Last week, I went to the biannual Schwab Advisor Solutions conference and it motivated me to write about some of Schwab’s tools that our clients may be missing out on. I pulled up our most recent technology adoption scorecard which gives us some very informative statistics on how many of our clients use Schwab’s online tools. Currently, 61% of our clients have credentials and have accessed Schwab’s secure client website, SchwabAlliance.com. That’s not too bad seeing that the benchmark is 54%. Only 15.58% of our clients have accessed Schwab’s mobile app, still ahead of the benchmark which is 9.8%. I have Schwab accounts just like our clients and wanted to share some of the tools that are particularly helpful to me, starting with the Schwab Mobile App.
Schwab has a mobile app available for download from the App Store or Google Play. Once downloaded, you can log in using your Schwab Alliance credentials. If you have not set up online access for Schwab Alliance, you’ll need to do this first. Just reach out to me and I’ll send an email with a link and easy to follow instructions. The app feature I use most is check deposit. I just take a picture of both sides of the check, and with a click, it’s deposited. As a side note, it’s very likely that your bank also has a mobile app with the same feature and it sure is convenient! I also use the app to request MoneyLink transfers using my instructions on file. In case you aren’t familiar with it, MoneyLink is a feature you can set up to transfer funds between Schwab and your checking account. Of course, the mobile app is also a convenient way to check account balances with one click on your phone or tablet.
For clients who use wire transfers, online approval is by far the preferred method from Schwab’s standpoint to request wires and therefore it’s the quickest path to approval on their end. At the conference last week, I also learned that they’ll be adding check and journal request approvals to the website and app soon as well. Most of our clients use MoneyLink in lieu of wire transfers since it’s a way to avoid the $25 wire fee, but the check and journal request online approval capability that is coming soon will be very convenient for our clients. I know many of you are familiar with Schwab’s current required forms for journals between accounts that aren’t identically registered. The need for printing, signing and returning a form for such transfers will soon go away.
I’d like to shift gears a little to talk about Schwab’s eSignature tools. Schwab now has eSignable versions of several of their forms from account applications to beneficiary change forms. If you need to make a change to your account or add a feature and an eSignable version is available for that form, I can send you a secure envelope. You’ll receive an email and be prompted to log into Schwab Alliance. In the document, I can tag each field that requires your attention making it easy for you to complete. You can choose from one of the pre-made signatures from the options provided. You are also able keep track of pending approvals using the Schwab Alliance Message Center.
I know some of you are hesitant to engage in online activity due to cybersecurity, and a healthy sense of fear in this category is not a bad thing. However, Schwab works diligently to keep client personal and financial information safe and provides several levels of protection. In the unlikely event of a breach in security, they also offer the following Schwab Security Guarantee: “Schwab will cover 100% of any losses in any of your Schwab accounts due to unauthorized activity.”
It’s important that you do your part in protecting yourself as well. Here are some things you can do and these tips apply to all online use, not just Schwab:
- Routinely check monthly statements
- Clean out your inbox and permanently delete any exchanges that have personal info in them
- Keep your web browser and operating system updated
- Be cautious with public networks. Pay attention to security warnings that pop up and don’t accept software updates when connected to public Wi-Fi
- Be strategic with login credentials and passwords. Avoid using personal info such as your birthday. Recent studies show that phrases are harder to hack, so think passphrase instead of password. An example would be a line from your favorite book
I know it can be challenging to balance protection from identity theft and the convenience of online access, but with the right safeguards in place, you can have both. I don’t hesitate to recommend Schwab’s mobile app and eSignature features to our clients because I know how compliance-focused Charles Schwab Inc. is and know that they have the most cutting-edge security measures in place. If you’d like to learn more about Schwab’s tools or sign up for online access through Schwab Alliance, please contact me. Also, Schwab has a website specifically for clients to read and watch videos on the tools available. Please click the following link to see more: https://content.schwab.com/learningcenter/.