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Makin' Money

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Chris Farrell Mar 17, 2011

Financial services companies are struggling to catch up with the popularity of smartphones and tablets like the Ipad–with good reason. According to Businessweek, Forrester Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans use mobile banking technology. The figure could rise to 50 million by 2015.

The marriage of the mobile Internet with personal finance should make for smarter shopping, easier impulse savings, and real-time household budgets.

It’s an exciting trend, but like all technological innovations it comes with some downsides. T

If closer connections with financial providers make it easier for consumers to see where their money goes, that could be a big positive, says Santa Clara University professor Meir Statman, an expert on behavioral finance and author of the book, What Investors Really Want. Such knowledge “really bolsters their self control” when out shopping, he says. Another outcome could be less positive, though. “People are more likely to trade more if it’s made easier,” he says. “What we know from studies is the more you trade, the more you are likely to lag behind people who buy and hold investments.”

New technology or not, trading remains hazardous to your wealth. I still think a lot of the commentary I’ve read on the trend underestimates the security concerns.

Still, it’s exciting to think about how apps may end up encouraging impulse savings and discouraging impulse buying with a credit card. At least it’s a hope.

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