Smartphone apps

Finance apps and our credit culture

Put your money where your mouth is, by using your phone for your banking. All puns aside though, finance apps are everywhere now and if you haven’t got one yet then you might be missing out…

Note that we say might, because in spite of being a tech magazine we do recognise that not all technology is actually worth investing in. Sometimes technology can be too clever by half and more of a hindrance than a help. One of the classic arguments against smart phones for example is that we end up wasting time on them, particularly on mini games and social media, which could otherwise be spent doing something productive. This is rather ironic when the whole idea of them in the first place is to free up time!  So what about these finance apps then? …Yay or nay?

Well let’s kick off with one of the apps that’s getting people talking at the moment, which goes by the simple name Mint. Quite why people are talking about this one now isn’t entirely clear as it’s been around for some years already, but in essence it’s a kind of PA as what it does, basically, is it gets you organised. Instead of having to move from one thing to another, you can get the full picture of what’s going on in one place. It’s like standing up on a mountain to survey the township, rather than trying to work out what’s situated where whilst scurrying about in the little alleyways.

It might not sound like much, and if you haven’t tried it or seen anyone else using it then it’s understandable if you’re underwhelmed. But the thing is that it makes sense in today’s culture because we do so much of our financial transacting using credit. A lot of people don’t even carry cash now and the prospect of showing up somewhere and actually paying for something fully in one fell swoop is so rare as to make one feel like some dodgy oligarch. What we all like now are finance plans involving staggered or deferred payments.

It’s not just cars or houses either as you can even buy things like beds on finance now too with these online shops. So of course, when you end up with all these different payment plans in your life you need someone, or something, to help you keep on top of it all.

Now if you’re really serious about managing your money then Mint might be a little basic. There are plenty of other similar apps out there but for a really advanced package you might like to look at an app such as Wealthfront. (You see how even the name makes you feel more in control of your funds?)

This one is really a tool to help you manage a portfolio, so it’s very much a toy for the big boys; but it’s worth reading up on if you’re already into stocks and shares or thinking about getting started with it all. Check out the blurb here and see if you can’t just make a milli.

Photograph by Mohi Syed