Managing personal finances once involved lots of paper. Then computer programs came along that helped simplify the process. Now a multitude of mobile apps are available to help people attend to money matters on the go.
Vanguard for the iPad
"It's very convenient to have it in your pocket on your phone," Garth Scrivner, senior investment counselor with StanCorp Investment Advisers, told TechNewsWorld. "It's just a convenience factor."
Many personal finance apps are provided by banks and investment firms to help their customers manage their accounts. Vanguard, for instance, has an app that lets its customers view balances and holdings, move money between banks and Vanguard accounts, buy and sell exchange-traded funds, look at transaction histories, research performance and prices, and view market news.
"Vanguard is a virtual service company," Julie MacArthur, senior manager in retail services, told TechNewsWorld. "We need to be where our investors are."
Vanguard launched its first mobile website back in 2007, before apps were all the rage. In 2009, it launched its first iPhone app, and in 2011, it launched apps for Android devices and the iPad.
Increasingly, customers expect their financial institutions to have apps that let them access and manage their money, MacArthur said. "Consumers have gotten comfortable interacting with banks through mobile devices. Investment management is a natural extension of that."
Vanguard's phone app focuses on numbers and text, but the iPad has opened up a whole new dimension for the app.
"The iPad app has more interactive content and charting, taking advantage of the larger screen," said MacArthur.
Apps that collect financial information from a variety of institutions are also becoming increasingly popular. One of the most well-known of these comes from Mint.com. Mint, which is owned by Intuit, sees the role of its website and mobile app as helping people better manage their money by seeing it all in one place.
Mint for the iPhone
"One of its key advantages is that it aggregates all your information," Ken Sun, a group product manager with Intuit (Nasdaq: INTU) Personal Finance Group, told TechNewsWorld. "It provides additional features, such as budgets and goals."
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