Q and A Session: Connecting Your Money and Your Smartphone

15 years ago you wouldn’t have considered linking your cellphone (if you even had one!) to your financial institution, yet now the convenience of staying connected to your finances through mobile apps and banking features seems almost necessary! With all the choices out there, it may be difficult to determine which of these apps or functions will efficiently and, hopefully, effortlessly allow you to connect your money and your Smartphone.

Here are some frequently asked questions about managing money with today’s technology:

What’s the best app for budgeting?

For most of the jobs you want to do, “there’s an app for that”. With budgeting, there aren’t as many to choose from, but that might be because one app is far and away the best. Mint, by Intuit, is a free app that connects with Rivertown or your (less awesome) financial institution to give you a clear and updated budget. It’s easy to use and it provides a good bird’s eye view of your finances. It also allows you set up plans for saving, paying off debt, etc. Rivertown also has a Free Personal Finance Management tool which lets you do all the same tasks as Mint and includes text alerts. (Okay, okay, that was a little bit of a sales pitch, but it really is a helpful tool!)

Do I really need a budgeting app?

While both mentioned above are great solutions, you can also stick to your trusty, old spreadsheet. For even more convenience, if you move your budget spreadsheet over to Google Docs, or a similar online service, you can adjust your budget on the go. Couple this with our mobile app to easily reconcile your budget the same way you always have.

I can’t get rid of the stock app on my phone. Should I just use that for monitoring my investments?

You don’t have to use it just because it’s there. You probably found a better option for your email client (such as Gmail or Dispatch) and your to-do list app (like Evernote). You can also find a much better app for investing than the one that came with your phone. Personal Capital is an app from the former CEO of Intuit, and it is one of the best free investment dashboard apps you’ll find. Its service is designed for the “aspiring wealthy,” and exchanges a free investment monitoring service for targeted advertisements for its paid investment advice.

I’m looking at all of the great automation features on my phone and I want to connect to the Credit Union that way. Why doesn’t your website “play nicely” with my phone?

We don’t have a lot of the features that other apps use to “talk to one another”, but it’s not because we’re behind the times! It’s entirely possible, and not that difficult, to build a software that will allow you to buy movie tickets online or place an Amazon order whenever you get paid. The problem is that all of those services use “programming protocols” that put your information at risk! And sorry not sorry, but we’re not going to relax the security of your accounts!

Soon enough, our mobile data will be sending selfies to one another, verifying purchases by thumbprint, and probably doing our jobs for us while we focus on other things. Who knows? For now, we’ve got really great software that makes it easier than ever to watch our spending and see our savings grow. So what do you think? Will you be trying any one of these recommendations??!



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