While technology is reaching levels that were once thought of only to support a plot from some science fiction movie, many people are living their financial life with more of an old school theme.  To that, I ask….

Are you still balancing your checkbook on paper?

Are you still calling a broker?

Do you mail checks to your friends?

If so, I have news for you.  The explosion of Fintech is here to simplify your life!

Charity

Start your journey toward simplicity by combining your meals with your charitable efforts.  Kill two birds with one stone by using Spare.

Spare is an New York City Fintech startup that has turned some heads of late.  While, I’m as guilty as the next person for eating out a bit too much, this app may help me feel just a little better about it.  

By rounding up your bill while dining out, the difference will go to feeding the hungry in New York City.  With reward incentives at 3, 5, and 10 transactions, Spare NYC is saving you money on food while feeding those who are less fortunate.

See Spare’s incentives (only at their partner restaurants):

  • 3 “Round ups” = complimentary cocktail
  • 5 “Round ups” = complimentary appetizer or dessert
  • 10 “Round ups” = $15 off your next bill

It’s basically the Acorns of the charity realm.  Great concept.

 Investing

You’d think it’d be easier to compile information as the internet grows year on year.  The truth is that there is SO much information from SO MANY different sources, it can serve as a challenging task.  That’s where AlphaSense comes in.

As noted in this 2016 article by Entrepreneur, “AlphaSense is a financial search engine, known as the “Google for financial services. It indexes millions of documents on global companies and helps clients find hidden information on any company in seconds.”

When I was in college, there was a Bloomberg terminal that was used only with special access since it had such powerful research tools.  AlphaSense reminds me of a mini Bloomberg terminal, in your pocket.  Talk about efficiency, AlphaSense almost instantly does the job a whole department could take weeks to do back in the 80’s or 90’s.  

Per Investopedia, lookout for Wells Fargo’s Robo-advisor service in 2017, as this is expected to be launched.  This reputable name behind an algorithm may be just what you need to bump up those returns.

If you aren’t confident in your investing skills or you can’t get in touch with your broker, look into the use of a robo-advisor today!

Banking

Don’t be that person pulling out a checkbook to pay back a friend!  Hate making that stop at an ATM when people are following you on the road?  

Thankfully, solutions are all around us.  Check out the Venmo app and convince your friends to download it.  It will makes things so ridiculously simple.  

Example:  You are out to dinner and you didn’t bring cash.  Venmo allows a friend to spot you an extra $20 while you immediately pay them back through the app.  

Personally, I write one check a month because my landlord requires it.  By accepting a Venmo payment in lieu, he would save himself the ride to my apartment and the time he stands in line at the bank.

As far as security goes, which is the biggest concern of most people, Venmo uses data encryption.  Additionally, they are stored and protected on secure servers.  

Some people don’t want change, which is their prerogative.  That being said, simplicity awaits them if they choose to leave their comfort zone.  As the great Tony Robbins says, “don’t live life by the rules of the past generation”, what works for them may not work for us.   

While there are many viable payment solutions for business, Venmo is definitely a go to for the average joe.  

Budgeting

Billguard has taken off as free budgeting app that tracks your spending automatically, while giving you the ability to approve them.  The security feature is the real value in this product, as identity theft is rampant.  

Per an article recently written – In 2014, over 1 billion records containing personally identifiable records were leaked.  On average, it cost about $500 and 30 hours to resolve these types of issues.

In its new release of their version 4.8.1, the app contains the following features (per their apple store preview:

  • Pay your credit cards on time
  • Pay the right amount to avoid or minimize your interest payments
  • Know when you have a card with an interest bearing balance or high utilization
  • See balances, utilization and statement status for all your cards in one place
  • Select the right credit card for payments *right now* based on current balance and utilization info

Though Billguard excels in its build in security feature, there are a lot of other hot budgeting apps to consider as well.

Final Thoughts

We’ve covered charity, investing, and peer to peer cash transfers.  If you’re an old soul or just looking to make a few improvements in efficiency, implementing these three apps to your lifestyle will contribute to a simpler life.  The Fintech revolution is upon us.

Eric Estevez is a freelance writer, blogger, finance coach, and tax accountant. He has been training in the grappling art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu since 2010, currently holding the rank of Purple Belt. JiuJitsuFinance.com combines his passion and life's work where he teaches you how to do Financial Jiu-Jitsu! The blog focuses on financial literacy, as well as current financial issues for all ages.

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