According to a 2013 Pew Research study, more and more Americans are taking advantage of the convenience of mobile banking. In fact, 35 percent of U.S. adults who own a cell phone report that they've used their mobile device for banking purposes. That's up from just 18 percent in 2011.
With this rise in mobile banking, it's clear that smartphones have become an integral part of modern money management. From tracking expenses to finding the best price on groceries, today's mobile devices can perform a wide array of helpful financial planning services -- if they're armed with the right applications. Here are eight of the most popular personal finance and budgeting apps currently on the market:
Mint: If you're looking for one place to track all of your financial activity, look no further than Mint. This app allows users to consolidate all of their finances -- including bank accounts, credit cards, retirement accounts, and loans -- in one place so they can track their account balances, create a budget, and ensure that bills are paid on time. Even more, Mint allows users to track transactions that involve digital currencies like Bitcoin. This free app is available for both Android and iPhone devices.
Budgt: This iPhone app, which costs $1.99, helps users track their daily spending so they can easily stay within their budgets. In order to simplify the process, Budgt can put spending items into different detailed categories and create pie charts for users to reference when they need to quickly see where their money is going. The app also has a travel feature that converts currency, so users can stay on track even when they're on vacation.
SavedPlus: This app -- available on Android and iPhone, as well as online -- allows users to save money without even thinking about it by automatically making transfers to their savings account whenever they make a purchase. Users are able to choose what percentage of every purchase they want to put away, as well as set limits on the dollar amount and types of purchases that will be included in the savings plan.
BillGuard: This app allows you to easily track the charges on your credit cards and alert you of any hidden fees, billing errors, or charges for free-to-paid services made on your accounts. In addition, BillGuard can protect you from scams and credit card fraud by keeping track of unauthorized charges on your accounts.
RedLaser: If you're searching for the best deals on consumer products, this app can help you find them. RedLaser allows you to scan any barcode and find out what that product costs at multiple stores in your area. And for your convenience, RedLaser gives you the option to actually buy the product on your mobile device and pick it up at a nearby store.
Skyscanner: This free app, which is available for iPhone, BlackBerry and Android, helps users find the best prices on air fares, car rentals, and hotel rooms by searching millions of offers worldwide. Once they've found the right deal, users are connected directly with the airline, travel agent, hotel, or rental company to make their purchase. Skyscanner currently offers services in over 29 languages and 70 currencies.
Wallaby: Credit cards all have perks, but it can be hard to keep track of which card is running a promotion when you're out and about. This app keeps track of this information for you and lets you know which credit card will give you the most bang for your buck before you make a purchase.
Earmark: If you're trying to save money for a big expense, such as going on vacation or buying a car, Earmark can help you stay on track. Through this app, every time you don't spend money on a small luxury, like going out to dinner or to the local coffee shop, you can transfer that money into your bank account to help you reach your goal.
"51% of U.S. Adults Bank Online," Pew Research Center, August 7, 2013, Susannah Fox, http://www.pewinternet.org/2013/08/07/51-of-u-s-adults-bank-online/
"Mint now lets you keep track of Bitcoins with its personal finance apps," Engadget, January 30, 2014, Billy Steele, http://www.engadget.com/2014/01/30/mint-tracks-bitcoin/