Keep an eye on all your finances with three easy to use apps.
I’m guessing most of you aren’t like me and only have a couple of current accounts (current count for me is 10!). Probably manageable. But when you add in any savings accounts and credit cards it starts to become a little trickier to remember passwords. Then you’ve got your energy bill, phone and broadband, car tax… the list goes on.
So I’ve been looking again at a few apps I used to use but stopped. The idea with each is you can look at or after all your accounts in one place. So there’s one for your banking, one for your bills, and a third for all your account details and passwords.
Each is available via your computer and as an app, so you can use them as best suits you.
Manage your banking: Money Dashboard
In essence, MoneyDashboard gives a quick overview of all your banking accounts. You can add current accounts and credit cards, and it’ll also include any linked savings accounts.
You need your passwords etc to add an account, and Money Dashboard then logs in to your account to get your latest balance. However, you can’t transfer money or pay bills. It’s just for looking.
Once you’ve added them all (I’m still working my way through all of mine), you can quickly see the balance on each account. Really hand if you have more than one account.
It’ll also give you a total balance. So if you have spent more on your credit card than you thought, it’ll show you have less available to spend as a total.
You can also see every payment in and out, and if you want to take it a step further you can tag every transaction to build a picture of where your money is going. So it could be public transport, it could be going out. It’s not bad at guessing the category but it’s pretty easy to add new ones in or change them (eg you might want to label something “gift’).
I’ve had a Money Dashboard account since 2013 though I’ve not used it since 2014 – I’m not sure why I stopped. I just did. But in theory, it should be one of the top five apps I use so I’m going to give it another go. It should make keeping on top of everything much easier!
There is an alternative called OnTrees but this is currently closed to new customers.
Manage your bills: OneDox
OneDox is a bit like Money Dashboard but for bills. Here you add the details of your mobile phone, landline, internet, TV, gas and electricity.
You’ll not only be able to see how much you’re paying for everything, you can also view and download all your bills. This is really good if you need to find an old bill after you’ve switched away.
A nice touch is you’ll get reminders emailed through for when contracts expire – meaning you won’t forget to switch.
OneDox will also suggest cheaper alternatives which are worth looking at, but don’t forget you might be able to make extra savings through cashback sites.
Manage your passwords: LastPass
Though the above two websites can help you keep track of everything, you still need to access your accounts to make any changes or payments. The big problem for me is I just can’t remember all the usernames, passwords, PINs and memorable information.
So I’ve started using LastPass. In its vault you store all your account details and then protect them with one master password. With some websites you can click a button to automatically log in, with others it’s just a few clicks to reveal that long forgotten customer ID.
One thought on “Three websites and apps to help you manage your money”
My main concern about account aggregation services, such as Money Dashboard, Mint, etc. is that the T&C’s for your bank account will almost certainly forbid you from passing your online banking credentials to a third party. Whatsmore, if you do, the bank will not reimburse you if your money is stolen from your account.
Account aggregation services will often go to lengths to tell you about their security and the fact that their service is “read only” and some use established service providers like Yodlee. However, two important factors are still missing:-
(1) No UK bank endorses account aggregation services
(2) None of the UK account aggregation services is underwritten to compensate users for any financial loss resulting from a data breach or hacking of their service, i.e. they are not prepared to put their money where their mouth is!
The only way to mitigate the security problems is to have separate accounts for bill payments, keeping your main bank account separate and transferring funds as they are needed.
Until there is co-operation between the banks and the account aggregation services I would advise great caution! Hopefully, the Open Banking Project will find solutions.