FinTech Puts Money Management at Your Fingertips

by Diana Drake

Arjun Gangakhedkar, a senior at Friendswood High School in Texas, is kind of obsessed with the world of finance and economics. Gangakhedkar is the founder and editor of the National High School Journal of Finance, an on­line peer-re­viewed fi­nan­cial jour­nal for high school students that hopes to “inspire the next generation of financial leaders.”

For Gangakhedkar, that doesn’t just mean making money – it also means managing it well. And these days, with the emergence of FinTech, money management can be as simple as the touch of a button.

FinTech, or financial technology, is an industry that combines technology and financial services to assist modern-day fiscal management. Start-up companies in the FinTech sector are said to be revolutionizing the way we handle our money. For example, financial apps and software can help you create a budget, track spending and stick to your financial goals – all from the convenience of your smart phone.

MoneyThink, one of the latest apps to create some buzz, is designed to educate low-income teenagers and young adults (ages 16 to 24) about financial concepts.  It is one of the few apps focused specifically on financial education for the high school generation.

The personal-finance app landscape is vast — and growing. Knowledge@Wharton High School spoke with Gangakhedkar and two other high school seniors about their favorite budgeting apps, all of which are free to use as you explore what works best for your own tech-enabled financial management.

Click Here to Budget and Save

If you need a good place to start, download Mint, suggests Gangakhedkar. While he uses several advanced investing apps, such as Dough and Bloomberg, Gangakhedkar relies on Mint for daily money management. “I find tracking, budgeting and managing donations and expenditures to be a daunting task,” he says, speaking about the money side of his Journal of Finance website.

Gangakhedkar uses Mint to budget, set personal financial goals, track his investments, and review his bank statements weekly. “Mint allows me to easily get a glimpse of my financial status and helps me determine where I can save more,” he says.

With Mint, you set your budget limits in each category. Then, you sync your Mint account with your bank account so that your budget is automatically updated. With millions of users, Mint is focused on security. It offers 24/7 protection, and users can delete their account information remotely if their mobile device is stolen.

Mint goes beyond budget tracking. The app provides free credit score reports and account alerts that can help prevent overdraft charges.

Monsters and Money

While it’s true that some financial apps can be mind-boggling in their complexity, Toshl Finance stands out with its cartoon monster mascots. Sami Newport, a senior at Gorman Learning Center based in Palmdale, Calif., was initially attracted to the app because of its cute monster graphics. Newport, who is an illustrator, says, “Toshl Finance is extremely helpful for me because it’s simple and easy to use.”

The fact that Toshl is free is a good fit for high schoolers, and it encourages saving, while keeping a clean and user-friendly interface. Most teens who are learning to manage their money have clear-cut financial goals like tracking the money they save and spend. More sophisticated money apps also offer advanced options like investing and retirement-savings services.

Newport, 16, uses Toshl to track the money she makes with her self-published book, Piper’s Big Move, as well as money that she earns from babysitting. She says she loves that she can, “track my budget with no worries.” While Newport doesn’t yet have many bills to worry about, one of the benefits of the app is a bill reminder. You can set reminders to prevent missing payments and incurring late fees.

Tapping into Your Bank’s Technology

The majority of major banks provide free mobile apps. While these apps are more basic in nature compared to innovative apps like Mint and Toshl, they can be useful money management tools. In fact, traditional banks are scrambling to compete with the high-tech changes in financial services by, in part, offering more mobile options to their customers. The big banks need to compete with fintech startups in order to stay relevant.

Justin Hu, a senior at Los Altos High School in Calif., says, “I use my bank’s app so I can see how much money is in my account. It is a great way to check up on how much money you are spending and where it is going, especially when using a debit card, since you aren’t actually paying with paper money.”

Hu earns $15 an hour as a busboy at a local restaurant and also gets an allowance. Having his bank app on his phone allows him to check his balance before making a purchase and monitor his spending and saving. Most banking apps will also immediately alert you to suspicious or fraudulent charges, as well as let you pay bills and deposit checks through your phone.

Here are three additional FinTech apps to explore as you learn to manage your finances:

  1. MoneyThink Mobile: As noted earlier, MoneyThink is one of the newest financial-literacy apps to hit your mobile phone. It is like a game version of Instagram that promotes better money habits. Users can earn points for completing money-smart challenges, such as snapping a picture of how you saved money or creating a LinkedIn account. Teachers also use this app as part of their personal-finance lessons.
  1. iAllowance: It’s important to budget, even if you are earning an allowance rather than an actual paycheck. The iAllowance app connects with your parent’s account and makes it easy to keep your chores and earnings organized. The app also allows you to monitor your net worth and set savings goals.
  1. Prosper Daily: This app tracks your budget, but more importantly, it protects your financial accounts. Nearly 1.3 million kids and teens are victims of identity theft each year. Prosper Daily allows free credit score tracking and monitors every bank account and credit card you attach to the account. The app boasts finding $75 million worth of wrongful charges committed against its users.

Related Links

Conversation Starters

Why is fintech the emerging financial-services sector for the 21st century? Is it a revolution or an evolution in the way we manage our money?

Do you use an app to manage your personal finances? Which one? How does it help you? Share your story with a friend and tell us about it in the comments section of this article.

Revolutionary innovations also bring new challenges. Why is it important to discuss security and identity theft when talking about your fintech financial-service options?

4 comments on “FinTech Puts Money Management at Your Fingertips

  1. This article talks about a new Technology called FinTech. This combines Finances with Technology. It is perfect for everybody it shows you how to spend, budget or invest your money. FinTech is killing large banks because now banks have to compete with FinTech to stay afloat and have to offer more services because of what the technology can do. Also it is very safe offers 24 hour protection and fights identity theft and has found 75 million million wrongful charges against its users. So this technology is very advanced and safe and is the future.

    • Hi Dylan. I am reading your comments in 2019 and the financial technology sector competition has heated up because the big traditional banks are starting to fight back. However, financial technology startups are starting to find specialized niches that they can focus on and serve customers looking for those specific services.

      Bank of America is now the country’s leading online bank because they were able to create a seamless platform that could appeal to millennials, but at the same time they are able to reduce costs and increase consumer spending and borrowing. The CEO of Bank of America, Brian Moynihan, estimates that the company serves 16 million customers between the ages of 25 and 41 and they have over $200 billion in savings. Goldman Sachs, a bank that did not historically serve the average consumer, spent $1.3 billion on consumer transformation. They also partnered up with Apple to create a credit card so that they could get average consumers to become customers of Goldman Sachs. Banks are using their large customer base to create seamless online platforms and personalized services for users while maintaining ways to generate profit.


      However, there are various FinTech firms on the rise that disrupting niches areas of the financial industry. For instance, the company Wealthfront is using artificial intelligence (AI) to advise investors about their investments and is using AI to manage over $10 billion in assets. They use “robo-advisors” which are software algorithms to make automatic transactions for the client’s assets. This helps reduce the cost of bring human advisors, while attracting younger customers who may feel more comfortable with an algorithm based investing strategy that may be inexpensive compares to hiring a human advisor, if they do not have time to invest themselves. Another company, CommonBond specializes in financing and refinancing student loans for college students that want a more affordable options to pay off their loans. They work with the employers of customers to create a plan that can help customers pay off their student loans. They use state-of-the-art technology such as blockchain and automation to compete with companies like Navient which have been serving student loans for over 30 years. Perhaps the most widely covered FinTech company right now is Robinhood. Robinhood is a FINRA approved broker dealer that has a mobile application to allows users to trade stocks, exchange traded funds, and cryptocurrencies without any commission. The found another source of revenue though the interest earned on customers’ cash balances and by offering loans to borrow money that people can use to invest (margin lending).

      These companies are specializing in certain areas of the financial industry and not just a general banking area. They are using this specialization to appeal to customers about certain problems they may have, so that can they can sue their technical expertise to solve these problems in a more personalized manner than the traditional banks can. FInTech can be both a revolution and evolution in the way we do our banking. It is an evolution in the sense that traditional banks will always serve us in some sense, but they are using the power of technology and mobile devices to serve customers while lowering their own costs. It is a revolution in the sense that other startups are trying to disrupt the industry with innovative approaches to solving age old problems such as student loans by only focusing on that aspect of finance.

  2. The article talks about a technology called Fin Tech. It’s together with learning how to budget your money with technology. I believe this article is a great idea. It’s perfect for whoever uses technology everyday. It shows you how to spend, invest, and even budget your money. Fin Tech is becoming more and more popular and hurting the larger banks. Now the larger banks have to fight back with Fin Tech so they don’t run out of business. But that’s what technology does, everyone uses it nowadays. Fin Tech is extremely safe it has 24 hour protection and will find out any identity theft. I believe Fintech is very useful and safe and soon enough everyone will be using this in the future.

  3. I read an article about financial technology which really interested me. It’s amazing that budgeting has become so easy but I think it pushes how must trust you put into your technology. You are putting all of your finances into your phone and just hoping that it works and you’ll be successful. I understand that it’s making banks work harder on their own apps to compete with fintech which I don’t think is a good idea because it will end up making things more expensive in the long run. Overall I hope that the fintech and banks can work together and build on each others technology.

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