Best smart money apps for tough money times

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Though the cost of living may bite at the moment, these smart budgeting and savings apps could help you bite back. 

From AI assistants to neobanks to budgeting like a superhero, these mobile apps help you rethink how you manage your money. They’re all free to download, and as an added bonus, some have even won a 2022 Mozo Experts Choice Award or two, making them among the best in the business. Score!

So if you’re looking for some shiny new fintech to help you crush the cost of living and boost your savings, here are some of the smartest money apps for your smartphone.

Frollo - Manage all of your money in real time

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This fintech superstar money management app has made a big splash since debuting in 2020. As one of the pioneers of open banking, Frollo lets you collect all your banks, super funds, home loans and more all in one place with secure real-time data flow, giving you a galaxy-brain overview of your finances.

Exciting tools include a budget customiser, automatic spending tracking, and a bill feature so you can see expenses coming. No wonder Frollo won Best Money Management App in the 2022 Mozo Experts Choice Banking Apps & Tech Awards.

Where to download: Free from the Apple App Store or Google Play

Up - Supercharge your savings with a neobank

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As a two-time 2022 Mozo Experts Choice Banking & Tech Awards winner, Up soars above the rest of the neobank crowd. Virtually fee-free for standard use, you get unlimited free transactions through the iOS or Android app and free ATM withdrawals with most major banks both internationally and domestically. A lack of international purchase fees also makes it a great travel companion if you’re on the go. 

Even more intriguing is Up’s “Round Up” feature, which rounds all purchases to the nearest dollar and transfers the difference into your Up Saver account. Not content with simple savings? You can also customise the round up feature so you put more away with every pay. Huzzah! 

For ease of mind, Up is also backed by Bendigo and Adelaide Bank, with deposits guaranteed up to $250,000 through the Financial Claims Scheme

Where to download: Free from the Apple App Store or Google Play

CommSec - Join the wide world of share trading

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Scared to share trade? No worries, because CommSec is designed with both pros and newbies in mind. Winner in the Exceptional Share Trading App and Casual EFT Trader categories at the 2022 Mozo Experts Choice Share Trading Awards, this mobile app from Commonwealth Bank is one of the best at demystifying the whole share trading process.

For a $10 share brokerage fee (conditions, interest, and other fees may apply), CommSec’s standard Trading Account provides users with live data, comprehensive reports and insights, and access to the ASX and 25 more international share markets. Traders can also buy into diversified portfolios hand-picked by CommSec’s Investment Management, to cut down on guesswork.

You can connect your existing CommBank account or an external bank to the app, but just be aware that some pricey fees/interest rates may apply. However, if you’re after an experience rich with data and insights, CommSec is definitely worth checking out.

Where to download: Free from the Apple App Store or Google Play

Money - For people who love Afterpay

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Buy Now Pay Later platforms are all the rage, so if you love BNPL titan Afterpay’s services, you’ll probably love Money, their latest app. Geared toward young Australians, Money sets and visualises your financial goals through Money Stories, a smart tool that creates visually engaging summaries of your spending, saving, income, and BNPL balances. You can also check out Money Diaries (powered by partner Refinery29), which shows insights into how other people use their money. 

Users can set up to 15 savings goals in different savings accounts and automate Money’s Roundup and Multiplier tools, which divert micro-amounts from every transaction right in your savings. Money also features Afterpay’s other functions like Retro, which retroactively splits prior transactions into four payments, and Pulse, which clues you into exclusive savings, discounts, and rewards with select brands. (Just be mindful of these Afterpay traps).

Where to download: Free from the Apple App Store

Finspo - Get insights and positive vibes as you pay down your home loan

Collage of a happy person dreaming of paying down their home loan.

Paying down a home loan can feel like a long, tedious drag, but Finspo is here to spice things up. Using personalised insights, know-how, and refreshing positivity, this app markets itself as an excellent way to cut confusion and the length left on your repayments. Turn on notifications to get 24/7 alerts on any charges or rate changes, and let an AI do the legwork on seeing how you could save time and money by getting an offset account, adjusting your payments, or refinancing

Finspo is also keen on helping users bank better, with or without a home loan. Link multiple accounts from 100+ banking providers and let the helpful Finspo bots trawl the data. Finspo then compares your data to the market to see if you could be served better elsewhere – and amps you up with positive feedback to meet your savings goals. 

Where to download: Free from the Apple App Store or Google Play

Flux - Level up your credit score with a savings game

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Credit scores seem like one of life’s unsolvable mysteries, like Bigfoot or Atlantis. But this is where Flux comes in, advertised as a way to “win at money” and learn the secrets of the tomb – er, your credit score.

Their approach? Turn your finances into a game. With weekly prizes, no-nonsense money insights, and ways to improve your credit score, Flux is all about injecting the business of budgeting with much needed pizazz. This is great news for Aussies keen on paying down their debts, since according to Flux, nearly half of all Australian adults of all ages and backgrounds struggle with basic financial literacy. 

Where to download: Free from the Apple App Store or Google Play

Beem - Split bills with friends, send money, and get rewards

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If you’re tired of awkward conversations about splitting bills or money owed, don’t worry: apps like Beem can do it for you. Backed by eftpos, Beem is a go-to choice for many young Australians for splitting bills, sending money, and accessing exclusive rewards and cashback from retailers like ASOS and Footlocker (T&Cs apply).

Plus, as a quirky perk for Zoomers, you can send gifs with your gifts. Who doesn’t wanna see Beyonce dance in their notifications? Make it rain, Bey. Make it rain.

Where to download: Free from the Apple App Store or Google Play

ATO - Become a tax-ready superstar and lodge your return

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A free app from the Australian Taxation Office? That sounds like a trap! But au contraire, mon amis, the ATO app could be the ultimate tax-time game-changer. 

Using tools and insights custom-built by the ATO, you can track your cash gifts, rental expenses, work from home claimables, and other tax deductions so you can arrive at the end of the financial year in style. Link it with your MyGov account to take control of your income/super then lodge your tax return with everything all ready to go. Taxes made easy: check! (Just be sure to make regular backups of everything you log).

Where to download: Free from the Apple App Store or Google Play

Looking for more cost of living inspiration? Check out these 10 ways to save. We’ve also rounded up 10 of the best mobile apps of 2022 if you’re filling out your home screen.

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^Finspo and Flux are both commercial partners of Mozo, using the Mozo Marketview platform and associated market data.