Budget like no one is watching
Saving for that next big holiday? Unsplurge can help bring your dreams to fruition. Just set a goal, then watch as your saving progress is visualised into a neat little fuel gauge. The app even rewards saving streaks and genuinely make you feel good about not spending cash. ASIC (Australia Securities and Investment Commission) has delivered their own app, TrackMySPEND that allows you to set limits, save your expense history, and export as an excel doc for the future. Aptly-named Left to Spend (iOS, Android, $6.49) tracks your weekly expendable budget and, like sands through the hourglass, reminds you how much you have left. It’s a terrifying prospect, but it will make you re-think that extra Friday splurge.
P2P: the future of lending
Broadly, the Peer-to-Peer (or P2P) system works by bypassing banks, offering smaller-scale loans and investments for users and giving them access to a central, crowd-sourced pool of money. Around the world, consumers are using fintech platforms to lend and borrow money at competitive rates. As Ben Milsom, Head of Compliance and Marketing for one such platform, RateSetter explains to Red Wire:
Put simply, P2P lending connects investors who want to lend with creditworthy borrowers who want to borrow.
The micro-loan P2P movement is on the rise, largely spurred by millennials whose relatively small savings have traditionally been excluded from the lending market. Fintechs like RateSetter service a relatively untapped consumer market, with Milsom adding: ‘they know from experiences with other disruptive platforms like Uber and AirBnB, that online offerings can often provide a significantly better deal to consumers than traditional providers.’
Online banking apps: who wore it best
The Commbank App is arguably the most comprehensive of the big four’s apps, with cardless ATM transactions, Facebook money transfers, card-blocking/limiting, and international transfers all offered from your device. ANZ’s Go Money offers secure mobile/bill payments as well as quick transfers from a contact list, with both Westpac and NAB offering similar products (with added iWatch compatibility!). As mobile apps continue to overtake more traditional banking methods, the increased quality and convenience can only mean positive things for the customer.
Facebook chips in
Speaking at the Australian Financial Review (AFR) Banking and Wealth Summit, Paul McCrory, head of financial services Australia at Facebook, said the social network has built “huge mobile platforms” that see 11 million Australians a day. With great scale comes great opportunity, and Facebook recognises the potential in partnering with Australian banks.
Banks are mobile businesses as well, except they also have this legacy that sit behind them. How do we help partner with this vast scale we’ve got, to help a bank, for example, drive digital options? How do we help the banks drive more and more people to use mobile services of some description, rather than having to go to a branch?
For Facebook, opportunities abound beyond bridging the technology gaps of less agile legacy companies. Just last week, Facebook endorsed MyKai — arguably the hottest chatbot sensation in the world right now. Available in the US as of last week, the highly sophisticated banking bot helps users manage money, track expenses, and make payments via Facebook Messenger, Slack, and SMS. WIRED’s Cade Metz reviews the MyKai experience in detail, from the anxieties around plugging in a third-party startup to secure bank accounts, to the novelty of a seamless, natural conversation about spending habits:
I just asked a bot to tell me how much I spent on coffee this past month. And a few moments later, it replied. “Let’s see,” it said. “You spent $199.83…” “Thank you,” I told the bot. And it responded with a big yellow smiling emojicon.
Naturally, the immediate response to ‘plugging in’ a chatbot as an intermediary buffer between you and your bank might be one of concern, but it might be useful to think of MyKai as a helpful assistant or translator by your side in a crowd, rather than the valet you ‘chuck your keys’
at to. While the experience is designed to be seamless, MyKai doesn’t really ‘plug in’ directly to your bank at all: it requests specific information about transactions and balances from an aggregator that works with your bank, only upon your request. This aggregator securely conveys the requested information by code. Payment-wise, MyKai uses the payment app Venmo through its standard interface.
From bill-splitting to stock-trading
If you’re going to spend your money, do it wisely: ATM Hunter lets you find the closest ATMs sorted by branch and location, saving you both search time and withdrawal fees.
For the mobile investor, financial powerhouse Bloomberg released its own app as a portal for finance and business news offering market data and portfolio tracking directly from Wall St.
Splitting bills is an ugly, if inevitable part of our social lives — Splitwise turns an awkward situation into a fair one, organising IOUs into easy-to-read lists, with an option for email alerts. Sister-app, Plates, does the same for meal-splitting, taking into account extras like drinks and entrees, and dividing the bill between dinner guests accordingly.
Mo’ money + less arguments = happy days.
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