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Your essential finance apps
Tan Jee Yee 
Your smartphone could be your main financial planning device. You just need to have the right apps for it – Pixabay
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IT IS undeniable that by using smartphones, computers and the right software, technology can help you save money and manage your finances.

It’s not just about having the convenience of a device that can calculate numbers quickly or display your finances in a useful, digestible form. It is also to inculcate good financial management behaviour and encourage money-saving habits in the process.

There will never be a shortage of helpful finance apps in the digital space today, and that’s also sort of the problem. With so many of them floating about, it’s hard to know which apps are truly useful to you and relevant in the Malaysian context. For instance, being able to use an app in our own currency would be useful, or one that ties into our other local financial services.

What we’ve done here is do some of the filtering for you. These are some of the more essential smartphone apps that can help manage your finances or potentially develop some useful financial habits.

 

My Tabung

Financial adviser Mohammad Ridzuan says that a good local-centric financial app can be found in My Tabung. “The app was launched by Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) for the regular user in mind. It covers most financial management features that Malaysians would need,” he says.

My Tabung allows users to input their incomes, set budgets and record their expenses in a bid to track cash and credit movements. The app also makes it easy to view the remaining amount left in the budget you’ve set for each category – transport, food, medication, entertainment, for instance – and control your expenses accordingly.

The data is displayed in an easy-to-view manner, so truly, the app is designed for casual users in mind. What more, My Tabung comes with financial advice and tips on how to manage your finances prudently.

“Another benefit to My Tabung is that it doesn’t require any special permission to install and run,” Ridzuan says. Most apps would require permission from the user to access certain features on the phone, which can be a security concern.

“This makes the My Tabung app safer to use than others.” Additionally, BNM reportedly doesn’t store any of the users’ information on their servers.

The app is available for free on Android and iOS devices.

 

Money Lover

Finance management apps doesn’t get any more comprehensive than Money Lover, which has won several awards including a Best of 2016 app win. The app allows users to track their normal spending, create budgets, monitor debt and set saving goals.

Money Lover gives you the capability to synchronise your financial management across multiple devices

Beyond that, the app also has a bill reminder feature to help you keep track of your bills and avoid missing their deadlines. It has a built-in finance calculator to help you instantly compute compounding interest rates, especially helpful when deciding on which financial products to purchase. There’s even a feature to scan receipts and have the total automatically added to your list of expenses.

Money Lover gets bonus points by allowing you to set the currency to ringgit, and it can also link with local bank services, including Maybank and RHB Bank. You need to create a Money Lover account to start using the application, which also gives you the capability to synchronise your finance management across multiple devices.

The app is available for free, though paying RM43 for the full version gives you access to features like being able to export your data into Microsoft Excel or CSV files, as well as removing ads.

“For people starting out to track their finances, I generally recommend they give Money Lover a try. It has everything you’ll need and some useful features,” says financial coach Josephine Koh.

 

Touch Style

Another local flavour, Touch Style, is released by Bank Rakyat. With its clean interface and uncomplicated features, Touch Style won’t exactly offer too much in terms of unique features. The app is more than capable of helping you track your spending daily as well as view your commitments against your incomes.

It’s useful for setting up savings goals, too. The app can help to calculate and tell you just how much you need to put aside to achieve your savings deadline. Registering an account with the app allows you to track your finances across different devices as well.

Perhaps the most useful would be its financing calculator. Since this is a Bank Negara app, the rates here are sourced directly as per the bank’s products or input. Overall, Touch Style may not innovate but if you want a fuss-free app with useful features, you can’t go wrong with it.

 

Fast Budget

“For those who have trouble keeping track of credit card expenses, I recommend Fast Budget,” says Ridzuan. The financial planner says in most situations, keeping tabs on credit card expenditure is harder than cash because buyer’s remorse hits slower when purchasing via credit.

“You don’t see your cash diminishing from your wallet, making you think that you have sufficient money left in your bank account.”

Fast Budget allows you to input credit limits, interest rates and due dates. So long as you keep keying in the amount charged to your credit card, the app will help you monitor when repayments are due. You can, of course, set a spending capacity to avoid exceeding your credit limit.

Besides that, Fast Budget is also a competent financial tracker, letting you view your incomes and expenses with a quick summary based on the day, week, month or year. You can also use the app to generate pie and bar charts for a graphic overview of your expenses.

The free version is quite extensive though paying for the premium version (RM10) makes it ad-free and allows you to export data in Excel form. Opting for the premium version will also give you access to a “hidden wallet”, which allows you to add income and expenses from a small business or hobby without it interfering with the regular tally.

 

Luno

So you’re intending to get into Bitcoin. Where do you go next? When it comes to an app to help manage your new digital currency, Luno is a must-have.

For starters, the app is an easier way to purchase Bitcoin. After signing up to the service, you can use Luno’s Instant Buy feature to convert your local currency to Bitcoin, which makes it a lot easier than having to search out Bitcoin owners on your own. You will need to deposit money to your Luno wallet first, though, which can be done via bank transfer and other money transfer means.

The quick conversion between local and digital currency may be its strongest feature, but Luno is also a good wallet for storing and accessing your Bitcoin, allowing you to send and receive Bitcoin to anyone with an email address, mobile number or Bitcoin wallet. You can also use it to make online payments using Bitcoin through QR codes or by sending the digital money straight to wallet addresses.

It can also be used to monitor price changes of Bitcoin. Storage on Luno uses advanced multi-signature and cold storage methods, so you can be assured of its safety.



This article first appeared in Focus Malaysia Issue 258.