5 Tools that Make It Easier To Manage Your Money Online

How often do you visit your local bank branch? When was the last time you wrote a check that wasn’t for rent or mortgage? Given the myriad online tools we have at our disposal, there are some peoople who can’t recall the answers to the previous questions. There are even some people who pay mortgage and rent online, thereby eliminating almost all need for a bank branch or checkbook.

We couldn’t make these systems work if it weren’t for powerful online tools. Throughout the years we’ve seen these tools evolve, going from fledgling systems to comprehensive financial solutions. Best of all, there are different tools that accomplish different financial tasks. Combine them, and you have a smooth, secure online financial management system.

While there are many, many alternatives to each, here are a few that provide simple, easy ways for individuals and businesses to manage their finances online.

1. Mint.com

It amazes me that not everyone uses Mint.com to get an overview of their finances. Perhaps it’s because people are afraid to input their banking information into a third party application. But as countless web companies have been hacked in the last year, Mint has stood firm. Its secure platform makes it the ideal way to get an overview of your finances.

The system works in a perfectly simple manner. You input your account information for banks, credit cards, investments, and liabilities (such as mortgage). Every time you open Mint.com, or one of its smartphone or tablet apps, you get a glance at your overall financial picture. It lets you know how much money you have (and how much you owe), and then gives you a breakdown of your spending — including suggested budget.

Anyone serious about getting a grasp of their finances will check out Mint’s financial management tools.

2. Quickbooks

Accounting is a pain. If you are a traditional employee and have a single source of income it might be easy, but that’s an increasingly rare condition in modern times. More often we see people working for multiple companies on a contract basis. Combine that with investments, and it can create a murky accounting situation.

You can hire an accountant, sure, but then you have to pay a skilled worker. That can be costly. Using software like QuickBooks to manage your accounting will reduce that cost considerably. If you have a base of knowledge yourself, you might be able to cut out the accountant completely. QuickBooks takes care of all your income needs, making tax season that much easier.

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Check it out if you need a way to manage multiple income streams.

3. WePay

Years ago we might have put PayPal here. It was one of the only ways to send and receive money online in a secure manner. But users have risen up against PayPal and its customer-unfriendly ways. Many alternatives have sprung up lately, among them WePay. Anyone who needs to send invoices needs to use this software to make the process easier.

Not only does it allow freelancers and small businesses to create simple invoices, but it also handles fees in a much more customer friendly way than PayPal. At 2.9 percent for credit cards and 1 percent for bank accounts, contractors stand to save plenty of money. The 4 percent rate for PayPal seems downright criminal.

If youneed an invoicing and online payment solution, check out WePay’s online invoicing software.

4. Toshl

One of Mint’s only shortcomings is that it doesn’t truly capture what you spend. When you pay with a credit or debit card it does, but if you pay by cash you have to enter transactions manually (and there are some issues with double-counting ATM withdrawals). An automatic system that requires some manual input just doesn’t work. That’swhy Toshl is great for tracking your expenses.

Complete with its mobile apps for iPhone and Android, Toshl is a great tool for keeping an item-by-item log of your spending. Once you understand your spending habits, you can then take action to change them. But until you do, you might be in the dark — even if you use an app like Mint.

You can check out Toshl’s expense tracker to help get your finances in line.

5. CapitalONe 360

When interest rates plummeted in 2008, savings accounts became far less valuable. Yet there were a select few that continued to pay above-average industry rates — even if above average is still a pittance. One of those few was ING Direct. Without the overhead of operating physical branches, they were able to continually pay out above-average interest rates.

Recently CapitalOne acquired ING Direct and rebraned it CapitalOne 360. It’s the same high-interest service, just under a different umbrella. Managing your account is as simple as connecting it to a bank account and making regular deposits. You’ll get your above-average interest with ease.

If you want to dump some money from your zero-interest checking account, check out the new CapitalOne 360 online savings account.

Article written by

Joe Pawlikowski writes, edits, and consults for several technology blogs across the web. He keeps a personal blog at JoePawl.com.

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