Having a smartphone is easy to take for granted; the ability to do anything from a mobile device (within reason), has meant that over many years, we forget just how much they have changed our daily lives. We all know the majority of people with a smartphone do not use them to their full potential, there is just not enough hours in the day to do so, but there are many innovative and helpful things you can achieve with a few taps. None more so than when it comes to your finances.
Over the years, with the big banks developing their own banking apps to the level that you can now do so much more, it’s led to many opportunities. Alongside online lenders who have raised the competition with the traditional banks, many start-ups have emerged. With the recent news that app-based bank N26 will no longer operate in the UK, could it be that there is a limit to what can be done? Well with the German mobile bank citing Brexit as a major factor as it won’t be able to operate under its European banking licence, it seems it’s not because of lacking popularity. N26 has an approximate 5 million users worldwide and is part of a number of mobile banks that are increasingly popular for people looking for alternative options.
Saving & Budgeting Apps
Alongside the growth of non-traditional banks, there has been an increasing focus on helping people save and budget their finances. Consumers want an easy way to keep track of their spending habits and there is no better way than doing so on your phone. Monzo currently has over 3.8 million accounts in use as a mobile bank. Not only do they help with managing your bank account in a clear and hassle-free way, but it can also encourage regular savings and ways to budget. With notifications easy to set up to remind you when bills need paying or when you received your salary, the app logs your spending in a way that can be easily broken down. Clear visuals with pie charts showing how much of your spend is on transport, for example, will encourage account holders to be savvier with their spending.
Apps like Plum and Moneybox are also designed to help users be much smarter with their money. Showing users how they use their money in clear and well-designed, visual ways makes a difference when taking something boring and reaffirming its importance. Plum is an example of AI–driven technology really making things easy, by analysing your bank accounts and working out what you can save each month, the app can put money aside and even help you invest in companies you’re interested in, helping to grow your money.
Finding The Best Loan Deals
The ease in which you can find lending products these days means the market is full of online lenders all willing to help you financially. Sifting through the options can be time-consuming, but fortunately, there are ways to find the loans you want in a quick manner. Comparison sites have been around for many years, providing a comparison of many different types of financial product. From looking for the best personal loans to credit cards and car insurance, it’s always made sense to compare before buying. This is made easy on mobile, whereas not so long ago you would’ve had to use a laptop or computer to do so. Dedicated apps that provide a credit on demand can be easily downloaded and will find you lending options in a matter of minutes.
Checking Your Credit Report & Score
With the rise of banking and saving apps and consumers very used to using their mobiles to run their finances, it makes sense there is a convenient way to check your credit rating. The main credit reference agencies all have their own apps to make checking your current credit score extremely easy. Experian, Equifax and TransUnion are the 3 major CRAs and can show you the details of your credit file with a simple log in. Even if you haven’t logged into them before, it’s very easy to set up on your phone. There was a time this process would take much longer just to see your own financial information. Now, because of advanced app technology and encryption, these processes are lightning quick.
Checking your credit score is an extremely useful thing to do on your mobile, as it means you can see exactly what lenders will see about you. There’s no excuse not to do so as it’s free to check your credit score. You’ll need to pay to see the finer details of what makes up your rating, but a quick snapshot is sometimes all you need before applying for further borrowing. This is one of the first things you need to do before proceeding with lending, meaning it’s a no-brainer when it comes to downloading the agencies’ relevant app.
Where cashback apps are not anything new, they are extremely handy on mobile. Many of the main websites, such as Top Cashback, have their own apps for convenience, and if you’re not using them, you’re missing out. Being able to make savings on everyday items and purchases, no matter how small they might be, can quickly add up in the long term. One of the best things about using a cashback site on your mobile is using location services. With this turned on, the app will be able to show you where you can get cashback near you. So, if you’re in a shopping centre or on the high-street, you’ll be able to see what stores around you have the best deals on cashback.
This doesn’t stop with cashback apps, with apps like Bean designed to help you track any subscription services you currently pay for. The reason it’s helpful is that it will tell you if there are better deals on the current subscriptions you’ve got, such as paying for Spotify or Netflix. Cashback and deal tracking apps help users save money in ways you wouldn’t be able to get otherwise.
Most of the major supermarkets have offered online shopping for years, but your mobile can help you compare if what you’re paying is the cheapest option. Rather than manually checking all the major players, you can use comparison sites on your phone to see if you can make savings on everyday essentials. With Amazon the most recent to expand their grocery arm of the company, the mobile technology is there to be able to use face recognition and your phone’s GPS to securely use a physical store without having to go through a check out service. This can help you manage your spend by visually seeing what you’re putting into your basket, using apps such as mySupermarket.
Even your utility bills can be reduced if you use apps that will compare and find the best offers available. Not only that, if you’re already happy with the provider you currently have, make sure you’re using their app – you can update meter readings whenever you need to, ensuring your readings and bills are as accurate as possible. No-one wants to be overcharged on their gas or electric, as it’s based on estimates without the readings. Using their dedicated app, for example, if you’re a customer of British Gas or EDF Energy, means you can easily provide regular meter readings from your mobile device. If you live in a house share for example and need to work out everyone’s split bill, you can do this easily with apps such as Splitwise that can help you track and organise bills, expenses and more.
Eating Out & Staying In
Not only can you save money on groceries for home, but your mobile can also help you save lots on dining out too. Why pay full price for a good meal when you can find yourself discounts as well as reviews of restaurants local to you or anywhere in the world? Apps such as Foursquare help you do this and pick from defined categories such as what’s trending and top picks based on if you want somewhere fun or somewhere to provide a bit of nightlife atmosphere too.
If you don’t fancy going out for a meal, or want to save money from by making the most of what you’ve got at home, there are plenty of apps available to help you do this. BigOven provides you with a simple way to use what you’ve already got in your cupboards, fridge or freezer, and find delicious ways to use those leftovers.
Parking and Travel
Another big expense for most of us is travel, whether you regularly drive or take the train. Fortunately, there are savings to be found with various apps designed to make your commute or leisure travel much cheaper. From apps that will show you the best places to park, such as Parkopedia, to train apps that will help you reduce ticket prices if you’re on a budget, such as Trainline. If you use your mobile smartly, you’ll never have to overpay for parking or travel again.
Making & Saving Money on Your Device
With the various ways that we have pointed out to save money, you’ll start to use your mobile device nearer to its full potential. It’s easy to forget just how useful having a computer in your pocket is; from applying for easy loans to ordering food, booking a cheap holiday or even making savings on your everyday essentials. The future is bright too, with the advancing technology involved with today’s smartphones and location–based services providing more and more convenience. With companies like Amazon opening stores that have no checkouts, using your mobile and Amazon account to change the way you shop, to fashion retailers implementing augmented reality (AR) technology so you can see what an outfit looks like on you using your camera.
Whatever further innovations arrive, you’ll be sure that your mobile will continue to help you save money in the long-term in every aspect of our lives. All you need to do to ensure you’re not missing out on anything is check your mobile and browse apps related to what you want to achieve. You should be able to find an app that matches your needs and provides many ways you can save money that you may have not considered before.