Personal Finance Interview with Dave Taylor on How Technology is Changing Money for Mint.com



How is technology changing - and going to change - the way we manage and use our money? We took our cue from the website AskDaveTaylor.com and, well, asked Dave Taylor!

Dave has been in the computer industry since 1980 and has been online even before the Internet came around (yes, people could do that). He has the goods when it comes to academic credentials and has launched several successful and fantastic online start-ups, being a player in the dot-com bubble. He's also written twenty books and is a prolific writer with thousands of articles in magazines and newspapers. Furthermore, he's an award-winning public speaker.

There's lots more, and we asked Dave Taylor about it.

Tell us a little bit about your site, what you do, and what you're passionate about.

I have a number of different sites, actually, though my main web site is Ask Dave Taylor where I help people out with tech issues and talk about consumer electronics. I've been doing it for over a decade now; there's not much in the tech space I haven't bumped into - or fixed! - which I definitely enjoy. In fact, what's common across my film blog, my fathering site and everything else I do is that I'm fundamentally interested in how people communicate and how we interact with the world around us.

As a single father to three, for example, communication proves critical for our continued success (and my sanity!) but it's just as important with tech systems. What works for you? Why? And how can your environment help create happiness and contentment?

How do you think people can use their mobile devices to manage their personal finances better?

We've all heard the stats: money is the hardest thing for a couple to manage. Whether it's frugal versus profligate, or even children who seem to think, as mine do, that money grows on a secret tree hidden in the backyard, keeping track of income and expenses is critical to success in our complicated economic universe. Balancing checkbooks is one thing, but having the self-discipline to sit in front of your computer every evening and enter your receipts is beyond what 99.5 percent of people will actually do. So mobile devices are a fabulous improvement. Give me a point-of-purchase device and it's a breeze to scan receipts, upload expense reports, and generally keep up to date on that all important current balance in my account.

Do you think that banking apps are the real future of banking? How do you think these apps will change things in the next decade?

I think that we've seen a long evolution of banking where it's gone from the men in the counting house who wrote all the rules, defined their hours of business, and were the gatekeepers between you and your money to a far more egalitarian world where we are in charge of our own finances and can access them 24x7, whether through an ATM or online through a banking web site or mobile app. That trend will continue and the ability to deposit checks by photographing and uploading their images, the ability to complete micro-transactions like sending $5 to your pal for your share of the pizza or beer will continue to evolve. Consumers in the driver's seat. What's not to like about that?

How do you think personal finance apps like Mint.com will contribute to this?

Power, flexibility, high security and ease of use are what's going to distinguish companies as this change occurs, and Mint.com is well positioned to nimbly react to customer concerns and create a solution that offers the best of both online banking and personal financial management systems.

Do you think the changes in how we communicate, with the Internet and social media, are affecting how we approach banking and what we expect from banking?

Absolutely. I want things now, regardless of where I am or what time it is, and I don't want to worry about excessive transaction charges or fees. I also want to know that my information is secure too: There's little more critical than banking information because it includes tax information, a rich dataset of where I spend money, and exact data about who pays me, when, and how much.

Tell us about portable credit card systems and how you think our phones etc. will become credit card systems. Basically, what do you think the future is going to look like here?

I have been using my smartphone as a transactional device for years now and I now prefer to have the local Starbucks scan my phone's screen over paying cash or swiping a credit card. It's easier, faster, and has a futuristic feel to it. Add in NFC in the latest generation of smart mobile devices and we'll be able to complete transactions without even having to pull the devices out of our pockets or purses. It's bound to be quite interesting...

Want to ask Dave Taylor anything yourself? Sure, in addition to visiting AskDaveTaylor.com you can also like Dave on Facebook, connect with Dave on LinkedIn or follow Dave on Twitter.