How financially smart is your phone?

It's the epitome of easy money management, checking your finances while on the move, but where do you start with mobile money services and apps? And how protected are you if your phone gets lost or stolen?

Research by Nationwide shows that people believe online banking makes them more financially savvy: almost 60 per cent of us are more aware of our money and a third are more aware of our household's financial situation thanks to technology. So it's little surprise that connecting anytime, anywhere via phone is becoming a popular way of staying on top of our cash.

Text and emailed financial updates are already commonplace, providing regular mini statements, recent transaction information and "threshold alerts" when customers are running out of funds. But that's small change compared with the world of apps – from full account access, mortgage calculators, and meter readings to currency converters, real-time portfolio values, spread betting tools, and even software for working out how much this year's Christmas shopping will set you back.

Finding them is the tough part, with only a small percentage of the "app universe" regularly tapped. Most users go on the less than exact science of popularity and rankings to pick their mobile tools. By far the most prolific financial apps are budgeting tools, including PocketMoney from Catamount Software at £2.99, or the free lite version for iPhone. Homebudget, Splashmoney, Moneystrands and plenty of others all do similar things, including several that allow you to connect wirelessly with your accounts to make payments and transfers on the move. For Android platforms there's FireWallet and on Blackberry, PageOnce – Money and Bills tracks your accounts, portfolio values and even your Airmiles. Across all three, the free PayPal app allows you to send and receive money, withdraw funds and view historic transactions – even transferring cash by bumping your phone.

Elsewhere, loan tools like Alexander Hall's UK mortgage calculators help assess how much you can borrow, what your payments will be and compare re-mortgage options. Mysupermarket and a range of comparison shopping tools can help work out the best grocery deals. Debt Snowball is the well-known app that has become a debt repayment strategy in itself and the range of investment planning and monitoring tools such as PortfolioLive is growing by the day.

But Graham Cluley, a consultant for IT security company Sophos, warns that pressure to make life easy is opening doors for fraudsters. "People must ensure the apps they download are legitimate – originating from their bank rather than a kid sitting at a computer in their bedroom. On the Android platform, for example, there have been cases of apps set up to steal information from the user's phone.

"It's not as easy to detect typical phishing activity via your mobile, such as checking the origin of websites using the URL, as they may not be displayed. And be careful about requesting security details via text. If your mobile is lost or stolen, all the details are there.

"There is always a battle between functionality and security and consumer pressure is always to make things easier to use than more secure."

Cluley suggests installing an app that will help find your device, as well as apps or services through your provider that allow you to wipe the hard drive or lock your mobile remotely if it is lost or stolen.

Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown

News
Russia Today’s new UK channel began broadcasting yesterday. Discussions so far have included why Britons see Russia as ‘the bad guy’
news

New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain

Voices
Left: An illustration of the original Jim Crowe, played by TD Rice Right: A Couple dressed as Ray and Janay Rice
voices

By performing as African Americans or Indians, white people get to play act a kind of 'imaginary liberation', writes Michael Mark Cohen

Arts and Entertainment
music
Life and Style
fashion
PROMOTED VIDEO
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    The benefits of Recruitment at SThree...

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + Comission: SThree: SThree, International Recruitme...

    Trainee Recruitment Consultants

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35K: SThree: We consistently strive to be the...

    Finance Assistant - Part time - 9 month FTC

    £20000 - £23250 Per Annum pro rata: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Pro rata ...

    Marketing Manager

    £40 - 48k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Manager to join...

    Day In a Page

    The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

    The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

    Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
    The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

    Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

    Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
    Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

    Fall of the Berlin Wall

    It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
    Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

    What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

    Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
    A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

    Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

    Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
    Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

    'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

    A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

    Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

    The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
    Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

    Paul Scholes column

    Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
    Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

    Frank Warren column

    Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
    Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

    Adrian Heath's American dream...

    Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
    Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

    Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

    Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
    Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

    A Syrian general speaks

    A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
    ‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

    ‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

    Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
    Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

    Fall of the Berlin Wall

    History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
    How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

    Turn your mobile phone into easy money

    There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes