Top Three Myths About Online Banking Revealed

by Erica Starr 22. August 2012

Nowadays, it’s next to impossible for consumers to participate in the 21st century without having to share some sort of personal information via the web. From social media sites to smartphones, it feels like it’s all about sharing and comparing when it comes to your personal information online. Information that, until recently, we’ve been taught to lock up like Fort Knox. But now it’s okay to share?

With all of the hype about top notch companies such as Citibank, Sony, TiVo and even Apple experiencing electronic security breaches, we decided to take a stab at debunking some of the common myths about conducting business online…more specifically, your banking…to make you feel a little bit more at ease when deciding to take the plunge and go paper-free!


Because of the increased cyber-attacks over the years, the security measures that financial institutions have to take to protect their customers' information makes it extremely difficult and inconvenient for customers to access their accounts and conduct financial transactions.

False: With today’s advanced security technologies, banks are able to utilize the highest level of security while offering supreme functionality and user experience when customers access their sites. Tactics such as security questions and quick password recovery are just a couple of examples of secure ways banks can confirm a customer’s identity without any hassle on the customer’s end.

Sticking with traditional banking methods such as receiving monthly paper statements and driving to branches to make deposits will allow consumers to have more control over who has access to their account information, and therefore, they will be less at risk for identity theft.

False: In actuality, going the online route could actually be safer than sticking with traditional banking methods if you take the right precautions. Think about it. By banking online you:

  • Reduce the risk of “dumpster divers” going through your trash cans or dumpsters and finding personal information.
  • Get 24/7 access to your account information. That means you don’t have to wait until you receive your paper statement in the mail to discover that you’ve been the victim of identity theft. Furthermore, you can put an immediate stop to potential criminal transactions.
  • Eliminate the chance of an identity thief attempting to sign you up for online banking without your knowledge. Yep, it’s happening. Identity thieves are now targeting folks who aren’t signed up for online banking by electronically impersonating those individuals. All they have to do is get their hands on the account number (from an old paper statement they found in the trash can?) and boom…they’ve now signed you up for online banking and have full access to your account.

Banks that don't disclose what online security precautions they use must not be as secure as they claim.

False: It's actually quite the opposite. You wouldn’t want us to tell potential burglars where all of our security cameras are, would you? So then why would you want us to tip off potential hackers as to what technologies we are using to protect your information? Rest assured that 1st Mariner Bank, along with any other credible financial institutions use state of the art encryption technologies to protect themselves and their customers from potential security breaches.

If you are still apprehensive or have concerns about online banking security, visit our Security and Fraud Prevention Center to learn how we keep your accounts secure and what you can do to keep your accounts safe, then take the plunge into the wonderful world of online banking!

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The Wonder That Is ACH

by Heather Adams 14. August 2012

ACH payments are used by most people in the world today, even if they aren’t aware of it! This amazing technology is used to pay bills, transfer money between accounts and receive income; yet so few people actually know what it is or how it works. Maybe that’s a testament to just how common it is - people don’t even realize they are using it! So what is ACH? ACH stands for Automated Clearing House, and loosely defined, it is the electronic delivery of money in and out of your account.

This October marks my 20th year in the banking industry, and while ACH was available back in 1992, writing a paper check still dominated. In 1997, someone told me, “Paper checks will be obsolete by 2020.” Now here we are less than eight years away, and while I don’t believe checks will disappear completely, I don’t believe he was too far off the mark.

Remember when you bought lunch for a friend or paid his way into the movies because he “forgot” to bring his wallet? Remember hunting that person down to get the money back? Well, people may still “forget” their wallets, but no one is EVER without their phone, right?? With ACH virtually at your fingertips, those perpetually “forgetful” people can pay you back with a simple person-to-person payment service, which they can easily download as a smartphone App! Sound crazy? That’s the wonderful world of technology.

I can’t help feeling a little sad and OLD knowing that my 12-year-old nephew may never know the joy of feeling like a real grown up when he writes his first check, but I have to admit, it’s exciting to have been part of the banking evolution over the last two decades. ACH payments have tremendously changed the way we bank, and I’m eager to find out what will be next!

Find out how your business can take advantage of our ACH services.

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Debt to Income Ratio: What it is and how it helps (or hurts) your chances of getting a loan

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Debt to Income Ratio: What it is and how it helps (or hurts) your chances of getting a loan

by Jason Dieter 8. August 2012

Debt to Income RatioSo, you’re trying to line up financing for that luxury car you’ve always wanted; or that new addition on the house your wife has been “gently” reminding you of; or how about the new sports boat to take the kids water skiing every other weekend? Well, in order to make any of these things happen, most of us turn to our friendly local bank to inquire about a loan to turn our dreams into a reality. Your average banker will often tell you that yes, they finance such requests as those mentioned above. All you have to do is fill out an application, then he or she will run your credit report and take a look at your DTI. This is where you stop and think to yourself, “I know what a credit score is, but what is this DTI they are referring to?”

What it is:

DTI stands for debt to income ratio. Okay, so what is debt to income ratio? Debt to income ratio is a personal finance measurement that compares the amount of money you earn to the amount of money you owe your creditors. Banks and lenders calculate how much debt their customers can take on before they may start having financial difficulties. The banks and lenders then use these calculations to set lending amounts before approving any new debt the customer is looking to take on. Preferred maximum debt to income ratios will vary from lender to lender, but you can count on a figure somewhere between 36% and 40% as the norm maximum debt to income ratio.

How to calculate it:

To calculate debt to income ratio, first add up all the payments you make each month to service your debt. Such debt often includes your housing expense (mortgage or rent), credit card payments, car loans, and other debts such as student loans, investment loans, etc. Next, divide your total monthly debt by your gross income per month (before taxes), then multiply that number by 100 to get your debt to income ratio as a percentage.


Let's say each month your mortgage payment is $1,400, your car payment is $400 and you pay $200 on credit cards. Totaled, your monthly debt commitment is $2,000 per month.

If you make $54,000 a year, your monthly gross income is $54,000 divided by 12 months for a total of $4,500 per month.

Therefore, your debt to income ratio is $2,000 (outstanding monthly debt payments) divided by $4,500 (monthly income), which works out to about .44 (x 100) you get a 44% debt to income ratio.

In this example, a 44% debt to income ratio, by most bank standards, will be considered high; therefore, if this was your situation, you might be declined for a new loan request. In some cases, however, an approval may be granted, but that approval may come at a cost in which you would be asked to pay a higher than market interest rate for your new loan.

So there you have it - a brief insight of what your banker is referring to when he mentions your DTI ratio. It should be noted that by keeping your debt to income ratio low, you can be assured that you can financially handle the debt you have already taken on, and most likely qualify for future credit. Carefully manage that debt and before you know it, you’ll have that new car, home addition or boat you’ve always wanted!

To easily monitor your debt to income ratio, try Mariner360, our free personal management tool that allows you to aggregate all of your accounts so you can see everything in one place.

Be sure to leave a comment below to let us know if you have any further questions about debt to income ratios or if you would like to hear more about this and similar topics.

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