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A smarter app looks at your wallet

They promise to turn you down to save more, negotiate your bank payments, cover overdrafts, and help pay off your debt. They will even make you happy when you spend wisely նեն remind you that your bills are over.

These are the latest developments in personal financial management tools with an emphasis on personal.

Such money management software is not new. Kickin, the grandmother of the industry, started in the 1980s to make bill payment and budgeting easier to develop, as the industry did. Two of the best programs, Mint և Credit Karma, are over 10 years old.

But as artificial intelligence becomes more sophisticated, these tools, which are almost all programs, multiply. It is almost impossible to say how many there are, but it seems that new ones come on the market almost every day.

They are “more intuitive, more developed,” says Chanel Beset, NerdWallet, a personal finance banker who offers her own budgeting program. “These programs get to know their users much better. “Users feed them information on how they spend, it helps make forecasts even better.”

Apps, in fact, tend to be almost as good as a live personal advisor, but one for which you do not pay much և that can live in your pocket. Some charge a monthly or annual subscription; others are free և earn money through referral fees they collect when a user buys promotional financial goods or services on the site.

“In the past, their mission was to make budgeting easier for consumers, but now they’re really creating features that allow consumers to buy stocks, apply for loans, and automatically save them all on one platform,” said Anisha Kotapan, CB Insights’ fintech analyst. which tracks business trends.

Companies are trying to stand out in a crowded market, while some combine more functions to attract users, others aim to specialize.

Such programs are especially known for setting budget goals. In this area, Mint, PocketGuard get You Need A Budget often top the “best” lists.

Like all of these tools, they require a user credit card, banking, and other financial information to track expenses, income levels, and then automatically categorize them.

Everyone offers a slightly different option. Mint provides free credit rating checks as often as you want (this is a “soft” check so it does not hurt your credit score). You need a budget, also known as a YNAB, to rely on a system called a zero budget, where every dollar is credited to your account, such as vacation expenses, emergency fund, and more.

“We really want people to be proactive rather than responsive,” said Essay Mecham, founder of YNAB. “People think that budgeting means that they predict what they will prepare and what they will spend. We teach people to budget only with the money you have now. We want people to change their behavior, it comes with changing their mindset. ”

Other tools are more focused on automatic savings և investments. they have become more and more creative, they are like a game. Qapital is affiliated with the If This then That Internet service, which allows users to create savings և investment rules.

For example, the Qapital app can connect to your Fitbit so that every time you reach your goal (say, walk 10,000 steps) or fail to reach someone (say, not getting enough sleep), you are investing money in one of your savings or investment goals. Or it may not be related to anything you do. Just wear some socks when the temperature reaches 75 degrees, it rains or when you visit your favorite place.

As natural language development, part of artificial intelligence, becomes more refined, some of these programs build relationships with their users. Charlie, a debt-focused program, is a chatbot-based penguin that serves as a supportive companion.

“Charlie is celebrating your progress, no matter how small or big,” said Ilian Georgy, Charlie’s co-founder and CEO. “One thing we have always heard is that people want an environment without judgment.”

If you want something that will actively help you reduce your costs, some companies have services that look for ways to lower your bills or get rid of boring fees. Allocation is one of the more popular tools. Rare one based on a website rather than an app that, by the way, identifies recurring charges such as subscriptions to make sure you still want them. It can also negotiate with your internet, cable or telephone company to reduce your payments.

Cushion scans users’ downloaded credit cards, bank statements (how often it checks, depending on the level of subscription you pay for) for overdrafts, said Paul Keservani, the company’s founder and CEO.

Cushion then negotiates with financial institutions, either through the bank’s secure portal (if the customer allows permission), via online chat on the bank’s website, or, if necessary, by traditional mail.

“The conditions for using a bank և credit card are so difficult that it is often easy for people to charge fees,” said Keservani.

It took four years for the data set և technology package to be created to accurately track bank payments, find out which negotiations to negotiate, decide how to approach each negotiation, and then automatically contact the bank on behalf of the consumer.

May angels and whistles can be fun, but the benefit of these apps is that they force users to confront how much they actually spend and where it ends up.

“Budget is a fundamental step in financial literacy, it just covers your expenses at the expense of your income, it is so enlightening,” Beset said.

Personal financial management tools can make it easy to budget, save, and invest, but you really need to use them. According to a report by CB Insights, one day after holding holds 23%, և a month later it falls below 6%.

And while users can jump և experiment with different apps – և try a combination of them to meet their specific needs, Beset noted that there are benefits to staying in one app for years. “I have been using mint for about eight years, it contains all my historical data, which makes it much easier to see the trends,” he said.

Because users provide their most valuable financial information, security and privacy are important.

Read the app privacy policy. “It’s best to look for a policy that promises to never sell your information to a third party,” said Paul Bischoff, editor of Comparitech, a technology research and comparison website that emphasizes cyber security and consumer privacy.

And while all financial management companies promise that your data will be stored in Virtual Fort Knox, “all software is safe until it is out,” Bishop said.

“It’s not that these apps are at greater risk of cracking than, say, your bank or any other institution, but” the more information people have, the greater the risk, “he said. “I did not intend to register in the programs, willy-nilly.”

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