SMS Banking for your Data less Cell Phone

in Automated Finance

So you’re fastidiously working to reduce your monetary footprint on such extravagances like a data plan for your cell phone but you would love to have some of the options that your smart phone toting brethren enjoy.  You still have some options you’re just going to have to be happy with 160 characters worth of data in or out.

Tracking Expenses

xpenserIf you’re having trouble tracking your expenditures or job related expenses wouldn’t it be handy if you could just send a text with your details as you make them?  With Xpen$er you can do just that.  It’s very flexible as far as input goes, you can even call in and leave a voice message if you don’t have SMS capability.

From the Expenser website:

We were fed up with how painful expense reports and tracking were. After many experiments we found a workable solution: record expenses as soon as they happen and forget about them.

Xpenser lets you do just that – record expenses via whatever means are available to you quickly and painlessly. Send them in via Email, SMS, Twitter, IM, or voice (call a number and say your expense). From your Blackberry, email “Lunch 78.50 with BigClient” and it’s recorded. From your phone, SMS “exp groceries 27.13”. From your computer, IM “Equipment 889.19 backup server”. From your phone, call and say “taxi 39 office to airport”. Use the Web interface to edit and finalize them or export them to your favorite financial management software. No more forgetting your cash expenses, no more half-day expense entry sessions.

It’s terribly simple to use once you have your phone registered you can send a text message to Xpenser’s SMS number with a leading “exp” for example:  “exp Dinner with FiscalWife”  it will then show up in your expense list.  This service is free and incredibly useful.

Account Balances

These days more and more banks are providing SMS based services to help you keep tabs on your accounts and transactions.  Some of the bigger banks offering these services: Wells Fargo, Chase, HSBC and many others.  Even some credit unions and smaller banks offer these services.  You should enquire with your bank to see if they offer this service.

If you’re a Wells Fargo customer for instance and sign up for the service you can text: bal all to 93557 (WELLS) and get your current balance.  Sending act will send you the latest account activity.  Very handy for keeping constantly in touch with your finances.

SMS ATM Locator

This is another handy tool for so much more than just ATM locating but that’s the direct capability of a few banks right now using the Txtful service available at  They are a beta service at the moment but have a variety of “shortcuts” that allow you to do things like locate an ATM from Chase and Bank of America all the way to adding movies to your netflix queue.  They’re also taking suggestions on what other types of shortcuts to create or if you’re a true FiscalGeek you can write your own.

Don’t despair if you are one of the lowly SMS users you’ve got options, and a little searching you can find even more than I’ve listed here.  Good luck and let me know if you have any of your own tips and tricks.

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