FinTech: transforming your personal finances
By, Carla Hindman, Director of Financial Education, Visa Canada
Do you get stressed about managing your money? Many of us do, at one time or another. Whether you're trying to track your spending, or invest spare change, fintech (financial technology) can help ease your money worries.
Five Ways Fintech Can Help
Here are a few examples of how fintech services can help you with your personal finances:
- Budgeting easily and efficiently. Figuring out where you spend your money can be an eye-opening experience. There are countless budgeting apps and online calculators to help you track your spending in real time.
- Mobile Banking Apps. All of the Canadian banks offer banking apps that allow you to do a range of tasks from depositing a cheque to paying for your purchase. These apps are also great for tracking spending, sending transfers, and checking investment accounts on-the-go.
- Investing with minimal effort. Technology has made investing straightforward and inexpensive. Robo advisors are computerized investment management services that offer low fees, a simple setup and customized investment strategies. Using a robo advisor, you can let a computer create and manage your investment portfolio with just a few clicks. This option isn't for everyone, so do some research to see if this is a good fit for your needs.
- Comparing loan offers. If you're looking to borrow money, there are a variety of online services that allow you to enter information once and receive loan offers from competing lenders. The shopping tools let you compare interest rates and terms, which could save you money over the lifetime of the loan.
You might already be benefiting from fintech developments without realizing it. For example, new technology could be powering your bank's online chat service or suspicious activity alerts.
Keeping Your Finances and Information Secure
Even if a new app or service seems reputable, it's important to take steps to safeguard your finances and personal information
- Always research an app or service. Search the name of the app or company and look for reviews.
- Improve your password security. Password protection is hugely important aspect of online security. Don't use the same password for multiple accounts, financial or other, and try to use two-factor authentication, meaning you need two elements to login, so someone can't log in with your password alone.
- Use biometric authentication. Some banks offer biometric authentication that you can use to access your mobile banking app from your phone. Rather than type in a password, the phone's camera or microphone can verify your identity with your fingerprint, eye, face or voice.
- Enable location-based alerts. Geolocation tracking can add an extra layer of security to your account. With your permission, some banks can use GPS data from your smartphone to help verify that you're with your card when it's used for a purchase.
Bottom Line: Fintech is changing the way people save, spend, borrow and manage their money. Though there are important security elements to consider, these new innovative and intuitive services can really empower you to be an active manager of your own money.
This article is intended to provide general information and should not be considered legal, tax or financial advice. It's always a good idea to consult a tax or financial advisor for specific information on how certain laws apply to your situation and about your individual financial situation.