Nearly two-thirds of Americans now own a smartphone – no big surprise – and tech-savvy seniors are among them, their smart phone use increasing 8 per cent this past year alone. And while they’ve spent most of their lives managing their finances through traditional channels, many seniors are increasingly using phones and tablets to transition to digital banking and money management. Here are some great personal finance apps we’ve found that seniors in our communities are finding helpful – all are free for iPhone and Android users:
Mint: This popular app features clean graphics and easy-to-read updates and overviews to help you manage earnings, savings, spending, and budgeting. Mint syncs up all your accounts, from bank accounts to mutual funds to IRAs and 401ks, providing real-time information on deposits, expenses, credit card debt, and investment balances. It can also include cash transactions, as long as you enter each purchase.
Mint’s Overview section offers account totals, monthly budget totals, budget alerts, and spending broken down by category. The Updates section features all transactions, recent and unauthorized, and shows how you’ve been using each account. Mint can also analyze your spending habits and make suggestions for areas where you can save each month.
Venmo: Venmo allows you to transfer money digitally and instantly to another person – to a family member, for example, or a friend who wants to split the check at a restaurant. You can sign up online and link a credit card or bank account to your Venmo account (we recommend using a credit card for maximum fraud protection). While Venmo’s automatic settings allow transfer limits of $2,900 per transaction, you can adjust that number to your comfort level, and ask for real-time alerts when each transaction is completed.
Bill Guard: This is a great app for seniors who want help with money management but also may want a stronger sense of security when it comes to online transactions. Bill Guard closely monitors all purchases, highlights any hidden fees (such as that annual renewal fee your health club charges each January), and allows users to report and dispute a suspicious charge by contacting the merchant from inside the app.
Like Mint, Bill Guard also tracks month-to-month spending by category so you can see where your money is going on a regular basis. If desired, it will also flag suspicious purchases on its own and send a push notification when it does.
Want more information? Head to AARP or CNET for details on these and other helpful finance apps.