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Welcome to the exciting world of fintech

Welcome to the exciting world of fintech

Most people limit their smartphone use to making and receiving calls, exchanging texts, checking emails and surfing the web.

Other people, though, think of their mobile devices as powerful financial tools that can be used for everything from setting payments and making budgets to trading shares and insuring valuables.

Welcome to the world of fintech, or financial technology, which has grown rapidly in the past five years and which is set to explode in the next five years.

What are the best fintech apps to use? We’ve compiled a mix of trusted favourites and exciting newcomers to help you get the most out of your smartphone.

Banking

Mobile banking apps allow consumers to transfer money, pay bills, check account balances, view transaction histories and access special offers.

ANZ, Commonwealth Bank, NAB, Westpac all have mobile banking apps.

So do all the best-known non-major lenders, such as Bendigo Bank, ING Direct, Macquarie Bank, St George and Suncorp Bank.

Many smaller lenders, like CUA, Heritage Bank and ME Bank, also have mobile banking apps.

Consumers can also use the PayPal app to transfer money to account holders in more than 100 countries, using just their email address or mobile number.

Budgeting

Mint is a money manager that allows you to keep track of your bank accounts, credit cards, bills and investments. “See bills and money in one place. Get alerts and schedule payments on the spot. Say goodbye to late fees.” Mint provides users with custom tips for reducing fees and saving money. Time magazine named it one of its 50 best apps of 2016.

YNAB says it will give you total control of your money. “You’ll stop overdrafting, pay off your credit card debt, your stress levels will plummet and you’ll achieve financial peace.” You can access all your bank accounts from one place and share finances with your partner. The app will also help you set budgeting goals and track your progress.

The Australian Taxation Office app will help you conduct both your tax and super affairs. You can record and manage expenses and trips, relating to your work as an employee, your business as a sole trader or other general expenses. You can also upload your myDeductions records to your tax return at tax time or email a copy to your tax agent.

Currency conversion

Apps like XE Currency, Easy Currency Converter and Currency Converter not only allow you to monitor multiple currencies simultaneously, but also offer real-time updates, historic graphs and offline mode.

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Digital wallets

Google Pay and Apple Pay allow consumers to make credit or debit card payments with their smartphones. You need to register the cards you want to use – but not all Australian lenders participate.

ANZ, Commonwealth Bank, NAB and Westpac also offer mobile payment apps, as does PayPal.

Venmo can also be used to make purchases, but many people use it to reimburse friends in social situations, such as splitting a bill at a restaurant.

Insurance

Trov allows Australian residents to insure individual items from their phone. Insurable items include computers, mobile devices, wearables, gaming devices and household appliances. You can turn protection on and off whenever you like. You can then swipe to claim for damage, loss or theft and use SMS to file claims.

My eVault is a one-stop storage facility for your insurance policies, warranties, receipts, travel documents and important photos. You can set reminders to tell you when your policies and warranties are about to expire. You can also quickly search purchase details, record customer service phone numbers and save instruction manuals.

Investing

ANZ, Commonwealth Bank, NAB and Westpac all offer share trading apps.  

For something different, Acorns will help you save spare change from your everyday purchases and invest it into a diversified portfolio of stocks and bonds.

Peer-to-peer lending

Consumers can use peer-to-peer lending marketplaces to not only borrow money, but also invest money – that is, earn a yield by lending it to others.

Marketplaces include DirectMoney, Marketlend, MoneyPlace, RateSetter, SocietyOne and ThinCats.

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This article was reviewed by Personal Finance Editor Alex Ritchie before it was published as part of RateCity's Fact Check process.

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