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Financial Management Apps

Financial Management Apps
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BY MYRA FAYE TURNER

If one of your New Year’s resolutions was to better manage your finances but you’re having trouble staying on track, perhaps you should consider using a financial management app. “There’s an app for that” has become a mantra of the age in which we live and finding an app to help with your finances is no exception. There are literally thousands of apps for you to choose from and finding one that meets your needs can be exhausting. Relax, I’ve done some of the work for you. Here’s five financial management apps you should check out.

Robinhood

When you hear the name Robinhood, you probably think of someone stealing from the rich to give to the poor. Today’s modern day Robinhood is an online stock brokerage firm where you can buy and sell zero-commissioned U.S. stocks. You will need to submit an application to open a brokerage account and once approved, you can begin trading just like big boys (and girls) on Wall Street. Currently only individual cash accounts are available and there’s no minimum amount to open an account. Robinhood only offers accounts to U.S. citizens. The app is available for both iOS and Android systems.

Qapital

Are you looking to save money for a specific cause but need a little motivation? Qapital is an app that helps you save for things you need or want— whether it’s saving for vacation, paying off a credit card or adding to your child or grandchild’s college fund. You can also save as a group while keeping accounts separate.

The app links your existing checking account as the funding source and there’s no minimum balance to open an account. What’s more, your account is interest-bearing. When you open an account you set rules that trigger when money is withdrawn from your funding source and transferred to your Qapital account. For example, you can select the guilty pleasure rule that will transfer money every time you use your debit card to buy a coffee at Starbucks. You still get to indulge, but you’re saving money as well. The round up rule tallies up your purchase to next dollar and deposits the difference into your account. You can also choose a daily, weekly or monthly amount to automatically transfer.

Once you reach your savings goal, you can cash out and the money is returned to your original funding source. The company plans to offer a Visa Debit card in the future. Currently accounts are only available in the U.S. for iOS systems.

SmartyPig

Remember the piggy banks you had as a kid? SmartyPig is a today’s electronic version of a piggy bank that allows you to deposit money for a specific goal. You’ll need to link your savings or checking account and make an initial deposit of at least $25.00. What’s interesting about SmartyPig is you can solicit donations by linking your social media accounts or directly on your website. This way your friends, family or complete strangers can add to your goal. The account is interest-bearing and you decide how often you want to fund it.

Once you reach your goal, you can choose to leave the money in your SmartyPig account. For example, let’s say you’re saving for a vacation and you reach your goal earlier than expected. You can leave the money in and it will continue to earn interest. If you’ve set up to have funds automatically withdrawn, those monies will stop once you reach your goal, but otherwise you can still continue feeding the pig.

Don’t worry, if you’re unable to continue saving, you can stop whenever you want without penalty. Once you’re ready to cash out you can simply return the money to your bank account or you can purchase gift cards and earn a little cash back in the process. SmartyPig is available in the Apple Store and Google Play.

Simple

A lot of people have turned away from brick and mortar banking to online banks. Simple is an online bank that offers users, not only a place to store their money, but a nice set of financial management tools. If you’re tired of paying monthly service fees, the good news is Simple does not charge any monthly. Accounts are available to U.S. residents only and they currently only offer individual accounts.

Simple offers a lot of useful tools for managing your money like Safe-to-Spend. How many times have you looked at your checking account balance and had to mentally figure out how much money you actually have once you subtract upcoming bill payments? Simple does the math for you. Your balance will reflect any upcoming payments, pending transactions, etc. giving you, at a glance, an accurate idea of what you have available to spend. They also offer goal setting and reports that visually show your spending habits.

Simple customers also receive a Visa Debit Card for online and in-person purchases. They accept direct deposit but unfortunately don’t issue personal checks. However, they offer a bill pay service and will mail a check to the party you specify. You can also link your account to other third party services, like PayPal, just as you would a regular checking account. The interest-bearing account runs on both iOS and Android systems. 

Mint Bills

With over 11 million users, Mint Bills is a popular option to help you manage bill payments. Brought to you by financial software giant Intuit (Quicken, TurboTax, etc.), this app monitors your bills and alerts you when payment due dates are approaching. You’ll have the option of immediately paying the bill when alerted or scheduling a payment for later. You’ll also receive other alerts, for instance, if your funds are low or if you’re approaching the limit on your credit card. It’s a convenient way to see and monitor all of your accounts in one location. This includes your bank and credit card accounts along with recurring or periodic bills. Mint assures you won’t miss a payment or have to pay late or overdraft fees. The app is available for both iOS and Android systems.

 

 

 

 

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