Technology has made it easier than ever to stay organized. With a few taps or even a simple voice command, you can streamline your to-do list, fill in your calendar, or ask Siri to jog your memory. Our devices have made work easier too, as is evidenced by the 67% of warehouses that use mobile gadgets to manage their inventory. And of course, it's becoming more common for families to keep track of their spending on their phones and tablets. But even though financial apps can make budgeting a breeze, many banks are now warning that some apps may hurt instead of help.
Some of us don't think twice about allowing an app access to our personal information, especially when we think we can trust its credentials. After all, letting an app access your Facebook friends list or send you notifications seems innocent enough. But many budgeting apps offer to analyze your spending to help you make smarter decisions. To do this, the app requires you to link your bank account to the app and prompts you to provide your online banking details. Chip, Cleo, Moneybox, OnTrees, and Money Dashboard are just a few of the apps that operate this way. The problem is, the security of these apps can't rival that of your bank, which could make you much more vulnerable to identity theft, fraudulent charges on your account, or even device takeover.
In addition, many UK-based banks have warned their customers that allowing a third-party budgeting app access to their accounts in this manner is actually a breach of their security rules. In other words, if your account was breached and subsequently drained of funds, your bank might not cover the loss.
Therefore, experts urge users to download and use a budgeting app only if they know it is reputable. Apple's App Store or Google Play are usually a good place to start, but you still need to employ a discerning eye. Do your research and read any and all reviews you can find before deciding on a budgeting app for your needs. For instance, you may want to choose a budgeting app that doesn't allow for money transferring and that takes extra precautions to encrypt and safeguard your information, like Mint. Once you do decide to download, make sure you're comfortable with its permission requests. Some apps will request access to permissions you may deem unnecessary, like your current location or other data. If your app needs sensitive information or stores financial details, take steps to safeguard your device with a password (or fingerprint) lock. Don't forget to log out of banking apps when you are finished with your session.
Without a doubt, budgeting apps can make saving money a lot simpler. But don't sacrifice security for convenience's sake. It's possible to have both; you'll just need to take the time to do a bit of investigation before you hand over your info.