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MashUp

Find It, Fix It, Save It

Gadgets and apps to help your wallet

By Leslie Steere

March/April 2018

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End Garage Gouging

Put a mechanic in your pocket with FIXD, a gadget that plugs into the car port of any gas or hybrid car made after 1996 and instantly tells you why your Check Engine light is on, how severe the problem is, and how much the repair should cost. The device can alert you to more than 7,000 potential issues in real time, relaying the information via a free app to your iOS or Android smartphone. US$59. FIXD

Find It Fast

Attach a coin-size XY GPS to one of your belongings, and the device can report its location anywhere in the world where cellular or GPS data is available. The tracker’s fully functional GPS unit pinpoints the item’s location via satellite data and sends it to your smartphone using the Global System for Mobile communication network. When the tracker is within Bluetooth range, it conserves its battery life by connecting with your smartphone and using the phone’s GPS location as its own. Single-pack version US$99; multipack options available. The Findables Company

Time for Blockchain in Finance?

Global survey report says yes.

Blockchain originated with and for digital currency, so it should be no surprise that a huge percentage (91) of financial services companies expect the technology to transform their industry. Although a recent global survey of 1,520 executives from 578 financial services firms revealed pockets of uncertainty on various topics, its authors warn that those who hesitate will be left behind.

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Source: “Financial Services: Building Blockchain One Block at a Time” (Cognizant, 2017)

Do you speak tech? Quiz yourself!

1. Which of the following names the process by which transactions are verified and added to a blockchain?

A. Mining

B. Consensus point

C. Handshake

2. In the context of blockchain, soft fork refers to

A. A scenario in which someone tries to send a Bitcoin transaction to two different recipients simultaneously

B. Software applications that can run without the use of a centralized system

C. A protocol being updated in such a way that it still can communicate with previous protocols

3. Fiat currency is

A. Any money declared by a government to be valid for meeting a financial obligation—USD or GBP, for example

B. The name for automaker Fiat’s profit-sharing model

C. Digital currency governed by proprietary and seemingly arbitrary rules

1. A; 2. C; 3. A

Apps: More Ways to Manage Your Cash

Track spending in multiple currencies, spend with friends, and watch the stocks.

Toshl Finance

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Track your income and expenses in more than one currency with Toshl Finance, which lets you automatically connect more than 9,000 US bank accounts, credit cards, or financial services; choose among almost 200 currencies (including 30 cryptocurrencies) for each transaction; categorize, tag, and search expenses; and sync with multiple mobile devices and other computing systems. Graphs, pie charts, and expense-location maps show you exactly where your money goes each month and how close you are to maintaining your budget goals. Free (Android, iOS)

Walnut

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With the Walnut money manager app, you can chat about, split, and settle expenses with friends using your debit card; transfer money to or request money from friends for free; and locate nearby ATMs with cash on hand. With the Android version you can also track expenses, pay Visa credit card bills directly from the app, receive bill reminders, and check all your bank account balances without using internet data. Free (Android, iOS)

Scout Finance

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Track financial news and stocks like a finance professional—in real time. The Scout Finance app allows investors to build a watch list of stocks and then access research, filings, operation data, reports, and pricing on more than 6,000 equities via their mobile phones, using one-touch navigation. The app can also deliver historical financial data covering the past five years of each company’s history and lets you listen to earnings call audio and import tickers from existing broker accounts. Free (iOS; Android may be in the works)

Photography by FIXD, The Findables Company, and iStock.com/ipopba