Financial help, e-shop Beyond netbanking: Apps taking centre stage

Along with new-age apps from banks, a range of free but helpful apps are floating around.

On Wednesday, HDFC Bank — the country’s second largest private sector bank — unvieled plans for a concerted push into the digital space with a preview of PayZapp, a free mobile app that enables customers to go directly through the bank to access banking and non-banking needs — shopping, payments, etc through a single step feature, effectively bypassing merchant sites. The customer’s benefit, HDFC MD Aditya Puri says, is not just convenience — there will be range of discounts from the merchants for users of the app. The move marks the bank’s entry into the fast-growing e-commerce space, where it will directly compete with platforms such as Paytm.

So far, around 15 major merchants including Flipkart, Cleartrip, GoIbibo and BharatMatrimony have signed up. The bank claims that within 45 days, there will be 10,000 more. The firm plans to open the app for the public on Monday. Initially, only HDFC customers will have access. Later, depending on the response from the merchants, it will be open to all. With the spread of netbanking, most banks have launched mobile applications for meeting the daily banking needs of their account holders. Last month, in a span of just a week, the State Bank of India signing an MoU with Amazon and followed it up with pacts inked with Snapdeal and Paypal, which are some of the biggest online retail and payment solution firms. “The bank may also look at selling its financial products on Amazon in near future,” SBI Chairman Arundhati Bhattacharya had said.

The move by the banking majors comes at a time when our phones have become more of a personal assistant than just a calling and messaging device. Many of us use a range of applications to boost everyday productivity – working on the go(office outlook), creating spreadsheets (Google docs), holding conferences (Skype), learning languages (Duolingo) or even finding a partner (Tinder).

The financial benefit of mobile applications isn’t confined to the domain of shopping and banking. There are a range of free apps that cater to managing your personal accounts, keeping tabs on domestic and international markets and even for calculating your taxes with simple steps.

Stock Watch ( Android)
Stock Watch’s a handy tool to keep a tab on the Indian bourses. The app also offers Indian stock market news, F&O updates and BSE/NSE intraday charts. The Watchlist feature lets users create a separate segment for the stocks in your portfolio.

Yahoo! Finance (Android, iOS)
Popular globally, Yahoo’s Finance app lets you select your country so that you can access just the relevant stock prices. The app offers daily market summary and news, tracks tickers that are important to you and lets you add or remove stocks from the watchlist. The app neatly organises your specific stocks and also lets you track them with real-time and after-hours data.

Insurance apps:
Most reputed insurers have their individual mobile apps for policyholders, these apps not only help in making filing claims hassle-free but also help in comparing various policies and then choose the ones that best suit your needs. However, when it comes to comparing policies of different insurers there are few options for Indian users with Policybazaar being the most visible player.

Tax Calculator India (android)
A handy app for android users. With a few easy steps the app not only calculates your tax but also tells you how much you need to invest to save on your taxes.

Mutual Funds:
Indian Mutual Fund Tracker (Android)
The app will automatically update your net worth based on your Indian mutual fund investments. The handy widget on your phone’s home screen automatically updates your net worth. It also lets users manually track NAV updates from a huge database of mutual funds.

EMI Calculator
EMI Calculator does exactly what it sounds like. Enter your principal amount, the interest rate and the loan tenure to get your EMI(s) in one place. Just 3-4mb in size, the app is quite handy for maintaining and comparing your existing loan profile.

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