Even when online brokerage services became the norm, it would have been inconceivable to conduct business and analyses on anything other than a computer equipped with a generously-sized screen. Thanks to major advancements in smart phone technology — and dedication from brokerage houses — the chances are that your smart phone can take care of all of your personal finance needs.
As you might expect, a more-advanced smart phone will handle transactions and analyses better than a phone with a small screen and limited memory. However, you can have a reliable online experience on your phone if you do research into issues like the following.
Smart Phones Show Everything You Need to Know
When it comes to your finances, you want to be armed with all applicable information in order to make informed decisions. Good news: today’s smart phones are basically powerful computers, complete with Internet access. They can handle most personal finance tasks, from banking to investing.
Most financial institutions have formatted their online experience using responsive design techniques . In essence, this means that the pages display in the most appropriate way based on screen size. You get the best view regardless of whether the pages display on a large computer screen, or on your smart phone’s smaller display.
Naturally, you can see more on a larger screen without scrolling or swiping. You may prefer this type of view when reviewing rows and columns of information online. But, even smaller screens can display most information you need with relatively little effort.
These days, it’s hard to find a brokerage house that does not have its own smart phone app. If you already have an account, check out the company’s website to learn more about its available phone apps.
There are also many apps that are not connected with well-known brokerage houses. When you download and install these apps, part of the process typically includes signing up for an account. Once you make funds available, you are ready to start trading.
In either case, fees vary. You are unlikely to pay higher fees than you would pay for traditional trading. Now that some brokerage houses are waiving fees for most online equity trades, you may pay no fee at all. Similarly, app-based trading may involve no fee, but you may have to pay for the app. Be sure to check out the costs carefully to get the best deal.
Finally, keep in mind that banking carries FDIC insurance, but investment accounts do not have the same insurance protection.
Security Issues are Vital
As with everything that’s online, you need to really stay on top of potential security issues. You’re going to provide everything, from bank account and Social Security numbers to passwords, and you want to keep every transaction safe from the moment it leaves your smart phone to the time the service receives it.
Start by doing thorough research to ensure that each smart phone app encrypts all information to ensure that it can’t be used if someone snatches it in-transit. Then, take advantage of all recommendations you can find on operating securely. For example, never click a link that appears to come from your broker, and, of course, avoid using public WiFi.
No Snail Mail is Required
In certain cases, brokerage houses still require signatures or even paper-based forms, particularly when you are signing up for an account. While government regulations may prohibit the transmission of these papers by email or postal mail, faxing is permitted.
If you don’t have access to a fax machine, there is no need to pay the high setup and per-page charges at a store that offers fax services. Your smart phone can be used for online faxing purposes very easily.
When you use a reputable online service, your transmissions can be more secure than on a phone-based machine. The fees are generally quite affordable if you send faxes periodically. Plus, if you just have a one-time need, some services allow you to fax for free on a trial basis.
When Time is of The Essence, Trading Via Smart Phones Can Really Pay Off
The advice to invest for the long term has not changed; most investors do not have the mystical foresight to hit the highs and lows perfectly. Still, when you have the technology at your fingertips to react quickly — whether you need to transfer funds to your bank account, or hit a good price for a trade — a smart phone that’s properly set up for banking and investing makes you instantly responsive.
Unlike your computer, your phone is always with you. Plus, with a little attention, it can be as secure as any other online method that handles your money. At the very least, it provides a way to react quickly to your personal finance needs. But, when time is of the essence, it can help make a real difference to your bottom line.