With the mobile revolution in full-swing, it’s easy to see why apps have become increasingly popular. In the palm of our hands, we can have a device that texts friends and family, updates our social media channels, read our favorite book, schedule a meeting, and manage our finances.
While that’s a great problem to have, some of us just don’t have the time to review the hundreds of money management apps that are available. So, to make the process run more smoothly, here are the five questions that you should ask when looking for a money management app.
What are my goals?
There is no one-size-fits-all money management app. While most of the apps do offer similar features, such as online banking and budgeting, they vary from app to app. For example, the traditional YNAB app is ideal for creating and sticking to a budget, while Personal Capital focuses primarily on investments.
Before settling on an app, list the goals that you want to accomplish with the app. If you’re looking for a household budgeting app so that you can afford groceries, then something like YNAB or Mint would be more favorable than an app that helps you save for a vacation or retirement. In the case of saving for a vacation, retirement, or a large purchase, apps like Simple or Unsplurge would be a better decision.
What features are available?
While each app is different, they should include the following functions:
- Banking where you can pay bills electronically, deposit checks, set-up automatic payments, transfer funds, and reconcile account balances.
- Budgeting where you can set spending limits and manage your cash flow.
- Planning that allows you to monitor and pay down debt, estimate major life expenses, and forecast your retirement/saving needs.
- Investing so that you can receive stock quotes and track your portfolios.
- Reports so that you can review your finances.
- Taxes where you can set-up your own tax categories so that you can prepare your return to generate a report on tax deductions and estimated taxes that you’ll owe.
- Provides your credit score so that you can improve it to take a loan or line of credit if needed. This is especially important if you’re planning on purchasing a home or starting your own business.
If your app contains these features, it makes your life easier since all of your financial information is one dashboard instead of spread-out across multiple apps.
Is the app compatible with my mobile device?
Most money management apps, like Mint, Pocket Guard, YNAB, and Level Money are compatible with both iOS and Android devices. However, that doesn’t mean that all of these apps are compatible with your mobile device. For instance, Unsplurge is only available for the iPhone and iPad.
How much does it cost?
The good news is that a majority of money management apps are free to download and use. But, be careful. Some of them will charge you fees. YNAB costs $5 a month. And, some apps, such as Spendee, may be free but offers a “pro” version for $1.99/month if you want access to all of the features.
How secure is my information?
With all of the security breaches happening, your security should be a top concern. Especially when providing and sharing financial information anywhere — whether it be with an online business or an app.
Before downloading an app, make sure that it’s reputable and trustworthy by reading online reviews and doing research on the security measures that they offer. Wally is a promising personal finance app since it doesn’t’ link to your bank account.
Compare your options.
After answering the questions listed above, start comparing the ebank apps that fit your needs the best, work on your device, and will keep your information secure.
Bear in mind though that just because an app is accessible either online or among your peers doesn’t mean it’s the right fit for you. Take Mint, for example. It’s one of the most popular, and useful, apps to manage your money.
However, if you’re looking for a solution to help you run both your household and small business finances, it’s not the best option. In that case, you would want to shop around for an app that can manage your personal and professional finances.