Do you remember going to the bank with your passbook and manually depositing your pay cheque?
Over recent decades there has been a digital transformation and managing your money is more often completed with a few keyboard strokes, rather than a weekly trip to your local branch.
Technology has truly changed the way we spend, save and budget our dollars. There are hundreds of different apps to help you manage your finances and these tools can be extremely helpful when you want to keep on top of your money management.
If you have a smartphone, then it’s quite likely that you are already using it for many of your financial transactions. Whether you have an iPhone or Android, a digital wallet is a quick and easy way to complete in-person payments.
This technology replaces the need to use a physical debit or credit card because you simply hold your phone above the payment terminal and it withdraws money from your linked account. Even if you do have your wallet in your pocket or your purse in your handbag… you don’t need to fumble around trying to find which card you want to use… your phone does it all!
Your mobile also provides you with the ability to make immediate payments or money transfers through apps. Whether it’s an app associated with a specific bank or a third party service provider such as Beem It, you can pay someone, request a payment or even split bills with your friends and family.
You can also use your phone to get discounts when you are shopping. If you use apps such as Shopadocket or Shopback you can save at retailers, restaurants, travel services or fitness centres. They offer savings across a wide range of categories.
But your phone doesn’t just enable you to spend money. There are also a lot of apps that can help you with your budgeting, saving and general finance tracking.
Some apps sync with your bank account and can sort your transactions into specific categories so that you can clearly see if you are sticking to your budget. Or you can use apps that automatically round-up your transactions and help you save your loose change.
Canstar has reviewed six different budgeting and savings apps that could be useful. You can read their article online.
You can do almost anything online and managing your money is definitely part of that. Every bank in Australia has a web-based presence and you can perform almost every type of transaction through their online banking portals. There are even some banks that are solely based in the digital world…UBank, ING and RaboDirect are three popular online-only financial institutions.
Using your unique personal login, you can view your account balance, pay bills, transfer funds and open new accounts almost instantaneously. There are usually additional features, including setting up alerts that notify you when certain transactions are triggered against your account, or you can create direct debits to make regular scheduled payments.
It’s worth looking at the automated options available from your bank because they can help reduce the possibility of overlooking something important.
Some superannuation funds also have online account accessibility. You can usually login to check your balance and also complete some basic super management activities. But we recommend discussing any changes you want to make to your super with a professional as it could impact your financial outlook as you get closer to retirement.
Remember to stay alert
With so much of our financial data living in the digital sphere, it’s crucial that you remember to stay alert and be on the lookout for unusual activity. Knowing how to recognise a scam is critical because every year they become harder to identify and their methods become more sophisticated.
Never click a link in an unsolicited email or text message. Never give your personal details to people over the phone unless you are 100% certain that the person you are talking to is legitimate. If you receive a call and you are unsure, simply hang up and contact the relevant institution on a published phone number to confirm the request was real.
Speak to a professional
Here at First Financial, we have a dedicated team specialising in financial planning and superannuation management services. We pride ourselves on the relationships we develop with our clients, and we would love to be able to help you.