In 2018 it’s fair to say that finance – broadly speaking – has become one of the most important categories in mobile apps. There are apps that help us with everything from managing budgets to conducting bank transfers, and everything in between. In fact the only trouble may be that there are too many such apps! In any sub-category of finance – budgeting, investing, payments, banking, etc. – you can find several options if not dozens of them. Because of this, I wanted to put forward a few tips for how to choose the right apps and turn your phone into a powerful ally in managing your personal finances.
Download A Banking App
Before you look into any other financial apps, you should take a look at the one operated by your primary, real-world bank. Bank and credit card apps are getting pretty good these days, with smooth interfaces, intuitive functionality, and a range of services from checking balances to digitally depositing checks. This doesn’t mean that all banking apps are good, and if yours happens to have a poor reputation you may want to give it a pass. However, this should still be your priority in any other case. If you don’t have your primary bank’s app already, you’ll almost certainly enjoy having it.
Judge Payment Processors By Where They’re Used
If you want an app or two on hand for making easy and secure digital money transfers, you can sometimes judge them best by where they’re used and who they’re partnered with. For instance, Square’s increasingly popular Cash App is being used for direct deposits now, meaning employers are trusting it (rather than just retail sites or networks of peers). PayPal, in addition to being accepted at a huge range of stores, is being put to use in gaming online, which implies millions of gamers and gaming companies around the world trust its security. These are a few things to look for, not to trust blindly, but to give you an indication of the most trusted and proven payment processors.
Judge Budgeting Apps By Sampling
Budgeting is another major category of personal finance apps. Programs like Mint, PocketGuard, Prism, and more can help you to keep track of your accounts, keep an eye on your bills, and recognize what you can responsibly spend and when. Unlike payment processors however, these apps – for the most part – don’t actually handle your money. That means trial and error comes with little to no risk, and usage comes down to personal preference. It’s a little bit of work, but it can also be a fun process. Just download a few different competitors and see which one you like using for your own financial needs.
Be Realistic With Investment Apps
Another aspect of personal finance that’s increasingly available via mobile app is investment. There are now a number of apps designed specifically to let people invest in different markets, in different formats, for low fees or in some cases none at all. It’s all wonderful, and extremely available – but it’s still important to be realistic about all of this. You still need to learn how to maximize savings via the more conservative apps, and study up on investment strategies for the ones in which you can take bolder risks. In other words, keep in mind that just because an app is easy to use, and it makes the markets more accessible, doesn’t mean that it makes investing any easier or automatically profitable.
Cryptocurrency Isn’t Personal Finance
Last but not least, remember that cryptocurrency is essentially a brand new tech commodity – not a normal element of a personal financial strategy. Like investment apps, cryptocurrency exchanges and wallets are among the trendier money-related apps, and it can be tempting to think they should be part of your financial plan. Really though, you should treat them as their own branch of a broader investment strategy, rather than as something unto themselves. Getting too involved with cryptocurrency, unless you’re very fortunate, is unnecessarily risky at this point.