Now that robo-advisors are managing our investment accounts, we expect our budgeting apps to be smarter, too. Evolving with the digital economy, a cleverer crop of budgeting apps can now link to your bank accounts, and many other financial services.
Although one of the first apps to become ubiquitous on mobile devices, budgeting apps have remained relatively simple. That old reliable app used to tally work, personal and travel expenses may soon become the center of your financial life.
The savvier versions can track savings and expenses in real time, provide budgeting advice and, an increasingly popular feature, suggest fee optimization strategies. Beyond banking, these budgeting robos are already offering insurance, credit card and wire transfer services, and will even shop around for the best deals for you.
These robo-budgeters show the possibilities when artificial intelligence expands budgeting capabilities.
PocketGuard – This popular app keeps it simple but it is far from dumb. Once it links to your financial accounts, the virtual wallet provides insightful analysis to assist you with expense management and planning. If you are a big spender this is the app for you. A daily spend limit tracker keeps you in line. The I’m Going Shopping Feature will tell you in advance if you can afford to buy an item.
Digit – Digit tracks expenses and balances and moves extra money that could be earning higher interest from your checking to a savings account. The app tries to move money daily and has a no-overdraft guarantee. In its first year, Digit saved $250 million for its customers..
GoodBudget – If you are new to virtual budgeting, you will be at home with GoodBudget’s envelope system, a digital version of your shoebox. Like the other apps featured, GoodBudget links to your bank accounts to provide real-time transaction analysis and management. The app goes a step further and provides budget coaching, such as helping you save for a new purchase or vacation. For an annual fee, GoodBudget adds premium options and a money coach.
Albert App (iPhone/iPad)– This personified budgeting bot is like hiring a very smart accountant who pinches every penny. Albert monitors your payments and alerts you to money saving opportunities, and even transfers money to your savings accounts to optimize your return. The app comparison feature shops for you, alerting you when insurance or credit card rates are too high. In the future, more budgeting apps will follow in the footsteps of Albert and connect to your bank, investment, insurance, and other financial accounts.
Mint – If you started out with one of the first and most popular digital budgeting tools, Mint, no doubt your virtual financial world has expanded as it has grown into a robo-budgeter. Mint links to bank accounts, investment accounts, and your bills to act like a personal finance coach. You will receive alerts if your spending habits are out of line, you have gone over budget, when bills are due. It will even alert you if fees are unusual or too high. This is one app that is accountable for how it is doing in assisting you with managing your money. As a check of how wisely you are managing your money, credit score updates with advice on how to maintain a good credit rating are provided.
These budgeting-bots are gaining more access to your financial accounts than many financial advisors have. Your virtual financial services should provide the strongest encryption and security measures. The most advanced solutions are moving toward biometric security solutions, so neither a human or robot can completely replace you.