Ten Most Innovative Collaborative Consumption Websites

The Times recently named it as a “movement that’s going to change the world.”  Entire marketplaces have been influenced by the incredible ideas that have generated from it.  And when it comes to consumer spending, there’s nothing that compares to the economic power of collaborative consumption websites.

Not quite sure what this means?  Not to worry: chances are that if you’ve indulged in a bit of Ebay shopping or have rented a new apartment from Craigslist, then you’ve indulged in what’s known as “collaborative consumption.”  Collaborative consumption is a name that’s given to the movement where consumers purchase goods and items from each other, rather than from a third-party store or traditional merchant.  Also known as “peer-to-peer spending”, collaborative consumption relies on the concept that consumers should be free to name their own prices on the goods and services that they use the most.

In terms of the World Wide Web, collaborative consumption has become the order of the day – and it’s highly likely that you’ve indulged in this movement yourself.  So which websites are the heralds of the collaborative consumption movement?  Grab a cup of coffee, sit back and relax, because this article will highlight the ten most innovative collaborative consumption websites:

  1. Ebay: Undoubtedly the granddaddy of all collaborative consumption websites, Ebay has been connecting consumers the world over for over a decade.  Ebay members can upload items and set their own prices, while buyers can bid against other users to make the final purchase.
  2. Craigslist: This online marketplace is known as one of the greatest websites for collaborative consumption in the 21st century.  At Craigslist, users can surf through listings for apartments, vehicles, and other items that have been uploaded by members.
  3. ParkatmyHouse: If you’re looking for a place to park your car and commute into the city, then Park at my House will let you rent out another user’s driveway or parking space for a set price. Users can save plenty of money by paying for parking through private users, rather than through traditional (and expensive) parking garages.
  4. Carpooling:  If you want to do your part to protect the environment, then consider finding your carpooling buddy at Carpooling, a collaborative consumption website that connects users who want to share the commute to work.
  5. CampusBookRentals:  If you’re sick of experiencing sky-high bills from buying your college textbooks every semester, then you can visit CampusBookRentals, where you’ll find several users who are willing to rent out their textbooks for a small fee.
  6. Swap:  Have a few DVDs that you’re not interested in anymore?  Are you looking to upgrade your music collection without spending hundreds of dollars for the privilege?  Then head to Swap, where you’ll find a community of users who are looking to exchange their social media (such as DVDs and music) in exchange for your own.  Grab the DVDs and music you don’t want anymore and list them to start swapping for the latest songs and movies.
  7. CouchSurfing:  If you want to travel without racking up a major credit card bill, then head to CouchSurfing, where you’ll find users from different countries who are willing to let you sleep on their couches in exchange for a small fee or the promise of similar services.  It’s a great way to see the world without making a major dent in your bank account balance.
  8. BarterQuest: Consider yourself to be a great barterer?  Do you pride yourself on your ability to drive a hard bargain?  Then grab the gear you want to toss and head to BarterQuest, where you’ll find users interested in exchanging their goods in favor of your own.  You have the freedom to determine what you receive from your bartering skills, so be sure to sharpen up on your haggling before making the deal.
  9. GrubWithUs: If you’re looking to enjoy the local restaurant scene with a new group of people, then join up with GrubWithUs, a collaborative consumption website that allows you to connect with fellow foodies, post reviews and share tips.

What Type Of Savings Account Is Right For You?

Saving is on everyone’s mind these days and especially so given that so many people are having a hard time making ends meet. But if you have the money to save, it’s never been easier, especially with so many banks offering a variety of online tools, mobile apps, and more.  Many of the new cell phones on the market allow you access to bank apps, through which you can make deposits and keep track of everything pertaining to your savings account no matter where you are. For those that don’t already have a savings account, or might be looking to switch up from their checking account, here’s a basic overview of the different savings accounts that might work best for you:

Traditional Savings Accounts

These are the most common account types that you can buy into. All you need to do is deposit your money with bank to open an account and you will earn a certain amount of interest each month. Account minimums vary from $1 to a few hundred dollars depending on the bank. Interest rates and other features vary as well. It’s usually a good idea to shop around for rates and features before opening a new bank account.

Passbook Account

This is another kind of savings account but the bank gives you a booklet in which to to record your transactions. This includes any withdrawals you make, deposits, as well as the interest you’ve made on your account. These types of accounts are very useful because they’re FDIC insured for any amount up to $250,000. The figure goes even higher when it’s a retirement account. There are usually few fees that are applied to such accounts and works very similarly to a traditional savings account. The same goes for the low interest rate.

High Yield Savings Account

These accounts, just like passbook accounts, are also FDIC insured but you’re going to earn a lot more interest. That’s why it’s called a high yield account. Traditionally, the higher the balance you keep in your account, the greater the interest rate the bank will give you. However, with these types of accounts, you usually can’t use checks. In some cases you can gain access to the account through your checking account and transfer money that way, if needed.

It’s not hard to start and manage a savings account. It seems that the biggest problem these days is finding the money to actually put in an account.  Speak with a banking professional to figure out which option would work best for you.


How Important is it to Create a Savings Account?

Are your financial stresses killing you? Are you spending sleepless nights wondering about your spurring financial obligations? If answered yes, and you’re still not able to figure out the actual problem that is keeping you from sleeping tight, you must take a look at your personal finances. It is most likely that your financial stresses are trying to catch up to you. With the present debt situation in the US, all citizens are drowning in a sea of debt and are confused about the ways to adopt in order to tread on the right financial track. Without effective personal finance management, it is almost impossible to treat your rising financial obligations and lead a debt free life. Most people say that creating a high yield savings account is a good way of saving for the future and managing an emergency fund. Read on to know more on it.

Your guide to opening a high yield savings account

The high yield savings account is nothing but a competitive savings account and usually there are some perks to such accounts and you may enjoy a high APY or Annual Percentage Yield. Usually most banks love to offer high yield savings account to their valued customers. Here are some requirements of a high yield savings account.

  1. You need to keep a high balance over time
  2. You need to limit the transactions in and out of the account
  3. You have to maintain other banking relationships
  4. You may also have to make a sufficiently large deposit initially

Maintaining a high-yield savings account is a handy decision when it comes to saving money and making it grow in the near future. Just make sure that you follow the daily rate updates so that you get to use the best high yield savings account.

What are the other things apart from a savings account?

If you’re keen on managing your financial stress, you must also take some other steps apart from creating a high yield savings account. Check out some such steps.

  1. Become financially prudent: Financial ignorance leads to debt in most cases. Unless you know what steps you’re taking and what effect it may have on your financial life, it’s better you don’t take them at all. Get yourself educated on all finance issues so that you may take an informed and measured decision.
  2. Get rid of your high interest debts: High interest debts have an adverse impact on your credit score and on your personal life. The sooner you get rid of them, the sooner you can become financially fit. Manage your finances in such a manner that you repay your debts and get back on the right financial track.
  3. Follow a budget: A frugal budget must also be followed in order to keep a close watch on your income and expenses and monitor your savings. Craft a budget that can be followed throughout the month so that you can easily get to know where your pennies are going.
  4. Cut short the usage of your credit cards: You must cut short the usage of your credit cards so that you don’t dig yourself deeper into the high interest debt hole. Carry cash instead of credit so that you can easily stop shopping when you exhaust the cash in your wallet and stay out of debt.

If you’ve followed the personal finance management steps mentioned above, you can clearly see where you’re heading in the financial process. Don’t forget to create a high-yield savings account and save money in that account to keep on creating a rainy day fund for the future.


Fairbanking Foundation Marks Awarded to Financial Products is a Good Beginning.

The Fairbanking Foundation is a charity which aims at evaluating banking providers in its accreditation scheme. Their objective is to encourage banking providers to help improve the financial well-being of its customers. The foundation believes that such providers like banks, building societies and others have or owe a duty of care to their customers and even the country. They should collectively act for the common good.

The Fairbanking programme of awarding marks is aimed at that objective and has to coax the industry to move in a customer oriented direction. If there is a credit evaluation for customers, where the individual is given Credit Scores, subject to Credit Checks then, he has to get a Free Credit Report to monitor his status. So why not an evaluation for banking providers and products. This approach now is relevant  as the recent banking crisis saw bail-outs to this sector being made using taxpayers money. 

Fairbanking Mark Awards
2011 Fairbanking Mark

After evaluating 250 odd current accounts and other financial products eligible, such as,  current accounts with and without overdraft facility, savings accounts and credit cards, offered by more than 40 institutions, Fairbanking Marks were announced. Only four made the mark! The four were awarded the lowest mark of Three Star by Fairbanking.

They were-

  • ‘Your Savings Goal’ a tool provided by RBS/NatWest
  • Goal Saver account provided by Saffron Building Society
  • the non-overdraft current account provided by Secure Trust Bank
  • the non-overdraft current account provided by ThinkBanking.

Royal Bank of Scotland/NatWest’s ‘Your Savings Goal’

This product is more of a tool that can be used on any of the bank’s savings products. If it suits your savings goals, such as, a car, a holiday, or a wedding, then it can be used . You can, using the online banking tool, choose the goal, calculate the ideal savings plan and track your progress online. The product is presented both with graphics and numbers. Your can find out how much to save for how long to reach one or more goals.

Saffron Building Society’s Goal Saver account

This online savings account has a competitive interest rate. It is monitored according to 10 best online accounts published by Moneyfacts. Access is allowed to your money without penalties whenever you are in need of it. It can be opened online as part of the society’s Saffron Money Tree services. The product helps you to work out how much you need to save for specific goals. Then you use the Society’s plan to work out your saving.

Secure Trust Bank’s Current Account

Secure Trust Bank is listed and regulated like others, by the FSA and affiliated to the Financial Compensation Scheme. Their Current Account is an account designed to help you manage your money and is open to all. The account does not collect bank charges or fees for bounced Direct Debits or standing orders but has a £12.50 monthly fee. The account comes with a Master Card Prepaid Card which has to be loaded before spending . Thus it is separated from your money in the Current Account. The Prepaid Card can give you cash rewards on purchases made both online and in store. At participating retailers. You can stay informed of transactions by phone or internet.

Thinkbanking’s Current Account.

This banking account is a current account service designed by the Think Money Group and run by RBS. This non-overdraft current account comes with a tool which adds a payment forecasting feature that helps customers to analyse spending and set budgets. This non-debt current account sets aside money the customer needs to pay for bills. The rest is automatically put into a card account. Funds for spending are taken from here and prevents from overdrawing by customers. This ThinkBanking account is open to all and even for one with a poor credit history. Customers are not charged overdraft fees.

These awarded products will be able to display the Fairbanking mark on their brochures and web pages. Fairbanking is not a consumerist and try to balance their act between interest of customer, the banking industry and the country. The usefulness of these products cannot be underestimated as inflation has had a bad effect on savings. Around 10% of Britons have stopped savings, according to some reports. The Fairbanking view is that banks have a responsibility to act in the common good. According to its Director Antony Elliot, the rating and mark intends to improve the non-price competition among banks and improve awareness in the consumer and industry. Fairbanking is a not-for-profit  research based charity. The foundation works to creating mutual financial benefit between the provider and the customer.


The End of the Cheque?

With cheques due to be phased out entirely by 2018, what is the future for those without access to electronic banking? A recent report suggests the elderly will be particularly vulnerable.

While some may see the end of the cheque as an opportunity to revisit all of their financial affairs, others will only see the downside.

Research published this month by Age UK shows that 73% of the older population still use cheques as a means of payment. Thus any moves to stop accepting cheques entirely would fall disproportionately on them.

The report says that cheques should be regarded as part of the same category as utilities such as electricity or water – an essential part of modern life and not something that should be swept away when so many people are still in need of it.

The government’s Treasury Committee were told last year that the end of cheques could result in an increase in the numbers of elderly people without access to Internet Banking hoarding cash at home, or carrying it with them to pay bills.

This would increase the vulnerability of this section of our society by increasing the amount of cash on their person and in their homes, making them a more tempting target for robbery or burglary.

Even without this, the loss of cheques could force them to rely on friends and family for control of their finances, especially if they have to rely on Internet Banking to make payments.

The beginning of the end is already in sight for the much-loved cheque, as the Cheque Guarantee Scheme ends at the end of June 2011.

Although cheques can still be written and honoured after this date, the sums will no longer be guaranteed by the banks.

The first guaranteed cheque was written in 1965 and an industry-wide scheme was introduced four years later.

At the moment, a cheque that is written and is backed by the scheme will be honoured if below a certain amount.

Without this guarantee, those receiving payment by cheque cannot be sure that the payment will reach them. If a cheque is issued without enough money in the account to cover it, for example, then without the Cheque Guarantee Scheme, it can be rejected by the bank and sent back without payment.

This lack of security means that it will become more and more risky for companies to accept cheques and more of them will begin to think that it is no longer worthwhile to accept them at all.

None of the major supermarket chains accept cheques any more and it is only a matter of time now before they are phased out completely for everyone.

The Payments Council – the body in charge of payments strategy – has proposed that cheques will no longer be able to be used for payment by anyone after 31 October 2018.

Although there will be a final review of the future of cheques in 2016 to ensure that the date can be met, it seems that the future of our payments is to be paperless.


What is Factoring and How Does it Work?

Is your business short on cash? Are you looking for a quick fix to handle your money problem? It may sound like a commercial, but AR factoring isn’t a gimmick.

AR factoring stands for accounts receivable factoring and it works to give your business a quick solution to low cash flow. As a business owner, or manager of finances, you know that cash is king. Having liquid assets and cash makes your business more flexible and dynamic.

To get started, your company will compile it’s invoices that haven’t been paid and sell them over to a factoring service for a lump sum. The factoring service will then take over your accounts receivable and your clients will pay them.

There are 3 institutions involved with factoring, your business, the customer, and the factor. If you decide that AR factoring is right for your business, the factor will work to determine a price they will pay you, which will be a fraction of the accounts receivable.

Accounts Receivable Factoring

There are two types of factoring loans available to you.

Recourse Factoring

This type of factoring is a bit more risky. After getting the factored loan, your business will still be responsible for any funds that are not collected by your factor. If your business is in a low-risk industry this still may be an option for you because the factor will charge you a cheaper rate for their services. If you are in a high-risk industry, however, you may want to consider non-recourse factoring.

Non-Recourse Factoring

If you operate in an industry that is difficult to retrieve accounts receivable, you will want to consider non-recourse factoring rates. This type of loan is where the factor assumes risk if they are unable to collect your A/R. This option is typically more expensive, meaning that you will not receive as favorable a rate from the factor, but it will give you a quick cash fix for your business.

If you are unsure which route is best for you, you will want to speak with a factor about their success with your type of business. Factors take in to consideration credit worthiness of your customers. Each factor may have different criterion for credit worthiness, so you should always speak with multiple vendors for the best rates. Also take in to consideration that these people will also be dealing with your customers, and collecting money from them, so never do business with a factor you don’t trust. Getting your business cash in hand is sometimes a difficult process, but working with a reputable factor can give your business the cash push it needs.


Second Chance Bank Accounts – Life After ChexSystems

If you’ve recently tried – and failed – to open a bank account, your listing in ChexSystems is likely to blame.  You can try to get your name removed from ChexSystems, but, in the meantime, you still need a bank account.  And, if your name does stay in ChexSystems for the full 5 years, you will need a long-term banking solution.  Luckily, a second chance bank account can help.

What is second chance banking?

Second Chance Bank Accounts
Do You Need a Second Chance Bank Account?

Designed for people with financial problems – like being reported to ChexSystems – a second chance bank account can give you a fresh start, and provide you with the convenience of having a bank account.

Since they cater to people with financial issues, you will usually not have to go in for an interview or go through a credit check to get your second chance bank account.  A simple application is typically all you need.

Second chance banking is open to virtually anyone who is listed in ChexSystems.  The only way you might be turned down for a second chance bank account is if you were reported to ChexSystems for fraud.  However, some second chance banks will accept practically everyone in ChexSystems; you just have to find a bank that suits your needs.

So, what can you get out of second chance banking?  There are 7 benefits to getting a second chance bank account:

Your ChexSystems listing doesn’t matter. It can be frustrating, and downright embarrassing, to walk into bank after bank trying to open up an account.  With second chance checking, officials know you’ve had some problems, and they will not judge you for it.  Second chance bank accounts are far more lenient, even if your banking past isn’t so good.

A second chance bank account can help you boost your credit. Even though your listing in ChexSystems has no bearing on your credit score, many people who are in ChexSystems have problems with their credit.  But, by having a second chance bank account, you get the opportunity to pay your bills on time, avoid bouncing checks, and showing that you really have gotten more financially responsible – which can eventually raise your credit score.

Second chance banking doesn’t come with huge fees. Just like virtually any other bank account, you will have to pay some fees, but the costs associated with second chance banking are not much higher than they are with traditional bank accounts.  Depending on your second chance bank account, you may have to pay monthly fees or a per-action fee – like every time you deposit money or talk to a customer service representative.

Many second chance bank accounts come with debit cards. Debit cards have become one of the most popular ways to pay for things.  Without one, even simple purchases can become inconvenient.  However, with second chance banking, you don’t have to envision life without a debit card.  Most second chance bank accounts will give you one, so that you can go to ATM’s, make purchases, and enjoy the same fraud protection that traditional bank account holders have.

Second chance banking allows you to take advantage of many of the same benefits as traditional bank accounts, including:

  • Check cashing
  • Check writing
  • Online banking, like online bill pay and the ability to check your balance
  • Direct deposit
  • Overdraft protection
  • An account that’s FDIC-insured
  • Monthly statements mailed to you
  • Automatic bill pay
  • The ability to make online transactions, like opening a PayPal account
  • The ability to apply for a loan, which can be next to impossible if you do not have a bank account

Second chance banking is cheaper than other alternatives. Check cashing and money order services come with hefty fees that are much higher than any fees associated with second chance banking.  Plus, with either, you wind up carrying a lot of cash around – which can be risky.

More banks have started offering second chance banking. Before, it was tough to find a second chance bank account.  Now, even big banks – like Compass and Wells Fargo – have started opening second chance bank accounts.


High Yield Savings Accounts: What You Need to Know

High yield savings accounts are designed to pay higher interest than other types of accounts. Researching current interest rates and your options is a simple way to learn more about choosing the accounts that offer the most returns. You will want to make sure that your account is FDIC insured before applying for the account.

Insured Accounts

In the world of online banking, there are a wide range of financial institutions to choose from in both your local area and around the world. A bank or financial institution that is FDIC insured is a must, however. FDIC insured accounts are beneficial because if the bank goes bankrupt, get robbed, or had any other problem your money is protected. When choosing online banks, take the time to verify the authenticity of the institution to avoid choosing the wrong bank.

You will also find that higher yield savings accounts have slightly more risk than other types of accounts, but are generally a safe investment that you can depend on. For instance, a money market account pays out slightly more than a traditional savings account but is also riskier than simply opening a savings account. The benefit of seeing more returns is one that makes the slight risk worthwhile.

Fees and Other Fine Print

When opening high yield savings accounts, it is vital to check the fine print of your contract. Some fees, such as ATM fees, will be listed on your contract. You may also have a minimum balance in order to get the highest interest rates on your investments. For high yield accounts, the balance can range from $100 to $5,000 or more depending on the interest rates you want and the bank that you choose.

Some banks offer high yield savings accounts to existing customers without some of the fees that apply to new customers. For instance, you may get free online bill pay for a period of time or you may be able to make free withdrawals from your bank as an existing customer.

The Compounding Period

High yield savings accounts can earn more money during a shorter period of time, called the compounding period. Make sure that you won’t suffer any penalties if you don’t use the account, as well. Choosing one account for your investments is a good idea, and ensures you are aware of the movement in the account. Aim for a quarterly compounding period that accrues interest every three months, and pay close attention to the account and the fine print to ensure you are seeing the maximum amount of returns.

Annual compounding periods aren’t ideal, and typically aren’t available. Some banks provide interest on the account balance on a monthly basis rather and quarterly. Take the time to research your options carefully to ensure you have the best interest rates possible when opening a high yield savings account.


How Accepting Credit Cards Can Increase Customer Base

The day of unaffordable credit card processing is over.  In the past small businesses often found that a merchant services provider was too costly for their business to contract, due to their fees.  These fees ranged from a minimum monthly processing fee, a service fee for every swipe, and monthly rental fees.  This pushed many start-up and small businesses to hold cash only establishments.  With the emergence of e-commerce, an industry that allows consumers to shop from the comfort of their homes and pay by simply entering their credit card information into a secure server, these traditional brick-and-mortar businesses have no choice but to start accepting credit cards.  In fact during the beginning stages of the economic turmoil, the e-commerce industry posted a gain of 10.8 percent in 2009.

Although these numbers may cause one to draw the conclusion that e-commerce is going to overtake the traditional brick-and-mortar businesses, it’s wrong. Even with a 10.8 percent gain in 2009, a whopping 92 plus percent of retail transactions are still completed offline.  Americans still prefer shopping in person where they can physically see the items that are being purchased and monitor the processing of their credit/debit cards to ensure no fraud is taking place.  Many Americans still do not trust putting personal information on the internet even if the site is proven secure.

Shopping In Person

It is a proven fact that online sellers can offer a lower price to consumers and that they are more effective.  But this leads us to question why they only hold roughly 8 percent of retail sales.  If we American consumers are as shrewd as some say, wouldn’t we always be looking to the internet for better deals?  Especially with sites like Amazon and Overstock offering us basically anything we could ever want for a discounted price you would imagine that e-commerce would account for more than 8 percent of retail sales.  After all an over whelming amount of Americans (about 80 percent) have access to the internet on a daily basis.  The answer is simple: Americans are not consumers, they are shoppers.  What’s the difference one might ask?  A consumer purchases a service or a good because he/she needs it.  Yes, a shopper does do the same but there is a major difference.  The shopper enjoys the activity.  They get pleasure of going shopping, trying on new clothes, and conversing with salesmen.  To many Americans shopping is a hobby.  This claim has been backed by poll after polls.  Americans enjoy shopping, and would prefer to physically do the shopping to ensure everything is the correct; whether that is the fit of an article of clothing or the use for a good.  Who likes ordering a shirt online, waiting 5-7 business days for deliver only to find out the fit is wrong and it needs to be sent back for an exchange?  In instances like this it may take up to two weeks before you can actually wear the shirt you purchased.  Compare this to physically shopping in which one ensures the fit is right before purchasing and has the opportunity to wear it on the same day.

Credit and Debit Cards

Few modern businesses can survive off of a cash only check out policy.  Sure every neighborhood has those ma and pa nooks that have been around since what seems like the stone ages that are cash only, but they are already established and the customers going there already know that plastic is not an acceptable form of payment.  This is not the same when it comes to shopping.  Customers expect stores to cater to their wants and needs and in the end, want a pleasurable shopping experience.  If their experience is not pleasurable they will go elsewhere.

So why do some stores refuse to accept credit and debit cards?  In order to be able to process electronic transactions, a merchant service account must be obtained. These accounts are offered by banks and other authorized financial institutions, and they charge fees for each swipe of the card.  After the customers’ card is swiped the merchant service provider will either approve or deny the transaction.  When it is approved the provider will send an electronic bill to the cardholders company.  Once the necessary funds have been remitted the provider will transfer them into the merchants account with a fee deducted from the total deposit.  This process can take a few days.

Why are they Necessary?

If you want to see your small business grow, or your startup businesses succeed it is extremely necessary to accept plastic as a form of payment.  Six out of ten purchases are paid for with a credit or debit card.  Cash accounts for less than thirty percent of retail transactions, and that number has been steadily dwindling for the latter part of sixty years.


The main reason companies and businesses remain cash-only is they do not understand the fees associated with these accounts. Yes it is true that when a customer pays with plastic the merchant will receive less than if that customer paid with cash.  This is just an unavoidable part of this industry.  Providers charge transaction fees and discount rates on every single purchase.

However, when these payments are being made in person, the merchant is charged with lower servicing fees.  This is because the threat of fraud is at its lowest when a payment is made with a credit/debit card in person.  By simply choosing to accept credit cards a business’ customer bases grows as you provide more options of payment and create a more enjoyable shopping experience for all customers.


Five Awesome Apps for Managing Money and Finances

Managing personal finances can be a real drag for any individual. There is nothing worse than paying bills, examining debt, and watching your money disappear from your accounts. However, while money management can be a painful process, it is undeniably essential to gaining financial security. Part of entering the adult world involves understanding finances, monitoring spending, managing accounts, and paying bills. These five money management apps can help any individual better understand and manage their personal finances. With apps that help track spending, pay bills, and help save money, any individual can understand and control their personal spending and financial future.

1. Loot: This android application acts as an electronic checkbook. It is simple to use and has a very clean interface. While there is no direct connections to your bank accounts over the internet, Loot enables you to take more control of your money management (and you don’t have to work about security or privacy issues). With Loot you create different files for different accounts and then update the files whenever you make a purchase or pay a bill. Loot is a fast and easy way to track your spending.

2. ShopSavvy: This application provides users with a great way to save money while shopping. Use ShopSavvy to search a product and see if there are any other locations where you can get that same product for cheaper. You use your phone’s camera to scan the product’s barcode and then the application will identify the product and look for it on the market. ShopSavvy helps you always get the best price for the things that you are buying, helping you save more money in the long run.

3. Thrive: This application provides you with a great way to keep track of your spending. Thrive develops an overall Financial Health score that is determined based on your spending habits, money saved, and several other factors. The application also provides scores based on other areas of your financial portfolio. Offering advice on ways to improve these scores, Thrive is perfect for individuals new to managing personal finances. With an intuitive interface and simple graphs and charts, Thrive makes it easy for any individual to gain a clearer understanding of their financial situation.

4. Mint: As one of the most well known and popular personal finance applications, Mint offers several tools and features that other finance applications do not. Mint will help you compare bank accounts, credit cards, CDs, brokerage and 401(k) to top products on the market. With visual representations of your finances, Mint makes it easy for users to understand their financial situation and manage their budget.

5. BillTracker: This app is perfecting for helping you stay on top of your bills each month. With a color coded calendar, BillTracker helps you see when bills are coming up in the future. This way you can better prepare your spending and saving to fit your bill schedule. With so many bills done automatically now, BillTracker helps individuals keep track of bills they may forget were going through then, so that they can better manage their money. With BillTracker you will never miss paying a bill or pay a bill late. This will improve your credit score and help you gain a stronger financial portfolio.