Smartphones have made money management significantly easier since the days of using paper bank statements to balance checkbooks. Today’s bank customers can complete almost any task (except withdrawing cash) with just a few clicks or swipes, eliminating the complexity of money management and the hassle of having to drive to a brick-and-mortar location. Check out these five ways money management has become easier now that almost everything can be done with an app.
Balancing a Checkbook Is Much Easier
When we were growing up, parents always talked to their kids about the importance of a balanced checkbook. Any time you made a withdrawal, wrote a check, or deposited money, you were supposed to record the transaction and what your new balance would be. At the end of the month, banks would mail statements so you could make your numbers correspond with theirs. For some, this was a complex and delicate task that was easy to mess up — the cause of much frustration.
Today, customers can check their bank balances immediately online, and even filter between withdrawals and deposits. A scanned image of a check is saved, so customers can see exactly what they wrote a check for and when. Now, balancing a checkbook is significantly easier because all of the information is recorded in one place and is available at any time.
Online Banking Means Instant Deposits and Transfers
Before the rise of smartphones, depositing a check (especially a Friday paycheck) meant rushing to the bank before it closed or placing the deposit in the drop box outside and hoping you filled out your deposit slip correctly. Today, you can deposit a check within minutes of receiving it by simply taking a picture of it.
Apps like PayPal and Venmo have greatly increased the speed with which we transfer money. If someone pays for concert tickets or books a hotel with a group of friends, the friends can send payment for their shares instantly. No longer do people have to wait to receive a check or handle a large pile of cash, as the money they’re owed instantly lands in their account, which can then be transferred to their bank or credit card.
Personal Finance Apps Put Spending Under a Microscope
Managing your daily expenses has become significantly easier with smartphone technology. Sure, people reviewed their credit card statements when they came in the mail, but few were likely to record exactly how many lattes they ordered over the course of a month — especially if they had multiple credit cards that they used interchangeably.
Fortunately, apps like Mint monitor all of your cards and accounts so you can track your spending. They allow you to set limits for how much you spend each month, and are painfully honest when you exceed them. At the very least, this provides clarity in understanding where your money goes. At best, it helps you identify wasteful spending.
Running a Business Is Much Easier
Smartphones have also made things much easier for business owners and organizations. Instead of learning complex cash registers and training staff on POS systems, many companies simply invest in Square technology paired with a high-quality smartphone. Some phones, like Samsung’s Galaxy S7, are almost as big as tablets, which means that customers can easily sign invoices, check their orders, pay, and leave a tip. Without smartphone technology, running some home businesses would be much more difficult.
Anyone Can Be an Investor
People are often told that they should invest in stocks or bonds as they get older, but few understand the process of investing and how they can balance their portfolios to minimize risk. Furthermore, most people don’t know how much they can afford to invest. All of this has changed with online investing. Not only do people have more information about investing at their fingertips, but an app like Acorns allows people to put just a few dollars at a time into the stock market. Instead of buying a $5 latte, transfer that money to the app, and suddenly you’re an investor.
Technology aids money management by increasing transparency. You don’t have to be a financial genius to make smart buying decisions as long as you have the right apps.