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By Melissa Green | Citizens Bank Staff
Managing money, sticking to a budget, and handling investment decisions are easier than ever with personal finance apps. So what are the best financial mobile apps available? Well, unfortunately there is no “one size fits all” app that will do everything for everyone. However, based on research from SimilarWeb.com, learn about what you should be looking for in a finance tool, and the most popular apps on the market.
The most popular app doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best app for you. So it’s important to consider your priorities and research all of your options before downloading.
A strong budgeting app will give you a good overall view of your financial situation. You can get rid of your old Excel spreadsheet, as most apps on the market can connect to your various accounts — like banking, credit cards, investments, life insurance, etc. Tracking your spending is a huge aspect of budgeting, so you’ll want to choose an app that’s fairly automated and easy to use.
For people with savings goals, an app is a great way to stay on track. Whether you’re planning a vacation or buying a home, you’ll want to stay organized and on top of your money — a good savings app will do that for you. Instead of opening multiple savings accounts, an app allows you to have one, and break out the amounts into whatever goals you have.
Whether you’re splitting the bill at a restaurant or pooling money for mom’s birthday, it’s fast and easy to send money. If your bank has Zelle® in their mobile banking app you don’t need to download anything else. You can start sending money right away.
However, if you prefer a standalone app, make sure it’s safe. All apps aren’t created equal— they’ll have varying security measures in place to help prevent honest mistakes and dishonest fraud. It’s important to do your research before choosing an app.
Monitoring your credit score plays an important role in your financial story. You’re allowed to access a free credit report every 12 months. However, that report doesn’t provide you with a credit score — and a lot can happen within a year. So, downloading an app to monitor your credit score and activity is a good way to stay informed.
Be sure to research and read reviews on any credit monitoring service before providing your personal (or billing) information. There are many apps, subscriptions, and websites out there that are misleading and costly. You should be able to find a free trustworthy service for all your credit monitoring needs.
Even if you understand how the stock market works, you might need guidance to help you play the market wisely. Novice investors should look for investment apps that are easy to understand, yet robust enough to suit your needs. Meanwhile, a more experienced investor should look for an app that facilitates stock purchases, helps compare fees, offers investing suggestions, analyzes mutual funds, aggregates net worth, and tracks cash flow.
Regardless of what your friends have on their phones, or what Bob from accounting swears by, it’s important to make choices based on your own unique financial situation. Remember, the most popular app may not fit all of your needs. But by choosing the tools that are right for you, you can easily attain a better understanding and awareness of your finances.
Pro tip: Exercise caution. Most of these tools require you to provide and link to your bank or credit information. Although they use very strict security measures to protect your data, you should always read the terms and conditions (on any app) before you use it to know what you’re signing up for.
Make sure you’ve downloaded the Citizens Bank mobile app to check your balances, pay bills, and easily send and receive money with people you know and trust with Zelle.
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