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Published on November 13th, 2012 | by John I.

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Technology & Finance: How Apps can help you manage your finances

Banking can be a complicated process, but there are many apps which make the process simpler, and some of these apps can even be fun! For instance there is a measure of enjoyment in depositing a cheque by taking a picture of it, how technology has progressed! We can now deposit cheques from the comfort of our living room, on the bus or sunbathing on the beach.

Not all banks offer this service, but for those that do, it is very simple. Normally, the app will ask you to take a picture of the front and back of the cheque, type the amount of money and choose which account to deposit the money into. Then push a button to conclude the deposit.

Most bank apps allows you to check balances and account activity, move money to various accounts, pay bills. Most of these apps are available free for both Apple and Android devices.

There are also various money-management websites that offer mobile apps. A popular site is Mint.com; which is owned by Intuit Inc. A free Mint.com app is available both in the Apple App Store and in Google Play.

With the Mint.com app and various others, you cannot move money around or make deposits or payments. However you can track all your accounts: banks, credit cards, loans, investments in one place.

Where the Mint app excels is in its analytical tools. Using your financial activity, it will organise your spending into categories, for example: shopping, fuel, restaurants, etc. A nice feature also enables you to set up a budget based on those categories and will help you stick to the budget, telling you where you overspend as well. The app will notify you when any of your balances is low, If any bills need to be paid, or any unusual spending.

Mint is now a definite leader in money-management apps, though there are others that offer similar services. HelloWallet is one such example; the app is free to download although in order to use the app, you need an account with HelloWallet.com which costs $8.95 a month. (Mint relies on advertising for its income.)

Similar to Mint, HelloWallet can organise your financial information and present it in easy to read charts, and enables you to set goals and track your progress. A great feature HelloWallet offers is suggestions based on the behaviour patterns of other customers who have similar spending patterns.

Some people don’t want to give financial details so freely to a third party, which is the reason many other apps don’t connect to your accounts and therefore cannot as easily sort and analyse your financial data.

Another feature an iPhone app called QuickShot With Dropbox from GUI Cocoa LLC, you can take photos of receipts and they will be stored in an account on Dropbox.com, a popular internet file-storage service, this app costs $1.99.

A more sophisticated option is the Concur app from Concur Technologies Inc. This app can automatically record credit-card charges straight to expense reports. You can also take a picture of any receipt and the app will record all the details  vendor, time, cost, etc. Its free for Apple and Android devices, but is only available to users of the company’s Web-based expense-management service.



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