Banks and financial services companies are rushing to launch new applications for users of smartphones – such as iPhones and BlackBerrys – as consumers increasingly manage their money on a mobile phone.
This week, Aviva launched its Time to Act app for the iPhone, a free pensions planning tool, while Unbiased.co.uk has launched an app to help users find an independent financial adviser (IFA) in their area.
Mobile banking is even becoming more popular than internet banking, research this week found.
According to Monitise,
a company that provides mobile banking services, mobile banking users with smartphones check their accounts three times more often a month than those who use online banking.
Here, then, is a list of smartphone apps currently available to help people manage their finances.
Natwest (free) and Royal Bank of Scotland (free)
The Natwest and Royal Bank of Scotland apps are a simple form of online banking that let users check their account
balance and view a mini-statement. Users can set up and manage text alert services including balance updates. They can also set up a limit alert, whereby the bank sends the user a text when their account hits their upper or lower limit. The apps do not allow users to make payments or transfer money.
Fidelity UK (free)
Fidelity’s app allows users to search its range of more than 1,100 funds in its fund supermarket. Consumers can get the latest prices as well as creating a watch list of funds to get a quick snapshot of their funds’ performance.
The disadvantage of the app is that it does not let the user monitor their own portfolio of investments.
True Potential (free)
True Potential, the IFA services provider, has an app that is available to all clients of IFA firms signed up to the company’s database. The app enables users to access their portfolios and see real time valuations of their investments. It also provides a secure message tool which allows the consumer to email their adviser.
Aviva Time to Act (free)
Aviva has launched an app that shows users a range of estimated retirement incomes that they could get and how different investment styles would affect retirement income. Its “extra money” calculator shows how much tax relief users will get as a result of paying into a pension.
BenPal Pension Modeller (free)
This app from JLT Benefit Solutions lets users input details such as age, salary and pension savings, to work out how much their current pension pot is worth and how to create a better plan.
Mortgage Assist (free)
London & Country, the mortgage broker, provides users with details of the latest best buy mortgage deals as well as calculator tools to help homebuyers work out how much they can borrow and calculate their monthly mortgage payments.
The apps replicate each property company’s website, enabling users to search a location or postcode for properties. They then display a detailed list of properties available for sale or rent.
Findaproperty and Zoopla’s apps include a reality feature that uses the iPhone’s camera to provide an augmented reality view of the user’s location. Properties appear on the screen as “labels” where the user can see the distance to the property, its price and a thumbnail photo.
UK Salary Tax Calculator (free)
Users input their salary into the app, which
will then work out daily, weekly, monthly or annual figures of gross salary,
tax, national insurance, student loan and take-home pay. The calculator is helpful in showing the impact of changing jobs
or a pay rise.
What’s the rate (free)
Thomas Cook’s app is a currency converter that covers more than 80 currencies. The app also lets users compare the current exchange rates from
Thomas Cook and other high-street foreign exchange providers.
A nifty feature is its
RateWatch – this lets
users set up their own tailored currency alert with Thomas Cook alerting the user if the exchange rate hits the upper or lower limit they’ve selected.