The Dirty Remants of your Digital Footprint

digital printLast month, Google announced the provision for an inactive account manager. This offers a reasonable solution to the standard online user agreements that only allow one user and lock your account after inactivity. Bravo to Google who is the first to address this under-served need.

This is a larger issue for all of us and I will guess you may not have realized how this impacts your day-to-day life. It’s one of the biggest pain points my clients have faced when a loved one is incapacitated — if even only temporarily. But on a daily basis I speak with individuals who were unaware of how those user agreements might impact your digital account access.

Most couples are totally unaware that the two log-ins you use to access your joint bank account are really two separate accounts. For instance, did you know that any bill pay items set up under your username are not available or viewable to the person you share the account with?  This can create big headaches for families if there is a temporary crisis and you don’t know what electronic bills are already scheduled.

The proliferation of online accounts and a way to share or transfer these digital assets should be a growing concern to all bloggers and active online users. I previously posted a story on Who Controls your Digital Legacy from The New York Times. This story highlights the loss family members feel when they are locked out of a loved ones online life and how most of the user agreements you accepted have no solution for managing this issue.  Google is the first to set up a solution for the transfer of the information if the user chooses after inactivity.

In short, most “user agreements” only allow you to use the account you have created and your rights to that account are gone when you are unable to access them. I have faced the frustration that this limited user agreement offers and hope you will consider:

  1. Sharing usernames and passcodes to joint financial accounts. My husband and I share one online access account so we can both see the same information and bill payments. 
  2. Writing down and telling someone where you have put the information for your primary online accounts. This will allow your loved ones to easily manage a password reset to get into the account if needed.
  3. Noting which accounts are linked to credit cards. Last month, I left my business credit card at a restaurant and it was destroyed. When I got my new card, I could easily update my online accounts that used this card to pay for services without any interruption.

The Internet and mobile services we now have deliver many conveniences — however, it’s also created tentacles to our lives digitally that most are struggling to manage for themselves.

If you need any help in getting this information organized, consider getting the MemoryBanc Register which prompts you though the collection of this key information. If you would like to pull this together yourself, you can also download a free guide to help you collect the key information and accounts from our home page. Prepared.


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