I have an interesting relationship with technology as it relates to money. I love what technology can do, in terms of helping us better manage our money, but I’m also somewhat reluctant to turn too much of my financial management over to technology.
There comes a time when too much of a hands-off approach leads to poor money management and can get you in trouble financially. Sometimes technology is more of a crutch than a help, especially when it doesn’t work. You have to know how to manage your finances manually, without the help of a computer or software.
However, I can see how technology can be a great help to spending money wisely and saving money. Here are some cool technology advances associated with money.
Mobile Bank Apps and Security
Earlier this year, USAA became the first U.S. financial institution to add facial and voice security to its banking app. I like this idea, since there are times I get nervous about the fact that my bank accounts can be accessed through my smartphone. I love the convenience, but I worry about what happens if my phone is lost or stolen.
There are steps you can take, such as installing an app that allows you to wipe your smartphone from a distance (I have this), as well as apps that allow you to locate your phone (I also have this).
But I like the idea of making your bank account inaccessible through biometric data. It’s another layer of protection you can use until you’re able to erase the data on your phone, or recover it.
Advances in Digital Wallets
For the last few years, I’ve been writing about the advent of digital wallets. I like the idea of digital wallets, since it’s a nice way to just use your phone to pay.
However, we’ve had to wait for merchants to upgrade point-of-sale equipment to accept the technology involved. And, of course, you run into security issues with digital wallets. What if your phone is lost or stolen and you don’t have your wallet? Do you really want to keep your ID and other important items on a phone that’s so easy to lose?
Even with that complication, I still really what digital wallets offer. The rise of Apple Pay, with such a major, trend-setting company now leading the charge, might actually spur a faster adoption of digital wallet technology.
Better Saving Automation
I’m also seeing more automation in finances. I recently signed up for Digit.co, and was surprised at how much I like this method of keeping track of my bank balances — and how much I like the automatic savings.
My finances are already largely automated, including my tax account, emergency fund, retirement account contributions, student loan payments, and more. But Digit adds another layer. The company uses an algorithm that examines your habits and then automatically transfers money into a savings account based on your spending. It’s a natural outgrowth of robo-advisors and other automated financial services.
Even with all this technology, though, I’m still reluctant to give everything over to artificial intelligence. I like to manually enter my spending into my personal finance software, and I still reconcile all of my accounts (credit cards, bank, investment, etc.) by hand each month.
Even with all of these new methods of putting things on automatic, I still enjoy having some sort of connection with my money.
How do you use technology to manage your money? Have you tried a digital wallet, or service like Digit, for convenience?