Compare bank apps that track your spending
Want more insights into your money? Consider banks that show you exactly where your dollars are going.
Over the last few years, banking products have evolved to offer a whole range of new features designed to help you better manage your money. One of these features, spending categorisation, automatically sorts your transactions to help you understand where your money is going. This guide will explain this feature in more detail, show you which banks are offering it and how to compare these banks to find the right one for you.
How do banks categorise my spending?
The simple answer to this is automatically. As you spend money, banks associate the retailer with the type of transaction that it's most likely to be. For example, a purchase made at Woolworths, Coles or Aldi is likely to be groceries, while a purchase at Cotton On is likely to be clothing. Keep in mind these automatic transactions aren't always 100% accurate. Stores sell multiple types of items and can fit into multiple categories. However, you can make the categorisations more accurate by sorting a few transactions yourself manually.
What budgeting features do bank apps offer?
- Automatic categorisation. The bank will automatically sort your transactions into categories such as "groceries", "entertainment" and "transport".
- Budgeting. Using the insights from your spending categorisations, some banks allow you to set up budgets within your account. This may involve a daily spend limit or certain limits for individual categories. You may also be able to specify how much you want to save and how quickly you want to do so and the bank will show you how much you can spend.
- Detailed transaction information. Some banks are including more-detailed information about transactions in accounts. For example, Up Bank will show you the merchant ID, the time the purchase was made, the location and the logo of the merchant.
- Savings round-ups. You may be able to "round up" your purchases to contribute to a linked savings account with a bank. For example, if you spend $2.95 and have enabled round-ups, the $0.05 will be sent to your savings account automatically. You can set a limit to how much you want to save per transaction and per month.
- Bill automation. Most banks that are tracking your transactions can see when bills are coming out of your account, either automatically through direct debit or manually when made by you. In the case of direct debits, you may be able to set up reminders so you can make sure you have sufficient funds in your account. If you're regularly paying the bill yourself many banks can set up an automated payment.
Compare banks that categorise your spending
What other apps and platforms offer spend tracking and budgeting tools?
If you're looking for a way to better understand your money through spending categorisation and budgeting tools, you have more options than your bank account. There is a range of platforms that you can securely connect one or multiple accounts to and have your spending categorised. Here are a few of them you can consider:
This is a personal finance app that lets you link your accounts, track where your money is going and set up budgets. Pocketbook will categorise your transactions from any accounts you add across your card, loan and savings accounts. It will do this automatically but you can help it learn by categorising manually as well.
You can then budget by category, set up savings goals and live within your means using its "safely spend" limit feature. You can download Pocketbook on Google Play or the App Store.
Finch is a social financial app that facilitates payments between friends. You can send and request payments, split bills and create groups for ongoing expenses such as in the case of housemates or team sports.
Its new feature, Finchsights, is a free personal finance tool that gives you insights on where your money is going from your linked accounts. You can download Finch on Google Play or the App Store.
MoneyBrilliant is a platform that allows you to connect your separate financial accounts and get a full view of your money. It is able to connect to over 200 financial institutions in Australia.
Using MoneyBrilliant you can manage your tax deductions, set up alerts for upcoming bills or low account balance and get insights into your spending. You can download it on Google Play or the App Store.
How to compare banks that offer spending categorisation features
It's important to consider other aspects of the bank account before signing up for a new account. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Fees. You can be charged a range of fees for a bank account. These can include ongoing account fees which can extend up to $5 or even $10, ATM withdrawal fees of up to $5 or deposit fees or limits. Take a look at what fees you will be charged and when.
- Features. What other features are offered by the bank? Do competitors offer better features? Make sure you compare your options and choose a bank account that offers the best features for your needs at the lowest cost.
- Other products offered by the bank. If you're keen to keep all of your products at a single bank (your savings account, for example) make sure the bank offers these products. Many newer banks that offer spending categorisation features have limited product offerings so you may not find all of your desired products in one location.
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