How Finance Apps Are Changing the Way Millennials Save

Mary Kelly shares five apps that offer savvy millennials (and others) personal money management options.

For Entrepreneurs: Wally

Wally is a free expense tracking app, ideal for keeping tabs on spending and disposable (after tax) income. Wally is great for entrepreneurs and small businesses.  The app allows you to take pictures of receipts and automatically inputs all the details of the purchase, saving you time. The best part is that all data can be exported into PDF format, which makes tracking business expenses for tax purposes an absolute breeze. No need to worry about adding up receipts on the backs of travel envelopes.  For business deductions, the IRS still wants paper proof, but Wally makes the process easier.

For Building and Maintaining Credit: Credit Karma

For the millennial looking to maintain a favorable credit score, there are few better personal finance apps than Credit Karma. Aside from allowing you to generate free credit reports (offering metrics such as credit card utilization, percent of payments made on time, average age of credit lines, total accounts, credit inquiries, derogatory marks, total debt and debt-to-income ratio) on the go, the app monitors spending patterns and suggests credit card or loan offers that are better suited for your needs — further improving your financial outlook. The app also offers identity-theft protection, alerting users if a new line of credit has opened in their name.

For the Wannabe Day-Trader: Acorns

Acorns is a savings app that allows you to invest your spare change in ETFs or exchange-traded funds for just $1 a month. Simply link your checking account and credit cards, and Acorns rounds your purchases to the nearest dollar and invests them in a fund (ranging from conservative to aggressive) suitable for your level of risk tolerance.  

For people looking to start investing in the market but don’t know how, or for those who want to be cautious, this app may be helpful.  Acorns has to file the same tax reports required of any other financial investment company, so they need all of that same data, just as your birthday and social security number, and the need to be linked to a working bank account. Acorns is NOT for those paranoid about security.

For Saving: Digit

Digit is a great app for today’s fast-paced economy. Unlike Acorns, Digit closely tracks income and spending patterns and sets aside an amount of money it assesses you don’t need. The balance is placed in a separate account that Digit manages, and it offers a guarantee to never overdraft your account. For those living paycheck to paycheck, the app is a pain-free way to save money you didn’t know you had. On average, Digit saves users 5.5 percent of their overall income.

For Budgeting: Level Money

Level Money is a self-proclaimed mobile money-meter. Once connected to your bank account, the app automatically calculates income and recurring bills, and then ultimately suggests a monthly, weekly and daily budget. The app also has an auto-save feature — any extra income that goes unspent from the budget is rolled over into a savings account.

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