In some ways, technology can make it easier to control your finances. However, some people fall into the tech trap and use whatever programs and applications that they come across to keep a tab on their finances. Unfortunately, new and cool does not necessarily mean useful and time saving. Some programs and services offered by banks, credit card companies or third parties can actually make things more confusing and complicated. Truly streamlining your banking process and gaining greater control over your finances and information about your finances requires a bit of planning and choosing those few programs, services and smart-phone applications that can work together to make your financial life easier.
Here are some useful, not gimmicky tech products and services that can make your finances easier to manage. Most of these services have already been proven to be useful over time.
Online bill pay is one of the simplest ways that the internet has changed the way people take care of their finances. Online bill pay not only makes checks and stamps unnecessary, it can make it easier to organize your monthly financial commitments and keep track of how much you have spent. Virtually every credit card company and many other services, from insurance firms to internet providers, also provide this option. Most companies and banks that offer online bill pay also provide automatic emails or text messages that remind the client when their payments are due.
Online checking takes many different forms. When you choose a brick and mortar bank, it can be beneficial to make sure that they offer online access to your checking accounts. You do not usually need an online account to make payments (the credit card companies will facilitate this), but so that you can keep track of your balances. If you are wondering about how much money that you have, instead of making a phone call or checking your last statement, you can simply log on and get the information in an instant. Even brick and mortar banks should be able offer some sort of online access with real time updates so that you can get to your information.
Some banks offer a service that will send a text message with your balance when you request it. Unfortunately, this can give you few details about your balance beyond what it is the last time that it was updated. Balance-texting services can be useful to check the balance, but it cannot give you the details, such as which payments have been applied to your balance and which haven’t.
Paypal is one of the most important internet money services to come along in the past two decades. It can act as an online bank, payment processor and checking account. Paypal is mostly used for sending money or making purchases over the internet. It can be useful for purchasing things over the internet and also for sending money oversees without paying excessive fees to wire the money. There are credit and debit cards that can be obtained through Paypal that can make it possible to easily access money kept in your account. It is also easy to keep track of your balance because purchases are almost instantly registered on the web site.
The IRS allows people filing basic tax returns to file online. The so called E-file service allows people who are filing a simple 1040 can do so on the internet. There are many online sites offering to help people do their taxes or offering software to help them complete their tax returns more quickly. Turbo Tax is the most popular of these programs. These programs can make it easier to sift through the confusing process of completing tax forms. They are generally cheaper than hiring a tax accountant or tax service to do their forms for them.
Nick Maddux has been blogging about technology for 3 years; he currently contributes to blogs that deal with credit score and how to manage your budget.