Use Your Phone To Get Your Financial Life In Line
Let’s face it, organizing your finances can be downright intimidating. There are spreadsheets, account statements, bills, tax documents… it’s dizzying. Fortunately, there are also some cool, tech-centric financial help options out there for those of us who have never even written a paper check (yes, we exist).
Whether you’re looking to get out of debt, raise your credit score, or even just start a new saving habit, here are six apps that might help you work toward your financial goals—without even putting your phone down.
This is also a good time for us to mention that none of the information below amounts to an endorsement or recommendation. After all, we don’t know your financial situation or if you are eligible for any of the products described, and there are no shortage of professionals for that type of advice. We just think these are cool, relatively touchless solutions that might be of interest to someone cruising the blog of an app-based way to get a car. Just saying.
If you’re looking to take out a loan but don’t have the credit to do it, Self Lender is designed to help raise your credit score without the hassle of having to find a co-signer or taking on the potential financial risk of getting a credit card. A bank partner of Self Lender distributes loan funds into a certificate of deposit (CD) account. You’ll pay installments on the loan each month, with those payments being reported to credit reporting agencies. Then, after the loan is paid in full, you’ll get your money back—ideally with a shiny, newly improved score (provided you paid on time).
Making a rent payment every month can be a real downer—especially if your apartment falls into the “less than desirable” category. In fact, renting is the classic example of money out the door every month that your parents warned you about. But with Rent Track, you could at least see some benefit by having your rent payments appear on your credit report. It sends your payment to your landlord and then reports the payment to the three major credit bureaus, which could be perfect for someone looking to rebuild their credit score—or those just starting out on their financial journeys (assuming, of course, that you pay your rent on-time).
If your employer participates, HoneyBee quickly provides loans of up to one week’s earnings (not to exceed $2,500) to help cover unplanned expenses. Unlike the high interest rates that other lenders can impose, HoneyBee charges just a 5 percent loan fee. A HoneyBee loan may be a better option than putting those expenses on a credit card, as the average credit card interest rate was 17.67% at the end of March 2019—and carrying a large balance may hurt your credit.
Subscriptions can be great; they can also be tricky. After all, who among us hasn’t signed up for a monthly app and then totally forgotten about it—only to have the money still come flowing out of our account every month? This is where Trim comes in. It helps you see all of your subscriptions in one place, so you can see what you need and what you don’t. One of its most valuable features is that it will actually negotiate your cable and internet bills for you if it thinks you’re overpaying. Forget spending hours on hold; this app will take care of that pesky, nickel-and-diming rep for you—and the manager, if need be.
For many of us, “investing” sounds like something reserved for our grandparents and millionaires. But that’s so not true. Acorns is working to change that perspective—starting with your digital pocket change. In addition to regular optional deposits from your bank account into an investment vehicle of your choice, Acorns also rounds up purchases to the nearest dollar and puts the change away for you as well. Perhaps best of all, there’s no lofty account minimum; $5 worth of change is enough to get started. If you’re an investing beginner—especially one without a millionaire grandfather—this could be a great place to start learning the market. They’ll even waive their very nominal service fee for college students. And once you get the hang of that, you can dive even deeper down the investing wormhole with an app like Robinhood.
No one really wants to think about paying off that mountain of debt called your student loans. But ChangEd makes it a little bit easier to reach that elusive $0 balance on your loan. Similar to Acorns, this app rounds up your purchases and then saves that money. Then, when you’ve saved a certain amount, an extra payment will be applied to your student loan account. Those extra payments put money you didn’t even miss toward being debt-free—a win-win for you and other anti-debt warriors everywhere.