Per wIt seems like the second you enter adulthood, and often even before, personal finance management becomes top priority. The need for better money management soars as the world continues to change. Fintech, short for financial technology, makes money management quicker, easier, safer, and more efficient than ever. Here are 10 ways fintech can help you better manage your personal finances across virtually every financial field.
1. Bank More Quickly
Gone are the days when you had to go to the bank to check your balance or even deposit your checks. Most financial institutions offer online banking in multiple forms, including telephone, website dashboards, and apps. You can check your balance, transfer money between accounts, pay bills, and deposit checks. This helps you get your banking done from anywhere at any time, so you never have to worry about making time to take care of your finances.
More than 196 million American adults now use digital banking solutions. This figure skyrocketed amid the pandemic as going into a physical location became a matter of public health. The digital banking revolution also grew as more young people familiar with the speed and convenience of social media started taking control of their finances.
Convenience is far from the only benefit of faster banking, too. Quicker, more intuitive transactions help keep track of your spending more efficiently. Digital banking apps will show transactions and adjust figures almost immediately, eliminating the confusion that comes with delayed records and payments.
This quick access can also help you review potential purchases and double-check your finances in the moment. You no longer need to travel to a physical bank or ATM to check your account balance or pending transactions. You can do it from your phone in seconds, helping you see if you can comfortably afford a purchase without any guesswork or delay.
2. Budget More Transparently
Many apps now on the market easily connect to your financial institution to help you plan and budget your finances. These budgeting apps use real-time data from your bank to give you a clear picture of your spending habits.
They often break things down into categories, including groceries, bill payments, and dining out. Then, they calculate how much money you save. This overview gives you an insight into where most of your funds are going. Analyzing this information allows you to make more informed decisions on resource allocation.
For example, you may look at your budget breakdown and realize that most of your paycheck is going to your car loans or mortgage. You can then refinance one or more of those loans to save money or lower your monthly payment. Maybe you find you’re spending a significant portion of your paycheck on lunches at work. You may look at these numbers and decide meal-prepping would be a more financially beneficial option.
3. Understand Your Credit Score
Credit scores are the leading determining factor for whether you can get a loan, credit card, or similar resource. Despite how crucial these figures are, most people misunderstand how they work. Credit scores are based on five core factors, not just one or two, and not knowing that can lead to poor choices. Fintech aimed at users’ personal finances can help clear things up.
Many fintech apps include credit score monitoring and advice. These make it easy for users to get a picture of their financial health, at least how lenders see it, and adjust as necessary to improve it. More people are taking advantage of these resources, too. In 2018, 57% of American consumers checked at least one credit score, up from 49% in 2014.
This increased awareness has a considerable impact on financial choices, too. The same study found that 93% of those who check scores know that mortgage lenders use them, compared to just 74% of those who didn’t check. The accessibility of credit score apps has helped more people become financially literate, understanding their current position.
Apps like Mint and CreditWise let users see what factors impact their scores and how their actions are changing them. With that information and easy monitoring, you can make more informed decisions to improve your credit, helping secure better loan rates and credit cards in the future.
4. Improve Security
Security has always been a leading concern with money, but the rise of digital finances brings new challenges. The mass shift to digital services has many benefits, but it came with a 311% increase in identity theft between 2019 and 2020. Thankfully, fintech also provides solutions to make digital payments more secure for everyday users looking to take charge of their money management.
Fintech’s focus on disruptive technology helps it stay on top of security developments. These apps are always adapting to new tech trends, including integrating the latest security innovations, because it’s a crucial part of how they stay competitive. On the other hand, traditional banks often apply technology as an add-on to their existing systems, leading to vulnerability. As a result, conventional banks are losing more money to hackers than fintech alternatives.
Fintech has led to massive improvements in security within personal finance. Visa is one of many companies that has started to use machine learning to detect and stop fraud. Since implementing this technology, Visa says its fraud rates have fallen to 0.1%, thanks to the AI’s ability to monitor 500 unique risk factors.
Fintech apps like PayPal and CashApp also let you send money securely through heavily encrypted transactions. That way, you can pay someone back or buy something online without fear of losing funds or data in the process. Less risk and more protection translate into more money in your pocket in the long run.
5. Reduce Financial Mistakes
You can also minimize financial mistakes with the help of artificial intelligence. Whether it comes to loan payments, investment opportunities, or day-to-day banking, fintech does the math for you. It also can alert you when an error is detected. Most applications will send you alerts for overdrawn accounts, suspicious activity, or payment reminders to keep you informed and reduce the risk of any financial errors or red flags.
Fintech’s general visibility also helps reduce mistakes. It’s easier to spot trends or unusual actions when you can see a complete picture of your financial history with the push of a button. You can then notice choices you’ve made or third-party errors that affect your finances. You’ll make fewer mistakes over time if you check these records regularly.
Fintech combats the demand of more than 50% of consumers who wish to have 24/7 access to customer service. It provides instant access to resolve any financial issues that lead to unneeded and unwanted stress. If mistakes do occur, you can address them immediately. You can then solve the issue before it becomes a larger, more stressful problem.
Resolving these issues is often easier than with traditional systems. Fintech apps aimed at financial management rely heavily on chatbots, which give you 24/7 support and immediate access to help. You won’t have to wait for an available agent to resolve your problem if you have a common issue. If it can’t fix it for you, it can help gather the necessary information so a human agent can help you faster.
Chatbots can answer up to 80% of routine questions, helping resolve issues far faster. You can then spend less time worrying about your finances and more time making the most of them.
6. Save Money Without Having to Think About It
Fintech allows you to automate your savings in different ways. Some apps can automatically send money to your savings account based on your actions. Many financial institutions also offer the ability to round up purchases to the nearest dollar and put the extra change directly into your savings. These programs make your life easier because you don’t have to think about it.
Acorns rounds up your purchases and invests the money in exchange-traded funds, helping you make money off stocks with minimal activity. Digit analyzes your spending and income patterns to determine how much you can comfortably save, helping you set and meet goals. No matter your money management goals, there’s likely a fintech app to help you achieve them.
Many fintech apps also offer more effective savings alternatives to traditional banks. The average national interest rate is 0.06%, but inflation is roughly 5%, so many people effectively lose money. Neobanks, fintech alternatives to traditional banks, can offer higher interest because they don’t face the same expenses as conventional institutions.
Chime offers a 0.5% annual percentage yield (APY), far more than a traditional bank, and it provides it even if you only have a penny in your account. It can afford to do that because it doesn’t have a traditional bank’s high staffing and overhead costs since it’s entirely online.
7. Consolidate Debt and Bills
Debt is a common issue for many people. The average American has $90,460 in debt, often spread across multiple areas, from credit cards to student loans to mortgages. Having outstanding loans in so many places can make it difficult to understand and address, but fintech has evolved in its personal financial management abilities to let you consolidate debts and bill payments in one convenient place.
Apps like Prism and Tally let you keep track of all your debts in one place. You can input the date that each bill is due, and it will send you a reminder when it is time to pay it. You also can automate payments, so you never have to worry about missing one. Some of these apps will calculate and prioritize your debts to pay the highest-interest ones off sooner, helping you become debt-free in less time.
Other fintech personal finance solutions offer innovative, easy ways to pay back your debts. Qoins works like Acorns, rounding up your purchases to the nearest dollar, but instead of investing that money, it uses it to pay off your loans. Debt Payoff Planner will calculate ideal payment schedules based on your outstanding debts and monthly budget.
Fintech can offer similar help for your everyday bills, too. Budgeting apps will keep track of all your monthly expenses and put them in one place so you don’t forget about them. You can then get a better picture of your spending and stop subscriptions you no longer need that you might’ve forgotten about.
8. Shop Around for Loan Offers
Fintech makes it simpler than ever to compare loans if you have to take out a new one. Traditionally, you’d have to contact various banks and lenders independently to see what they’ll offer you and compare them yourself. That can take a tremendous amount of time, but fintech streamlines the process.
With apps like Nerdwallet, Credit Karma, and LendingTree, you enter your information once, and loan offers to come to you. You can then see them all together to compare interest rates and terms and make an informed decision for your budget. This saves time since you don’t have to shop around. It also saves money by having enough information to make the best decision for your financial goals.
Fintech has also made loans more accessible. Many fintech companies offer loans, often targeting consumers that wouldn’t be able to get a competitive rate from traditional lenders. These new, tech-forward lenders either take advantage of their lower expenses or look at more factors than just credit scores to determine creditworthiness.
Studies have found that fintech has let people with the same credit risk obtain it at lower rates than traditional channels. People with few or inaccurate credit records also have more access to loans through these programs since they look at more than credit scores. As a result, fintech has made lending a fairer, more equitable field.
Fintech also provides new ways to get loans, such as crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending. These services let you get funds from other consumers, bypassing the intermediaries traditional loans carry. As a result, it’s possible to get interest-free, independent loans.
9. Achieve Your Financial Goals
Fintech uses artificial intelligence to help you make better investment decisions at a low cost. Fintech’s low cost allows nearly everybody to have access to personalized finance recommendations, including how to best save for retirement, without paying costly management fees. These solutions are customized to the individual so they can reach their personal financial goals.
These machine learning systems make advice more accessible. You can now get reliable guidance by plugging some information into an app instead of scheduling a meeting with a human consultant. That saves you time and money, making financial services available to people who previously couldn’t access them.
In 2021, 3.5 million U.S. investors used these robo-money advisers to help them make the best investments. Experts predict that number will keep growing at a double-digit percentage, resulting in 5 million investors using these tools by 2025. These technologies will gain more experience with use, leading to better advice.
Machine learning models become more accurate as they have more data points and patterns to analyze. As a result, when more people use these tools and generate more data, these predictions will become increasingly reliable, just as people get better with experience.
10. Discover New Personal Finance Opportunities
Fintech has also opened the door to new ways to make and use money that didn’t exist before. Cryptocurrency is the best example of this innovation. Crypto provides a transparent, secure alternative to traditional financial institutions without the high fees and confusion that come with intermediaries in conventional finance.
Crypto uses a technology called blockchain, a digital ledger of records that anyone can see but no one can change. As a result, you can see where your money is going in a crypto transaction and have a readily available record of it, giving you more control over your finances.
This transparency and security could have widespread implications across finance. Charitable donations in cryptocurrency rose more than 1,000% in 2021 because crypto makes it easier to ensure funds actually go toward the cause in question. Related tax benefits also make it more enticing.
Since crypto is worth the same worldwide, it also enables quicker, more affordable international payments. Removing conversions and intermediaries from the equation eliminates fees and completes the process faster. As a result, it’s easier to engage in international business with crypto.
Blockchain technology could also bring more opportunities as it develops and gains popularity. These digital records could revolutionize car rentals, providing more visibility into a vehicle’s history and removing contract disputes between parties through smart contracts, which execute automatically. Fintech has likely only scratched the surface of what blockchains can do.
Take Control of Your Personal Finances With Fintech
Fintech is the newest wave in personal finance management. It’s trending to be the faster, safer, and more efficient alternative to reaching financial goals than traditional methods. If you can capitalize on these technologies, managing your finances doesn’t have to be such a daunting challenge.
The industry will continue to respond as the market changes to help you manage your money. New fintech technologies and services aimed at personal finance will emerge, providing even more options to help you meet your specific goals. Staying on top of these developments can help you make the most of your finances.