Poor money management is one of the reasons why people tend to miss their dues during the debt payment process, leading to soaring interest rates at the end of the day. In order to avoid this unsightly cycle of debt, a handful of developers have created smartphone apps and mobile websites that will help users track debt while on the go.
And more than anyone else, it’s college students that have a hard time with debt, as they make school and personal loans despite being unemployed or mere part-timers. Below are some services that will help students in particular track, manage, and pay their debt via smartphone.
Myfedloan.org – Established by the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency, this body supports the US Department of Education in giving federal government-owned student loans. This website has a mobile version that allows students to check their student loan balance and make payments while on the go. Students can pay using any bank account and even save account information to avoid the hassle of re-entering it over and over.
Aesuccess.org – Still operating under the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency, it guarantees and services a variety of Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFEL) and private student loan products. It accepts payments via smartphone but only checking or savings account are allowed. Credit and debit card payments will not be accepted. The online service is available for free.
Readyforzero.com – This website is free and they are bound to launch an iOS app soon. If you’re already a fan of the website or just downright curious about the new app, you can check it out at Testflight.com. The website has accumulated over $200 million in funding and has helped people pay off a total of $12 million in personal debt.
Aside from helping users track and monitor debt repayment process, it also notifies when there is low balance, payment owed, payment cleared, APR changes, credit card transactions, account milestones, and offers.
Two startups have also sprung to help maker high education more affordable, if not free, for students. One of them is Coursera, a company founded by Stanford professors Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng last fall. It offers free online courses from universities like Stanford and Princeton but will expand to 30 more classes after receiving $16 million in its first funding round, led by by Kleiner Perkins.
“We are seeing tremendous retention on the site; when homework is due, traffic spikes,” Koller said. “If you’re changing the lives of millions of people, there will be a way to make it financially sustainable.”
Meanwhile, Akademos developed a new tool that helps professors find cheaper or free books for the sake of the students. According to CEO John Squires, the textbook business is run by “very powerful book publishers who can afford to have massive sales forces that go out and work individually with professors to convince them to buy textbooks,” and even pointed out that the textbook business is not “unlike the pharmaceuticals industry.” Akademos aims to change this, giving professors access to 2 million books across 3,600 subjects, which can be compared and selected based on quality and affordability.