There was a time when purchases were paid for in cash only. Then came debit and credit cards. Today, consumers are being encouraged to shop, pay and manage their finances using smartphones. This article looks at some of the options available to shoppers using mobile devices.
Banking on the Go
One of the most obvious benefits to owning a smartphone is banking on the go and a number of the big banks now offer apps to facilitate this. An example is First Direct, which is one of the first internet banks to offer a nifty little app for keeping track of your current balance, recent transactions and payments online. You can also set up complementary services to your phone, such as a weekly balance text message and alerts when you are approaching your overdraft. This is ideal for checking your balance whilst you’re out and about and contemplating the wisdom of a certain purchase! You can also use it to make good decisions about your day-to-day spending patterns and avoid the embarrassment of having a card declined in a retail store when you’ve failed to keep track of your account balance.
Similarly, there are various apps that enable you to make payments online and PayPal is perhaps the best known. Whether you’re on eBay or transferring money between friends, repaying a family member or dealing with a small business that prefers to use PayPal, the app is fast and efficient, storing your card details safely and utilising a secure user login and password. Smartphones are also now offering contactless payment technology through banks such as Barclays. This allows small ticket items of up to £15 to be scanned via the smartphone, rather than needing the customer to queue and pay using the traditional means.
Online Price Comparisons
There are plenty of websites that enable you to carry out price comparisons online and again there are apps to help you do this in a user-friendly, phone-assisted way. Whether you’re looking to get the cheapest SIM only deals or compare your utility provider against another, these comparison sites help you to save money. Remember that to get the cheapest SIM only deals and latest special offers, you need to keep yourself informed about what’s available in the ever-changing marketplace. These sites help you to do exactly that.
Cash back Sites
These are an interesting phenomenon, brought about during the birth of online shopping and now included in several smartphone apps. With a cashback site, you simply click on a link from the cashback site to your usual retailer and shop as usual. It will then give back to you a percentage of the cash spent on the purchase or a promotional bonus sum, which will accrue in your account. Some people can save many hundreds of pounds simply by using a cashback site before carrying out their usual online payments and if you combine it with other approaches, such as using vouchers, discount codes or cashback credit cards, you can find yourself accruing a tidy little sum by the end of the year. Don’t forget that many credit cards also allow you to check your balance online and see where you’re up to – MBNA is one such company.
Stock Market Trackers
For those who like to invest, these handy websites will keep you up to date with all that’s new in the world of stocks and shares. With some apps you can trade online, in addition to tracking individual stocks, funds, indices and seeing the best deals on ISAs, managed funds and much more.
Financial News Sites
Don’t forget good old-fashioned news reporting and financial journalism. There are numerous apps for newspapers online, including several that pertain exclusively to financial matters. These deliver plenty of fresh and informative articles to your smartphone that you can use to improve your financial management skills and your overall financial health. Remember that social media can be used to stay informed too. Following financial websites on Twitter, for example, can enable you to see the latest news, offers and tweets relating to your area of interest. Again, this is to make sure that you are able to make good decisions on handling your money. In conclusion, there are a number of websites and that can help you to manage your finances, save money, pay without cash or make financial decisions – all on your smartphone. It’s certainly worth visiting your app store from time to time to see what’s new!
About the Author: Roxanne writes on money saving and technology for a range of industry publications and consumer websites. A confirmed budgeter and technology fan, she looks to get the cheapest SIM only deals through price comparison websites.