These 8 iPhone Apps Can Help You Take Control of Your Money

Lisa Gilmore has both conversation and works remotely from apps on her phone, Petersburg Fla,
Carmen Mandato/The Penny Hoarder
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Sometimes we wonder how people managed their money way back when…

You had to put pen to paper to draw up a budget? You had to actually walk into a bank to get a loan? Or read a newspaper to keep tabs on your stocks?

And you couldn’t automatically save money; you had to intentionally deposit $50 into your savings each week?

Count us out.

OK, we’re being a bit flippant here, but in reality iPhones and their apps have made managing money incredibly simple.

“People are finding that the apps take away the pain and mystique of dealing with our finances and replace it with processes that are as easy as buying a shirt online or swiping right on Bumble,” Fast Future Publishing founder and CEO Rohit Talwar writes in an email.

The Best iPhone Apps for Money Management

If personal finances intimidate you, we get it. But financial apps can really help make managing money simple.

Talwar says these tools are breaking down the barriers of complicated financial jargon and are making it easier than ever for folks to make smart financial moves.

So, iPhone users, open the App Store and start downloading these recommended apps.

1. Credit Sesame: Keep an Eye on Your Credit Score

Jerry and Vivienne Morgan spend the morning showing off their beautiful home in New Port Richey.
Carmen Mandato/The Penny Hoarder

It’s easy to push your credit score to the back of your mind.

After all, how do you even check it? What’s it really matter? But then you go to take out a mortgage, buy a car or apply for a rewards credit card… shoot.

Take care of your financial health by keeping tabs on your credit score. One of our favorite free credit-monitoring tools is Credit Sesame.

You can sign up online or through its app, and you’ll gain access to your credit score as well as your credit report card. It’ll also offer tips on how to increase your score for when it matters.

Take Jerry Morgan, for example. He and his family have had a difficult 10 years financially.

When Morgan signed up for Credit Sesame back in September 2017, his score was at about 500. In six months, he was able to increase his score 120 points — thanks, in part, to the platform’s recommendations.

Keep your credit score in your back pocket by downloading the Credit Sesame app.

2. Empower: Find Your Free Money

You’re not living paycheck to paycheck anymore. And that’s no accident.

You take charge of your money and have started to build your personal wealth. You have investments, savings accounts and credit cards. You enjoy monitoring your accounts and making the right moves. Retiring early just may be on your bucket list if you can stick to your budget.

It just gets… complicated.

You’re on the right track. Make staying there easy with the Empower app.

Empower helps you organize and track your financial goals. Simply link your accounts, and every time you log in, you’ll see a simple snapshot of where you stand on your monthly budget. Are you above or below the line? In one second you’ll know whether you’re on track or need to dial things back a bit.

Empower even has a cool “find free money” feature. It’ll do things like negotiate your cell phone bill, review your insurance coverage and cancel unwanted subscriptions.

3. Truebill: Negotiate Your Bills

Irina Bilka counts tips and factors bills, Tampa Fla, on November 3th, 2017.
Carmen Mandato/The Penny Hoarder

On the phone with your cell phone or internet provider, trying to haggle a lower monthly bill?

Go ahead and hang up. (We know you’re probably listening to crappy music while sitting on hold, anyway.)

Download Truebill, an app that’ll negotiate your bills, cancel unwanted subscriptions and refund your bank fees.

After downloading the app, create an account and link your bank account and/or credit cards. Turn on the bill negotiation and outage protection features. Boom. Truebill is already searching for potential refunds — it might get you a refund even when you didn’t know an outage occurred.

On average, Truebill customers get $12 in credits off their cable bills each month.

The app will also remind you of all those sneaky subscriptions you’ve signed up for through the years, so you can cancel what you don’t use and reclaim your monthly budget.

Signing up and using the service is free, though there are some paid premium services that are totally optional — but could totally be worth it.

4. Long Game: Save Money

Are you more of the “sit at home and play video games” type of person but you’re making yourself read this because you’re determined to get this adulting thing down?

The folks who created Long Game have you covered with a game that’s fun and helps you achieve your financial goals.  

As you save and accomplish missions you’ll earn coins to play mini games for cash prizes! We’re talking the classics, like slot machines, scratch-offs and spin-to-win wheels.

Penny Hoarder Carson Kohler uses Long Game to save money. Every two weeks, it sneaks $5 out of her bank account and rewards her with coins.

In two months, she’s saved $35.70, just by playing games on her phone. Plus, her winnings amount to a gain of about 2% — way higher than interest on any other savings account she has.

Once you link your bank account, you’ll earn 300 points, so you can start playing while you wait for payday.

The app is free to download and costs $2 a month after that.

5. Acorns: Invest in Stocks

Alex Orfinger sitting at his home in Ormond Beach, Fla. using various phone apps.
Aileen Perilla/The Penny Hoarder

Honestly, old-school investing just conjures images of Wall Street trading room chaos, so we’ll stop while we’re ahead.

Investing isn’t nearly as intimidating nowadays with microinvesting apps. Yes — these apps allow you to invest in smaller groupings of stocks, called exchange-traded funds.

Acorns is a stellar example. Download the app, and turn on the round-up mode. Each time you make a purchase with a connected debt or credit card, it’ll round your total up to the nearest dollar. Once your round-ups hit $5, Acorns will invest the spare change for you.

Jeremy Kolodziej, for example, uses the app as a way to help him save. In less than two years, he’s managed to save $2,087 — without thinking.

“So many people use plastic and debit cards,” he explains. “Not a lot of people carry cash, where you can have a coin jar at home. It’s a virtual coin jar. You don’t even think about it.”

The app is free to download, then you’ll pay $1 a month for balances under $1 million. If you sign up through The Penny Hoarder, you’ll bank a $5 bonus to give you a boost.

6. Varo Money: Put Your Savings to Work

There’s no law that requires you to bank the old-fashioned way — at a brick-and-mortar bank with a crummy interest rate on your savings.

It’s time to move your money into the 21st century. An iOS app called Varo Money combines traditional banking tools with modern technology to help its customers become financially healthy.

Here’s the best part: Pair your Bank Account with a Varo Savings Account where you’ll earn 1.5% Annual Percentage Yield. That’s more than 20 times — repeat, 20 times — the average savings account.

Varo goes easy on the fees, too. As long as you use one of its 55,000 ATMs across the world, you’ll never pay fees.

Additionally, you’ll pay no monthly service fees, no minimum balance fees, no foreign transaction fees and no cash replacement fees. You’ll just pay any fees charged by out-of-network ATMs and cash deposit fees if you deposit cash in-store through Green Dot.

7. Stash: Invest in Real Estate

Homes sit next to the Gulf of Mexico at Pass-a-Grille on Monday April 2, 2018.
Chris Zuppa/The Penny Hoarder

We’re familiar with the old-school way of investing in real estate — buy a house, apartment, duplex, warehouse, land, whatever it is. But that calls for a big chunk of change and commitment.

If you don’t have that kind of time or money, you may want to look into real estate investment trusts (REITs). These are funds pooled together from thousands of investors to invest in one property, like a mutual fund.

There are several ways you can invest in REITs, but perhaps the easiest is through an app called Stash. You might have heard of it. It helps folks invest and save small amounts of change. It also helps us invest small amounts into real estate.

If you don’t already use Stash, sign up here with the code PENNYH.

When you invest your first $5, you’ll get another $5 bonus to invest — on us. Now, you’ll have access to all of Stash’s tools, including its real estate investments. The app costs $1 a month.

If you already have Stash, great. Go ahead and explore the REIT feature through your existing account.

Just a friendly reminder: As with any investing, there’s risk, though investing in REITs is less risky than investing in an entire shopping mall on your own.

8. Chime: Bank From Anywhere

Alexa Vincent navigates her mobile apps, including Lyft, Uber, and Uber Eats in St. Petersburg, Fla.,
Chris Zuppa/The Penny Hoarder

We try to avoid using “literally” around here, but you can literally do anything through an app these days — including all of your banking. I mean, can you imagine having to set foot into a bank?!

Chime® is a great example of an online-only bank. It offers some unique features that many traditional banks haven’t caught on to yet.

For example, you can do just about everything from its app, which boasts more than 2,000 five-star reviews in the iTunes store. You’ll be able to:

  • Open a checking account — which Chime calls a “spending” account. While you’re at it, set up direct deposit. Then, Chime will allow you to get paid up to two days early — as soon as your paycheck is posted.1 No delay.
  • Enroll in Chime’s automated Saving account, where you can automatically squirrel money into a separate, hands-off account.
  • Avoid bank fees. We’re talkin’ no overdraft fees, monthly maintenance fees, foreign transaction fees or minimum balance fees.

Last year, we chatted with Samuel Demeny, who opened a spending and savings account with Chime. He switched so he could avoid Well Fargo’s daily spending limits. He’s also been able to save about $800 in nine months with the automatic savings option.

Demeny also loves that he gets his paycheck two days early, which he says helps him budget before the weekend rolls around.

Start managing all your money from your phone by opening a free account with Chime.

Carson Kohler ([email protected]) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She wants to know: Which iPhone apps do you use to manager your money? Shoot her an email, and let her know!

*Chime is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services and debit card provided by The Bancorp Bank N.A. or Stride Bank, N.A.; Members FDIC.

1Early access to direct deposit funds depends on the timing of the submission of the payment file from the payer. We generally make these funds available on the day the payment file is received, which may be up to 2 days earlier than the scheduled payment date.