4 Personal Finance Apps to Keep Your Finances in CheckMay 5, 2017
In today’s tech-savvy environment, it doesn’t take much effort to find that there is an app for everything. Whether you want to edit a photo to post on Instagram, read a book from your phone, or track your food intake and workouts, there are so many tasks you can accomplish with just a few taps on your smartphone. From simply checking the day’s weather or how many steps you have taken, apps help make everyday life a little bit easier – and personal finance apps are no different.
If you are an avid smartphone user who loves to download life-simplifying apps, you may have noticed that your experience with banking and money is getting significantly easier. Instead of driving to your nearest bank to deposit a check, you can now do so from your phone in a matter of minutes. Checking your balance and transferring funds from your checking account to your savings account (or vice versa) are simpler than ever. But did you know there are apps that help you stick to your budget, remember to pay your bills, and invest your money as well? Read on for four personal finance apps that could help make your life easier:
Best For: Budgeting
Developed by the makers of TurboTax®, Mint is an all-inclusive personal finance app that allows you to keep track of your spending, stay on budget, and manage your bills. To get started with Mint, you simply log into your bank and credit card accounts through the app. It is important to note that although you are granting Mint access to your financial accounts, the app does not have the authority or ability to move your money — it can only read information. From there, the app analyzes your spending habits and tracks financial transactions from the previous few months. One unique thing about Mint is that it allows you to get a big-picture view of your finances all in one place: you can see your account balances, how you are doing with your monthly budget when your bills are due, and even your credit score.
One of the best parts of the app is the budgeting feature. If you already have a written budget that works for you, you can input it into the app. If you do not, you can create one based on your spending records from previous months in each category. Once your budget is established, Mint tracks your spending with every purchase and assigns it to a category, allowing you to see how you are doing with your budget in real-time. Mint also offers bill tracking. Simply create bill reminders in the app, and it will send you a reminder a few days before your bill is due.
- Personal Capital
Best For: Investing
Personal Capital links to your accounts to give you a 360-degree view of your financial situation. Like Mint, it allows you to view your account balances and transaction history, and create a budget. However, the app’s main focus is on investments. It links to thousands of financial data sources, from Fidelity, Schwab, and Wells Fargo to local and regional credit unions, and allows you to see how the market is doing and how it is affecting your assets. It also helps bring you a step closer to achieving your investing goals by comparing your portfolio to major market benchmarks.
The app comes with personalized investment advice specific to your financial situation and needs from licensed financial advisors. With the built-in investment intelligence feature, you can determine opportunities for diversification, minimize risk, and pinpoint hidden fees. Personal Capital can also aid with tracking your financial goals, such as purchasing or remodeling a home or saving for college. It can even provide a retirement plan tailored to you from your financial data.
- Prosper Daily
Best For: Fraud Protection
Prosper Daily, formerly known as BillGuard, allows you to optimize your personal finances by tracking your credit score, showing all of your account information in one place, and keeping track of your spending by category to promote smarter budgeting. However, the app’s primary purpose is to protect you from fraud and identity theft. The geo protection feature gives you real-time alerts to unauthorized charges and alerts you when your card is used away from your location that could be potentially fraudulent.
Every time you log into the app, it shows you a list of all recent transactions on your accounts and allows you to either approve them or flag them as suspicious with one click. Every time you verify or flag a charge, the app learns and improves.
Price: Free (monthly fees may apply)
Best For: Investing
Overall, millennials are notoriously conservative with investing. The main purpose of the Acorns app is to make it easier for people to invest money little by little. The app works by taking “round-ups” to the nearest dollar — for example, the extra $0.27 from your $4.73 coffee purchase — and investing it in a diversified portfolio. There is also a second way to invest with the Acorns app — you can opt to make a lump sum or recurring deposit each month.
After linking your accounts and credit cards to the app, you will be asked a series of questions to help give you the right portfolio recommendations for you. In Acorns, you do not select individual stocks to invest in — you choose risk profiles (aggressive, moderate, etc.). One cool feature of the app is that it can estimate the amount of money you could make by a certain age based on how much you decide to invest per month. You can use the app to view how your account is doing at any given time, and review performance over certain time periods like one day, one month, six months, one year, and all time.
Add Personal Finance Apps to Your List
The average smartphone user accesses almost 27 apps per month. If you frequently use apps to make your life easier, why not add a few personal finance apps to your phone? The more you keep up with your finances, the more aware of them you will be. There are apps for sticking to your budget, tracking your credit score, investing, fraud protection, and more, and these are just a few of the many personal finance apps out there.
Education Loan Finance is not compensated for mentioning the financial apps or services included in this article and makes no guarantees for the services or content contained on external sites.