Personal Finance Interview with Claire Tak on Managing Your Bank

Established at the height of the financial crisis in 2008, MyBankTracker has aimed to become a transparent source of consumer banking information with a mission to empower consumers with the information to make the best financial decisions for themselves.

We thought it would be great to chat with Claire Tak from MyBankTracker and learn more about managing and tracking debt.

What is the number one thing you say to people when it comes to managing debt and managing their banks?

Take your time to review your entire financial situation before making a decision. Hasty money moves will often hurt your finances.

How do you encourage people to manage their personal finances better?

By sharing minor habit-forming money tips that capture people's interest, we can get them to care more about how they manage their money. Advice such as automatic savings transfers or smarter ways to use their credit cards can be a stepping stone to more sophisticated financial moves that can ultimately lead them to be more invested in their financial well-being. 

How do tools like help people to do this?

The key benefit of personal financial management tools like is the ability to see the activity of all financial accounts in one place. Usually, you'd have to log into every single financial account. The tools make it so that you log in to see all of your financial accounts at once. The easier it is to see your entire financial situation, the more likely you are to take steps to improve it.

Do you feel it's easier to manage our finances these days with the tools that are available to us?

Such tools offer more than just a way for us to see our finances in one place. With features such as budget-setting, reminders and trend reports, we're encouraged to take an active approach to improve our finances.  

How do you think apps and technology are changing - and will change - banking? What do you think the future looks like?

With the help of technology, banking is moving more into the digital realm with less and less dependence on physical branches. We're already seeing the transition today. 

Many of the biggest banks are opening smaller branches with staff that walk around assisting customers via mobile devices. ATMs allow video-conferencing with off-site bank tellers. Meanwhile, bank customers are able to pay bills and deposit checks through their smartphones. Mobile devices are also looking to replace consumers' wallets and to act as payment methods.

Essentially, retail banking is likely to consist of much less physical clutter.

What do you think banks ought to be doing to help people manage their debt properly?

Banks should provide tools that keep borrowers up-to-date with their loans and help them to understand the benefits of managing their debt responsibly. For example, Chase offers its Blueprint program that encourages credit card customers to stay on top of their spending and repayments.

What are the top three questions people ask you again and again?

  • I have a little extra money I can put towards savings or repaying debt. Which one should I choose?
  • How many credit cards should I have?
  • What should I invest in?

What is the main reason, you think, why people get into unnecessary debt? What is unnecessary debt?

Unnecessary debt is usually the kind of debt that is incurred as the result of impulsive or misinformed decisions. More often than not, this debt is high in interest and it creates a long-term financial burden.

Common examples include signing up for store credit cards, buying a home without doing research, or getting a payday loan to pay for a discretionary expense.

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