We’ve all been in awkward situations where we get home to a credit card bill or bank statement and realise we’ve been a little too relaxed in terms of our personal finances for the past month.
This is perfectly understandable – it’s so easy to forget to be as disciplined as you might have intended after one a large purchase, for example.
However, making simple financial management much more convenient and accessible is one of the many advantages offered by the smartphone – so all of these issues can easily be made a thing of the past.
Smartphones are fast taking the place of desktop computers for many people, so setting yourself notifications for when your balance drops below a certain point or when a bill is due is a straightforward task.
With this in mind, we’ve come up with a few must-haves to improve your money management on the go.
Most banks have their own custom-designed app for iOS and Android. They typically provide a very comprehensive banking experience, enabling you to transfer money between accounts or make a single payment to one of your contacts.
The ability to check how much money you have available before committing to a big purchase can make it so much easier to make sure you are sticking within your budget.
Is mobile banking safe?
The majority of banking apps do not store your financial details on the phone itself, but instead simply access it from a secure data centre.
As this is only accessible by typing in a Pin code, your mobile will not hold any information that can compromise your bank account in the event of it getting lost or stolen.
Making your phone secure
Although mobile banking is generally secure, it is still a good idea to take precautions to be extra safe.
It should go without saying – but only download apps directly from the bank itself. The apps are free to use and you can rest assured you are using the correct software, whereas downloading from a third party is much riskier. You could even run the risk of exposing yourself to fraud. Any free security software provided by the bank can be downloaded as well.
Paying for goods
Another convenience offered by the smartphone is the ability to pay for goods themselves. Apple Pay has already been launched in the UK – and Android Pay is just around the corner, with various competing alternatives bound to follow in their wake.
This is being rapidly embraced by many high street stores and allows users to load their Visa and MasterCard credit or debit card details onto their smartphone. Payments can then be made directly from the devices with a near-field communication microchip.
Smartphones also make online shopping so much easier – as you can easily order something from online stores such as Amazon or eBay whenever you like. This is also a great way of ensuring you are getting the best price for an item by doing a quick price comparison on anything you are thinking of buying in a brick and mortar store.
Never get caught out without cash for a taxi
If you need to get home but you don’t have any cash for a taxi, taxi-hailing apps and services like Uber can be a godsend.
A simple tap of the screen on the relevant app can have a driver sent directly to your location. Combined with cashless payments, getting around is easier than it has ever been – and without the need for making sure you have the correct small change.