Mobile Money: Taking Advantage

How to unlock the money-saving potential of your smartphone

It seems our entire lives are intertwined with our smartphones nowadays. With Apple’s recent announcement major Canadian banks are finally embracing Apple Pay, we are now yet another step closer to a fully digital financial life.Mobile Money

While some financial experts are concerned about the potential of mobile money for impulse-spending, there are some who see positive possibilities in the world of mobile money.

Though Jeff Schwartz, executive director of Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada, has publicly spoken out on the dangers of digital spending, he notes that the very same technology could prove to be extremely helpful, if used properly.

“It’s not the technology itself that is dangerous, it’s how we interact with it,” says Schwartz.  “Put the ‘smart’ back in smart phone by using it to your advantage to help manage and simplify your finances.”

Mobile banking is certainly on the rise in Canada, according to the Canadian Bankers Association:

  • Thirty-one per cent of Canadians used mobile banking during 2015, up from only five per cent in 2010.
  • It’s not just millennials – 21 per cent of Canadians over 65 say their use of mobile banking is increasing.
  • Twenty-three per cent don’t think they will be carrying cash in 10 years, and 54 per cent anticipate no longer using cheques.

Whereas budgeting and financial planning used to require a lot of sheets of paper and receipt collection, Schwartz argues it has never been easier to stay on top of your finances.

“One of the biggest reasons people fail to take an active role in their finances is the intimidation factor,” says Schwartz.  “Slick and modern apps can trump that by making finances quick and easy.”

Whether you are a mobile banker and spender, or plan to increase your usage, here are some tips to help you get more out of your digital experience:

Download a budgeting app. Less than half of Canadians are using a budget, which drastically increases their odds of financial mismanagement.  Try Consolidated Credit’s free budgeting app for iPhone, or try Mint if you are using an Android device.

Track your spending. Download your bank’s app.  Having your bank and credit card statements at your fingertips will allow you to track your spending to see if you are sticking to the budget that you have developed using a budgeting app.

Never miss a payment. Either set up automated payments through your banking app, or use your phone’s calendar to remind you every time you need to pay your bills.  This will help you avoid costly penalties and will help keep your credit score strong.

No need to clip coupons. The time and effort that goes into coupon-clipping means some people forego the many discounts available at supermarkets and big-box stores.  Use apps such as Flipp to automate this process and save money.

Get rewarded. Loyalty cards can really clutter-up your wallet, leading some people to ditch them.  Ensure that you are able to earn everything that you are entitled to, by downloading your loyalty card’s app, or downloading an app such as StoCard to keep all of your cards in one place.

Has impulse spending created financial turmoil in your life? If you have tried budgeting and coupon-clipping but still can’t get on your feet, it might be time to seek professional advice.  Call 1-888-294-3130 for free to learn about your best options for kicking credit card debt.

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