Texting, social media, games, photography, shopping — there’s not much we don’t do on our phones these days, and that includes personal finance.
Online banking, retail payments and even taking out a loan have become routine exercises in mobile technology.
And while sometimes this technology enables our bad financial habits, it can also help us understand those habits. Through personal finance apps, we can now track, analyze and find ways to improve our financial behavior.
Which finance app(s) should you use? There’s no shortage of them but some may be more useful to you than others, depending on what the app does and how you use it. Have a clear idea of what you want out of any financial apps you install. For example, think about whether you’re willing to pay for the app’s services or if you only want to use free apps. It’s a good idea to do some homework while you decide what to use.
Do Your Research before You Pick
Reading the fine print can be a tedious task but it is there to protect you. There might be unexpected fees or disclaimers that work against you which aren’t as visible or easily recognizable as other features in the app. Test out the app’s customer service; if there’s a lack of communication options or it’s difficult to find someone to interact with, consider how this will affect you should any disputes arise. These apps will have access to your finances. You need to make sure they’re trustworthy and reliable.
Pick Your Purpose
What will this app do to help with your finances? Income, savings, spending, investing and many other parts of your finances may vary greatly from other users. Some personal finance apps may work great for some people — and purpose s— but not for others. Here are few of the ways these kinds of apps could help you:
- Managing and paying bills
- Keeping track of spending
- Uncovering bad (and good) financial habits
- Creating a budget
- Sharing a budget within a household
- Making a plan for savings
- Paying off debt
- Wealth management for assets and investments
- Tracking your credit score
You may not be able to find a single app to serve every purpose. You might not want or need all of these features anyway. Prioritize what you want most. If you know where you want the most help with your finances, it’ll be clearer which apps will be most helpful.
Integrating the App into Your Finances
You will need to grant access to your financial accounts for the app to serve its purposes. It may take some time before the app and your accounts are fully integrated. Remember that you don’t necessarily have to give the app access to every single account you have.
You might also have misgivings about granting outside access to your finances. Your money is critical to your life. Limiting the app’s access to a spending account that’s separate from your main checking or savings might help you feel more secure. Speaking to friends and family who have the app could be another way to assuage your anxieties as well as a crash course on how to use it.
Hopefully, you will have found useful tools to help reach your financial goals. Learn more about feeling in control of your finances.