As well as making life easier, smartphones can also help us save and make money on the move. Here are 16 ways to boost your bank balance on the move.
Manage money on the go
Smartphones can help you manage your money anytime and anywhere.
All the major banks and building societies including Lloyds Bank, Santander, HSBC, NatWest, RBS, Halifax, TSB, Barclays and Nationwide have a mobile app that allow you to see transactions, manage direct debits and standing orders, make payments and transfer money quickly and securely.
This instant access to information and actions means you have greater control over your finances. You can for example monitor spending to avoid slipping into the red, pay bills or friends quickly, move money into your savings and look out for signs of identity theft.
Be better with money
There are loads of apps that can help you be better with your money.
Toshl is a popular app that helps you keep track of where all your money is going. It allows you to set a budget, keep on top of bills and help you achieve saving targets.
The free app is available for Apple, Android, Windows Phone and Symbian handsets.
Cut your energy bills
All the major energy companies have their own apps, which can help you save money on your gas and electricity costs.
Generally, they allow you to see bills, make payments, look at your energy consumption, view your tariff information and get energy saving tips. They all also allow you to submit gas and electricity meter readings which will mean you get an accurate bill rather than an estimated bill.
Control your heating
Hive is an app from British Gas that lets you control your heating and hot water anywhere and at any time.
It’s supposed to help cut waste and save money as you can use it to programme your heating and hot water more precisely. British Gas claims it could save households up to £150 a year.
The app available for Apple and Android users is free but you will need to have the right equipment working in the background for it all to work, which will cost around £200.
Get paid back
Your smartphone can take the hassle out of getting friends and family to pay you back when you foot the bill for things like gig tickets and restaurant meals.
The Payfriendz app for example allows you to message people you know to ask for money they owe, as well as send and receive payments. You just need to link a UK debit card to put money into your account to send money to friends or send a request for money via the app. The app is available on Apple and Android devices.
There’s also Paym. This service works by linking your mobile number to your current account. This means instead of needing a sort code and account number friends and family can use your mobile number to make a payment as long as they’ve also registered for the service.
Start a kitty
For more complicated shared expenses there is a free app called KiTTi powered by Santander, available for Apple and Android users.
It allows up to 100 people to pay money into a digital kitty, which can be accessed by a pre-paid MasterCard to pay for anything. It’s designed to take the hassle out of collecting money from large groups for things like a holiday or a birthday gift.
Make free international calls
Your smartphone can help you keep in touch with friends and family all over the world for free.
With WhatsApp Messenger, available free for iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, Symbian and Windows Phone, you can send messages, create group chats, send unlimited images and make calls to any country as long as you have an internet connection and the other person also has the app.
Skype works in the same way and is available for Apple, Android, Windows, blackberry and Amazon Fire Phone users. Downloading the free app will let you send messages and make calls to other Skype users anywhere in the world for free.
Cut your car insurance premiums
Telematics technology allows good drivers to save on their car insurance.
Normally this involves fitting a device to a car to monitor driving style and habits, but now there are a range of mobile apps that can do the same job.
For example the Aviva Drive app, available for Apple, Android and Windows Phone users, gives you the chance to test your driving skills over 200 miles, and get up to 20% off your comprehensive car insurance. Safer drivers save an average of £112 on the cost of an annual policy.
Check if you're a millionaire
Premium Bond holders can check if they have a won a prize with the NS&I Prize Checker app.
It will show you the prizes this month and anything you may have won in the previous six draws, plus any prizes older than 18 months which you haven’t claimed since your bonds first entered the draw.
The NS&I Prize Checker app is available for Apple and Android devices.
There are thought to be £41 million of Premium Bonds prizes left unclaimed so make sure you get what you are due.
Earn rewards for making changes
Some smartphone apps encourage better behaviour and incentivise this with rewards.
For example, Clean Space for example is a free app for Apple and Android that offers discounts and freebies for every mile a user runs, walks or cycles rather than taking the car or using public transport.
You can collect CleanMiles and unlock rewards when you reach certain targets. For example, with one mile you can get a free coffee at Upper Crust while 15 miles gets a £5 credit towards PayasUgym.
Never miss a bargain
Your smartphone can help make sure you never miss out on a bargain wherever you are.
With the free eBay mobile app for example you can keep track of everything you are buying and watching. It gives you alerts when you are outbid, when an auction is about to end and allows you to send messages to sellers about items.
It can also be used to find local bargains wherever you are.
There’s also Shpock, a free app that allows you to buy and sell things in your local area.
Make money from clutter
Your smartphone can help get you make money from your old stuff.
The free MusicMagpie app allows you to scan unwanted CDs, DVDs and games to get an instant trade in price. The Ziffit and Zapper apps do the same thing and are also worth a try to see if they offer more for your clutter.
Earn cashback as you shop
You can earn cashback when you shop online, even with your mobile phone.
Cashback websites Quidco and TopCashback both have their own free apps which allow you to shop via tracked links and earn money back on what you spend. These also allow you to get cashback when you shop in-store.
Pick up freebies
With the free CheckoutSmart app, you can make supermarket shopping more rewarding.
It pays cashback on certain items when you snap a picture of the receipt. So it’s great for picking up the odd loaf of bread or a bottle of soft drink.
The app is available for Apple and Android users.
Never miss out on a deal
Your smartphone can help make sure you never miss out on savings when you are out and about.
The free Vouchercodes.co.uk app, available for Apple and Android devices, can help you find money off codes for shops, restaurants and entertainment to use in-store and online, wherever you are. The app is handy if you find yourself making an impromptu trip to Pizza Express or making an impulse purchase on the high street and want to save.
The free Vouchercloud app, available for Apple, Android, Windows and Blackberry devices, is also great for finding discounts on the go. It can use your location to reveal offers for shops and restaurants nearby, you can also save offers for later and select your favourite retailers to be the first to know about the latest deals.
While the HotUKDeals app, available for Apple, Android and Windows devices, allows you to access all the latest deals, voucher codes, freebies, price glitches and competitions found by HotUKDeals members. You can sign up for alerts and browse offline.
Reap the rewards of contactless payments
Smartphones could soon replace our wallets as more are enabled for making contactless payments.
Apple Pay, for example, allows iPhone, iPad or Apple Watch users to link their cards to make payments with their device in-store or through apps.
As well as making life more convenient there are rewards for using the technology.
MasterCard, for example, is offering Apple Pay users free travel in London on December 7 and 14. While TSB offers 5% cashback on Apple Pay payments to Classic Plus current account holders.