to save if their bank sent them motivational, “Hey, you should put away $25 in your savings this afternoon!”-type text messages.

According to the study quoted in the WSJ, there was a 6% increase in savings account balances by participants who received the messages.

Now, there are obvious cons to these initiatives: who wants their pocket to constantly rumble after they buy a pack of gum with debit, and who is a cash-mad major bank to tell me how to save the pennies of my mini-fortune?

Yet there are definite pluses to knowing when things are happening with your electronic money.

“While constant updates of one’s bank accounts has its obvious advantages – helping customers track their spending, seeing when cheques clear, etc. – (InfoAlerts) also sounds like a handy security feature,” writes the Financial Post.

“In the case of identity theft, for example, if someone receives an e-mail saying they’re spending money at the Gap when they’re clearly not doing so, they may be able to put a halt on their cards sooner rather than later.”

What do you think? Would you want your bank messaging you updates about your account in real-time?

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

James HaversJames Havers

James is the senior editor of MSN Money living in Toronto. He has worked for the Nikkei Shimbun (Tokyo),,, Canadian Business and other publications. Havers turned to journalism after teaching overseas.

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...