This might come as something of a shock to you, but the internet changed a lot of things when it arrived in the 90s. Of course, the internet goes back further than that, but for the most part, it got its start in the early 1990s with Tim Berners-Lee’s invention of the World Wide Web. Since then, the internet has grown to encompass pretty much every aspect of our lives; we rely on smart technology to help us do many things, the smartphones and tablets we carry with us are always connected, and without the internet, many of us simply wouldn’t have a job.
One area in which the internet has undeniably had a huge impact is that of personal finance. The ways in which we manage our money have completely changed since the advent of the internet; so many things that we once did in person or over the phone can now be done with the tap of a screen or the touch of a key. There’s almost no way you haven’t noticed the influence of always-online culture over your financial wellbeing. Here are some of the ways the internet has changed personal finance.
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Loans are much easier
With just a simple online search, you can now easily find thousands upon thousands of loan providers who will help you if you’re in a tight spot when it comes to cash. Before the internet, you’d have to painstakingly search through listings or ask friends and family who the best company was. Now, platforms like loans2go provide safe, quick, and reliable loans without fuss or hassle, and you can find them simply by tapping a few keys on your keyboard. If you aren’t sure about the service, you can also lookup online reviews to see if you’re getting a good deal!
We pay for everything without cash
It’s not entirely fair to say that the internet revolutionized cashless payments. We were paying for things with credit cards long before the advent of the internet, but that being the case, it’s definitely true that it’s easier to make payments without cash now. Thanks to contactless technology and services like Google Pay, we can simply walk into a shop without cash or even a card, grab what we want, and pay using our smartphones. The benefits of this should be obvious, especially in a pandemic; we can minimize the amount we touch devices, thus decreasing the chances we come into contact with something nasty.
Online banking gives us a quick snapshot
It’s never been easier to see exactly what your financial health looks like thanks to the internet. Every major banking service offers an online component you can use to quickly see your balance, your bills, your active direct debits, and lots of other useful information. Thanks to online banking, it’s never been easier to detect and deal with fraud, either. You can quickly identify when someone’s using your card or your information without your consent, inform your bank, and freeze payments before too much damage is done.
Shopping is easier
One of the biggest and most potentially controversial ways the internet has changed our lives is the ease with which we can now shop. Some would say that the immediacy of online shopping has led to a rise in impulse spending, which would naturally mean people’s financial health consequently declines. However, the immediacy and speed of online shopping can’t be denied; it has its drawbacks (not being able to see what you’re buying, delay in delivery) but the convenience and sheer variety of options mean most people are shopping online rather than in person now.
Paying bills is much easier
If you need to make a payment on a bill and you don’t have a direct debit set up for whatever reason, payments couldn’t be simpler nowadays. Most services have an online portal where you can easily make payments, so you don’t need to go near a phone or physically pay the bill. Of course, with online banking, you can also monitor and change direct debits at the drop of a hat, so there’s really no reason not to take that option instead. There’s no doubt that paying bills is a much easier process now that everything’s online.
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Financial advice is easily available
While you may not count bloggers as financial experts, there’s no doubt that there’s a wealth (no pun intended) of financial expertise available out there on the internet, and you don’t have to pay a penny for a lot of it. The advice of a paid professional can never be matched, of course, but if you just need to know how to do something basic – start up a budget, say, or set up a standing order – then you can just search for it online and you’ll know what you’re doing in seconds. The widespread availability of financial advice has made many people’s lives much easier when it comes to financing management!
Everyone has a smartphone
This is more of a tech point than anything else, but it’s certainly true that smartphones are incredibly affordable for almost everyone now. There are products to suit everyone’s budget, and the same goes for SIM deals, meaning that there’s really no excuse not to be connected in today’s world. As such, you’ll always be able to manage your personal finances on the go; most banks have apps you can use to log in to your account, and there’s a range of budgeting and finance apps available to help you build a budget and watch what’s going in and out of your accounts. So in all these ways the internet has changed personal finance.
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