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Hidden money in your phone

Do you have money hiding in your phone?

Ever reach into your pocket or your purse and find a twenty-dollar bill you forgot was there? It’s exciting. Sure, it’s money you already had, but it’s fun, and maybe it means you can go treat yourself to a nice lunch. Well, if you have your mobile phone nearby, you’re in luck. It’s entirely possible you have a forgotten twenty in there – or maybe more.

Let’s say you occasionally receive money from friends via Venmo, PayPal® or Zelle®. If so, you might have a balance in those peer-to-peer payment apps that you’ve forgotten about. Or maybe you didn’t know it was there in the first place, because you missed the notification about it. Unless you’re in the habit of checking each of these apps regularly, you might have a balance that you simply overlooked. If so, congratulations; you just found some forgotten funds.

You can also check any apps that let you preload money into them to use later. In addition to Starbucks®, companies ranging from Chick-Fil-A® to Uber provide this option. Many public transportation operators offer a similar service, reloading funds into your pass card any time your balance starts to get low. These apps and services are helpful if you use them regularly. But if you haven’t had a hankering for chicken nuggets or gotten a ride to the airport lately, you might have money in them that you forgot about. It can be easy to have an accidental balance in these apps. You may not want to reload one of them, but if you don’t remember to turn the auto-reload function off and your balance gets low, boom, you have another $20 or $30 hidden in your phone.

The good news is there are options out there to help you streamline your mobile spending and track it more easily. If you’re a heavy user of payment apps or apps that allow you to preload funds into them, using a prepaid debit card like Commerce Bank’s mySpending Card® may make sense for you.

“Many apps allow you to load your prepaid card credentials into them, and with a mySpending Card®, you can get alerts every time the card is used,” says Angela Finn, senior vice president of debit and prepaid products at Commerce. “The alerts make it easy to know when you’ve auto-loaded more funds into an app. If you use a card like this across every mobile-payment app you have, you have a single source that lets you know what’s being spent and where, whether it’s an auto-withdrawal, a monthly subscription cost or a one-time payment.”

Finn notes that she uses a mySpending Card® to easily manage her own discretionary spending. “I have a certain amount that I load to the card every payday,” she says. “It alerts me about my balance so I always know where my money is going and whether I’m on budget or not.” As a result, she knows exactly where all of her dollars go, whether they’re spent via an app or otherwise.

Even if a prepaid debit card isn’t for you, there are other easy ways to simplify your mobile spending. Sift through the apps on your phone once a month to help you jog your memory; turn off the auto-load functions on apps you rarely use. You may also have the option to withdraw any balance you’ve already preloaded, but if not, make plans to use it up so it doesn’t go to waste.

It’s also a good idea to get in the habit of perusing your monthly bank statements. They can help you keep track of app-related expenses you may have forgotten about.

Keeping tabs on your payment apps may not be quite as exciting as pulling a surprise twenty-dollar bill out of your pocket, but discovering forgotten money is always fun. And you may even be able to use it to buy yourself that nice lunch after all.

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