As technology becomes more ingrained in people’s lives, mobile apps are becoming the go-to options for accomplishing everyday tasks. With the right apps installed on a smartphone or tablet, a person can conduct banking tasks efficiently and, in many cases, they won’t need to make extra trips to brick-and-mortar locations to complete a transaction.

Millennials are at the forefront of this digital banking trend. When it comes to their finances, millennials are creating their own stacks of financial apps on their mobile devices, using services such as Level Money or Mint. In fact, many young people describe banks as being irrelevant to their daily lives, according to a 2014 study from Scratch, a part of the Viacom Media Networks.

Startups that build mobile apps have certain advantages over the large banking institutions. Most notably, they excel at developing innovative products and can move quickly to improve their solutions and enhance their user experience. Although some argue big banks will win — and there’s no denying that banking accounts are “sticky” — financial apps are becoming increasingly common for millennials who are managing their financial lives.

An Array of Financial Apps

Smart, tech-savvy individuals with smartphones have an incredible amount of computing power in their pockets. Using data and services, users can carry with them an endless stack of banking apps. Here are just a few examples:

  • Mint Bills: Once upon a time, most people paid their bills with physical checks from the bank. Today, services like Mint Bills, an app from Intuit, enable consumers to manage and pay all of their outstanding bills from the convenience of their mobile devices.
  • Venmo: What about paying individuals? As reported by Fortune, an app called Venmo is extremely popular among millennials — and for a good reason. The PayPal-owned app provides a simple way for people to pay one another without ever touching cash. It even helps them avoid awkward follow-up requests and, while risky to use with strangers, is great among friends.
  • Level Money: You can’t spend your way into financial security, so there’s been a wave of mobile financial apps designed to help encourage savings, such as Level Money and Mint. Both services help their users visualize their spending habits, set budgets and save money.
  • Concur: Corporate employees can access a range of powerful financial apps for enterprise use, such as Concur’s expense management tool, ADP retirement services or Coupa’s solutions for Android.
  • Betterment: Millennials today are looking for modern, transparent investment options, as opposed to the traditional stockbroker relationship. One of the best-known automated investment services, also known as robo advisers, is Betterment. Millennials have the option of using the web-based Betterment platform or the Betterment for Android app, which has garnered high praises for its functionality and ease of use in monitoring investment progress.

Many thought leaders in financial services and financial technology have long envisioned a more user-centric banking world, where customers can use a set of mobile apps based on their needs, instead of relying upon their bank branches. Today’s financial apps are making it increasingly possible for users to be independent of their financial institutions, accomplishing banking and investing tasks from the convenience of their mobile devices.

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Michael Halloran

Michael Halloran publishes the FinTech Blog on innovation and trends in financial services firms and startups, and is head of partnerships and business development at Previously, he was with Morgan Stanley, where he managed partner relationships in the wealth management division. He began his career as a consultant at Gemini Consulting, where he helped launch the U.K.'s first online bank. He was also a managing director at Scient (now Razorfish). Follow him on Twitter: @fintechblogger

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