If you’re like most people, you rely on apps to track everything from fitness goals to prescriptions. Why not use apps to manage your credit cards and help simplify your finances?
This U.S. News guide will get you up to speed on apps designed to manage all aspects of your credit life.
What Credit Card Management Apps Can and Can’t Do for You
“It’s clear that personal finance as a category is just a huge challenge for most Americans,” says Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, CEO and co-founder of financial blog AskTheMoneyCoach and author of “Zero Debt: The Ultimate Guide to Financial Freedom.”
With U.S. consumer credit card debt at roughly $986 billion in the last quarter of 2022, according to a report by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and many people without adequate savings, Khalfani-Cox says Americans can use all the help they can get. That includes apps.
[Read: Best Rewards Credit Cards.]
Credit card management apps can help you get clarity on your credit use without having to sit down and analyze mounds of bills and statements. “A hidden benefit of using apps for credit card tracking is that they make you much more aware of your spending patterns,” says Ariana Arghandewal, founder of PointChaser, a credit card points and miles blog.
Yet no app is a magic bullet for your finances, no matter how robust its features are, Khalfani-Cox says. Apps have mastered the “set it and forget it” approach, but this can be dangerous with money, she adds.
“Money management is dynamic, not static, and should be revisited, tweaked, updated, monitored and updated from time to time,” Khalfani-Cox says.
Also, technology isn’t flawless, and being aware of when your credit card bills are due is important, Arghandewal says.
“You never know what might happen: Your notifications could get turned off, or not updating the app could lead to a malfunction,” she says. “You don’t want to be on the hook for late and interest fees because you relied too heavily on this technology to tell you when your credit card payments are due.”
Keeping that in mind, here are some top credit card management apps worth exploring. These free apps span a range of categories, including budgeting, paying bills, reducing debt, tracking credit card rewards and monitoring card benefits.
For Budgeting: Mint
Why it’s worth downloading: If you’re seeking an app for both a broad view and a detailed look at your credit cards and overall finances as well as alerts to ensure on-time payments, Mint is perhaps the most popular app in this category. You can create a budget, track card spending in customizable categories, get credit card bill alerts, and more.
“I’ve been using Mint as a personal finance management tool for almost a decade,” Arghandewal says. “It’s free, user-friendly and has lots of features that make credit card management and budgeting easy.”
Drawbacks: Reserve a couple of hours to get started because setting it up takes time. And if you’re completely new to financial apps, tracking and categorizing every transaction you might make could take some getting used to.
Where to get it: Download Mint from the App Store or Google Play.
[Read: Best Cash Back Credit Cards.]
For Paying Bills: Prism
Why it’s worth downloading: With excellent customer reviews, this app is a top choice for people who want help keeping track of what they owe and when. Just sign up and add your cards, and the app finds your current statements. It creates a calendar to see all upcoming and paid bills, and it lets you make same-day payments or schedule them.
Drawbacks: Even though the app makes paying credit cards simpler, it has no autopay feature. As a result, you will have to log on and set up payments each month.
Where to get it: Download Prism from the App Store or Google Play.
For Reducing Debt: Debt Payoff Assistant
Why it’s worth downloading: For anyone with revolving credit card debt, this app lets you choose which payoff method is best for you. Debt Payoff Assistant focuses on the snowball method of repaying your debts from smallest to largest. But you can also opt to target your highest balance or interest rate first, or create a custom plan.
“This app has flexibility, and it will help you track your payoff efforts and show you the progress,” Khalfani-Cox says.
Drawbacks: Unlike other apps that pull your balance information directly from your creditors, this one requires you to enter what you owe and interest rates for each account. You can update balances, interest rates and payments as you go.
Where to get it: Download Debt Payoff Assistant from the App Store.
Cost: The app is free but has ads. A Debt Payoff Pro version has no ads but costs 99 cents.
For Tracking Credit Card Rewards: AwardWallet
Why it’s worth downloading: You can see all of your credit card rewards — including credit card points such as Citi ThankYou Points, American Express Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards — in one place. The app also lets you know when your awards will expire so you can use them before you lose them.
Arghandewal, who travels all over the world by using points and miles, says the AwardWallet app helps her keep tabs on everything. “You can link all of your frequent flyer, hotel and even bank rewards accounts and get notifications when your rewards balance changes,” she says.
Drawbacks: Some loyalty programs, such as United’s, aren’t part of the platform.
Where to get it: Download it from the App Store or Google Play.
Cost: free. More advanced rewards hackers can opt for AwardWallet Plus for $30 per year. This gives you historical transaction records, advanced reporting on account balances and transactions, and other extras.
[Read: Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards.]
For Monitoring Credit Card Benefits: Sift
Why it’s worth downloading: Sift aims to help make you aware of the sometimes-hidden benefits your credit cards offer, such as price protection, extended warranties, travel protections and more. It works by linking to your email account so it can “sift” through your digital receipts and then alert you about protections available for those purchases.
For about 20 retailers — including Amazon, Target and Macy’s — you’ll also get automatic price protection, as long as your corresponding credit card offers that benefit. If a price drops on something you recently bought, the app will file a claim for you so you can get a refund for the difference.
Drawbacks: Sift requires access to your email account, which could make some folks uncomfortable. And if your purchase receipts don’t go to your email, the app won’t know about them.
Where to get it: Download Sift from the App Store or Google Play.
Choosing the Right App
No matter your credit card goals, you can probably find an app to support them. But downloading an app is just the start, Khalfani-Cox says.
“Just having the tool means nothing if you’re not going to make the best possible use out of it,” she says.
Assess your pain points, Khalfani-Cox recommends. Do you have too many credit cards to manage? Are you struggling with credit card debt? Are you unable to maximize rewards programs? Your answers will help you find the most helpful apps.
What’s best for you is really a matter of preferences and priorities. Test a few credit card management apps to see which ones you like, Khalfani-Cox and Arghandewal suggest. In the end, the “best” apps will be the ones that keep you motivated and focused on achieving your goals.
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5 Credit Card Management Apps to Stay on Top of Payments originally appeared on usnews.com