Different types of financial management tools include those that monitor financial status, help consumers make financial decisions, and help them pay their bills on time. Many of these tools are available online and as smartphone applications, often at little or no cost. Typical examples of financial management tools include interest calculators that help people understand the true cost of any purchase made on credit, and monitoring services that can let someone know if their financial data has been compromised.
Banks and credit unions provide their customers with a variety of financial management tools. These tools include online access to bank statements and the ability to pay bills directly from customer accounts. Bill-paying services can be especially useful for bank customers who have been concerned about remembering to pay their bills, as these services typically allow the customer to schedule bills for automatic payment. Other tools include email and text message notifications if the account balance is low or if the bank suspects the customer has been a victim of fraud.
For people who are considering taking out a loan to pay for a house, car, or other obligations, interest calculators can be very useful financial management tools. These calculators are often found on banking and financial planning sites and allow users to calculate the interest they will pay over time and the amount of their monthly payments. Many of these calculators are developed to tackle specific types of loans, such as home equity or mortgage loans, and can even be pre-programmed with current interest rates.
The budget is often the foundation of good financial planning. Simple budget spreadsheets can be excellent financial management tools, as they help consumers understand how much money they actually have and how they’re spending it. Some people may choose to use online budgeting spreadsheets, while others may be more comfortable with pen and paper. Online budgeting services can also allow consumers to submit credit card and bank information so that the consumer’s spending and income can be tracked. This allows the consumer to regularly evaluate his budget and whether he is able to stick to it.
Due to concern about identity theft and fraud, many people make use of credit monitoring services. These services notify consumers if someone applies for credit on their behalf or if there have been changes to the information included in their credit reports.