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How to Set Up and Make the Most of Online Banking

There’s more to online banking than you might think! We’ll show you how to set it up and uncover some lesser-known capabilities of digital and mobile banking to help you manage your money like a pro — such as voice banking, setting up a budget and viewing your balances with the tap of a finger.

We do everything online, from dating and paying bills to shopping for the perfect baby shower gift. Why should banking be any different? Thanks to the rise of online and mobile banking, you can manage your money digitally without ever leaving your comfy couch. No need to put Netflix on pause.

Follow these 10 easy steps to get set up in online banking:

  1. Visit your credit union or bank website.
  2. Click the online banking sign up link (sometimes labeled “enroll” or “set up”).
  3. Read and sign any disclosures.
  4. Provide information to confirm your identity.
  5. Choose a username.
  6. Choose to receive your temporary password by email or text.
  7. Enter the temporary password to authenticate your identity.
  8. Create a new password and confirm it.
  9. Confirm your contact information.
  10. Get started with online banking!

You might be surprised to learn that credit union technologies are just as good, or better, than many of the traditional banking apps out there. Beyond just checking balances, transferring money and reviewing transactions, here are some unique things you can do with Desert Financial’s online and mobile banking:

View Your Balance Quickly

Sometimes you just want to quickly see your checking and savings account balances at a glance. No pulling up your password vault or validating your identity by clicking the squares with traffic lights (does a train signal count as a traffic light???). After you download Desert Financial’s mobile app and sign in once, your balances will show immediately every time you open the app! A login is only required for other transactions like transferring money and paying bills.

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Set up Voice Banking (Yes, it’s Real!)

Imagine you are elbow-deep in painting your bedroom or trying out a new dessert recipe when you suddenly remember you need to transfer money. No need to wait till later! If you have Alexa or Google Assistant, you can set up Voice Banking and check balances, transfer money between accounts, and more with just a few words.

“Alexa, open Desert Financial and make a transfer.”

“Hey, Google, ask Desert Financial for my savings balance.”

Desert Financial was one of the first Arizona credit unions to offer voice banking! This feature comes in handy when you’re lounging in the pool and have a smartphone or Echo Dot nearby. It’s also great if you’ve been working all day and your carpal tunnel is acting up.

Pay Your Bills

No one likes paying bills. It’s a lot more enjoyable when you don’t have to think about them — which, for most people, means setting up automatic payments. Desert Financial’s online banking system allows account holders to set up one-time or recurring payments for utilities, credit cards, insurance, school, and much more. All you need to do is log in to Online Banking, click Bill Pay, enter the company name and account details and choose whether to make a single payment or set up Autopay. We’ll even send monthly reminders to the Payment Center in your account.

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Tip: Setting up automatic credit card or loan payments from your checking or savings account is a great way to help pay down your debt faster!

Make Person-to-Person Payments

You can also make peer-to-peer (P2P) payments inside Desert Financial’s Online Banking. To do that, follow the directions for Bill Pay above and add a person’s name, rather than a company. If the person you’re sending money to is a Desert Financial member, you can transfer funds directly into their account by choosing Transfer and Classic. Click on “Transfer to another Desert Financial Credit Union member” and enter the recipient’s information. Outside of Online Banking, you can easily add your Desert Financial debit card to a payment app like Venmo or Zelle to make P2P payments.

Apply for New Accounts or Loans

When you need a new bank account or loan, you don’t have to visit a branch. Some credit unions, including Desert Financial, have an online account opening system that allows you to apply virtually, without leaving home! To apply for a new Desert Financial account, click the Open an Account button on our homepage. You’ll be taken to an application page where you’ll enter your name, address and other identifying information. Have the following information handy:

  • Driver’s License or Government Issued ID
  • Social Security Number
  • Phone Number and Email Address
  • Date of Birth

Once you complete and submit your application, we will send you confirmation of your new account by email, along with a series of onboarding guides to help you get started.

Loan applications are also accepted online. To fill out a loan application, navigate to the product page on the Desert Financial website (for example, Auto Loan or Mortgage), click the Apply Now button and complete the required application materials. If supporting materials like pay stubs or tax returns are required, you may either upload them or a representative will contact you to obtain copies.

Already a Desert Financial member? You can open a new account or apply for a loan inside Online Banking or through the Desert Financial mobile app.

Make a Budget

Some people love their Excel spreadsheets, while others would rather use a journal or budgeting app to track their monthly expenses. But here’s a little-known secret: Some online banking programs have a built-in budget feature! Desert Financial members have access to a budget-building tool under the More menu item in Online Banking. Simply choose the account or accounts you’ll be making payments to and from, enter your monthly income amounts and choose the categories you wish to budget for (utilities, rent, entertainment, etc.). Once a budget is created, you can map transactions to each item on your budget as they happen! A Budget Tracker graph on your Dashboard will map your progress!

Track Your Savings Goals

One of the major differences between a credit union and a bank is that credit unions are focused on helping you achieve your financial goals — no matter what they are. We’re also big on encouraging smart money decisions, like saving up for a big purchase first instead of putting it all on credit now. Have a Desert Financial account? Click on Savings Goals (also under More in Online Banking), hit the New Goal button, and enter a dollar amount and a date you’re aiming for.

About 40% of the population prefers to do their banking online, according to the American Bankers Association,1 with another 26% choosing a mobile app as their top banking option. Whether you’re an online banking pro or you’ve recently left the in-person banking nest, there’s more to digital money management than you think. With Desert Financial’s Online Banking and mobile app at your fingertips, you can control your cash wherever and whenever you want!

Bank with a Click, Tap and Scroll

At Desert Financial, we love seeing members in person! We also want to make your banking fast, easy and convenient with online and mobile banking. Learn how to harness the latest online and mobile banking tools to manage your money better.


The material presented here is for educational purposes only, and is not intended to be used as financial, investment, or legal advice.