Guest post by Beau Peters
The idea of a cashless society is nothing new. As technology continues to advance, electronic payments are becoming more popular than ever. In 2020, however, getting rid of cash completely became more of a hot-button issue than ever, thanks to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
While electronic payments are becoming more prominent, there is an undeniable issue developing: It’s easy to lose track of the money you’re spending. When you’re making a transaction with cash, you can see the money leaving your hands. When you’re paying electronically, you may be willing to spend more or not keep track of things. At least, until your monthly statement shows up.
There is no question that living in London proper is expensive. If you’re trying to make it in the city, having a budget is necessary, even if you have a lucrative career. So, how can you continue to stay on your budget and live comfortably in London while jumping on board with electronic payments?
The Pros and Cons of Electronic Payments
First, it’s important to understand how electronic payments can help, and how they might cause issues if you’re not careful. One of the biggest reasons people have made a switch to electronic payments is convenience. If you’ve recently moved to London, you’ll immediately notice the popularity of the Oyster card and contactless payment options, just to get around on the bus or tube! It’s like having a golden ticket in your possession.
Obviously, convenience is a huge factor that keeps you from having to carry loose cash or even multiple cards at once. E-payments also tend to be “cleaner” than cash, which is why they’ve become so popular amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Let’s face it, it’s easier to carry around a card than a bottle of hand sanitizer.
One of the potential risks of electronic payments, however, is security. The most common types of e-payments are:
- Credit cards
- Bank transfers
- E-wallet payments
They all come with their own risks, but because so many people use their mobile devices to manage their finances, it’s important to make sure any information you provide is secure. If you’re already on a tight budget and frequently using your e-wallet to make payments, make sure to only use it when you are in a location with secure Wi-Fi. Additionally, only use official websites, apps, and platforms to make your payments and keep your money safe.
Budgeting Apps to Make Life Easier
If you feel safe and secure about making electronic payments, the next thing to keep in mind is how to stay on budget and not go overboard with your spending (even when it feels like magic sometimes!).
One of the easiest ways to stay on track is to use your mobile device to your advantage, rather than just using it to pay for things. Budgeting apps are a fantastic way to keep track of your spending habits.
Apps can help you manage all of your financial accounts in the palm of your hand by merging them onto one convenient platform. You’re able to see all of your transactions, and the app actually splits up how you’re spending your money into different categories, so you can see where every bit of it is going each month. Top budgeting apps include:
- UK Salary Calculator
- Money Dashboard
- Pocket Expense
If you’re already taking advantage of the technology associated with electronic payments, why not take advantage of the technology that can keep you on track with your finances, too? Building a budget doesn’t have to be an antiquated process. Stay in the know with your money, and you’ll be less likely to overspend.
Paying Your Bills Automatically
One way to make monthly budgeting easier on yourself is to set up electronic payments for the bills you have each month. Utilities may vary in cost from month-to-month, but there’s a good chance you have a basic idea of what they will be. Many companies now allow their regular customers to make e-payments. If you sign up for automatic bill pay, you can make your monthly payments without even having to think about it.
When you know a certain amount of money will be “coming out” each month, you can budget for that. Mobile banking also helps you to stay on track, since you will see the money coming from your account in real-time. The use of financial technology is becoming more popular and prominent for:
- Virtual wallets
- Payment platforms
- Online payments
- Personal finance
The more you can automate with your money and the more in control you are with technology, the easier it will be to manage your funds.
Living in London can be hard on your wallet if you don’t have a lucrative career lined up, or you don’t have a healthy budgeting plan. Electronic payments are likely here to stay, whether we go completely cashless or not. By learning more about how the technology behind e-payments can help you, you’ll be able to start building a better budget and make payments wisely.