Personal Finance, Mobile Banking & The Virtual World

With an avid interest in technology and personal finance, I decided to explore the connection between the two. And during the research, I discovered two important aspects:

1.  People are making themselves flexible to the digital aspect of finance, such as mobile banking.

2.  People are also using digital devices to enhance the productivity of their fiscal activities. This can be seen from the emergence of personal finance management systems and smartphone banking.

I also came across a Pew Research center report, which highlighted that by July 2013, 35% of smartphone owner have opted for mobile banking. In addition, 51% of the adult population in the U.S. banks online. These are important figures from the personal finance point of view.

Banks are also adapting to the technological advancement, as I routinely get updates from my personal bank after downloading their native app. It’s usual for me to receive texts related to promotions, account balance, recent transactions etc. A Federal Reserve study backs this change by pointing out 87% of mobile users are opting for mobile banking to be aware of their balance and transactions.

What I Found

It is pretty easy to get confused with so many services being offered. However, I was able to find some significant trends.

First of all, there is a lot more to mobile banking than the mere account checking. Apart from day to day updates, mobile banking benefits also include intelligent analysis on your banking habits and personal finance. This means that you can also monitor personal investments with real time data updates. Such services help in adding intelligence to personal finance. And with mobile banking apps, transactions can be made within few seconds.

Using my personal bank application has added a lot of responsibility to the way I manage my payments. My transactions are organized and every now and then, I receive new incentives from the bank. I also combine the use of the native app with other personal finance tools to streamline all financial activity.

Virtual tools Have A Role

From a personal point of view, virtual tools are really useful. I’ll brief you on how they can be used by anyone (if a noob like me did it, so can you). I’ll also give examples of tools that I have used and found useful.

I’ll start off with Mint, which is an excellent example in this regard of managing financial data and organization of spending habits. Mint is pretty similar to Facebook with the obvious difference being that Mint handles my financial life instead of my social one.

Moreover, online tax preparation tools have worked well for me. These save you the trouble of erroneous or haphazard filing. One innovation of my own is that the mobile banking app can be used in combination with the various personal finance management tools. The data becomes integrated and you can do multiple tasks simultaneously.

Other Examples

Instead of opting for a one stop solution, you can explore multiple options to enhance the productivity of your personal finance activities.

For instance, Check.me targets payments and budgeting. It helps you to be on top of your payments and keep everything digitized. By sending timely reminders, it keeps you from falling behind in your payments. When it comes to personal finance, there is a lot to monitor. Check.me can work simultaneously with your mobile banking app to manage savings, retirement and credit card accounts.

Another worthwhile addition to the virtual tools for personal finance is Doxo. It is different in the sense that it targets household expenses. So while one tool would focus on your bill payments, this would manage household payments. This is an excellent example of integration. It can be treated as an online filing cabinet. Data from your mobile banking app, utility provider, cable provider etc. is arranged and can be accessed immediately.

One thing that should be clear by now is that while the virtual world is aiding personal finance, there is also a need for a method of use.

A number of people recommend me certain tools but I have found that only ‘I’ can make the right choice since only I know my finances better. Like, with the example of a banking app, Check.me and Doxo can be used in combination to form a personal finance ‘suite’.

Security Viewpoint

Now that I have explained my personal experience with these tools, I would cap it off with some security advice. Whatever tool you use, just check if they are approved for security.

The systems that I have mentioned above use verified security by providers such as TRUSTe, VeriSign, MacAfee, etc. So, if you opt for one of your choice, apply the same indicators on them too.

Evolving to the virtual aspect of finance makes sense for a number of reasons. However, instead of simply jumping the bandwagon, educate yourself and make intelligent decisions.

One Response to Personal Finance, Mobile Banking & The Virtual World

  1. I love mobile banking and financial tools/apps! But most people I know in my parents’ generation won’t touch them. While I still have a traditional bank, I pay all my bills through an online bank, I have an online savings, and my IRA is through Betterment. I use Personal Capital instead of Mint, but it’s the same idea. And I prepare my taxes using an online program — and I used to be a tax accountant!

    I have yet to feel like my information was not secure. I will continue to use online banking and financial programs because they are so freaking easy to use!

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