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Grade 9-12

Mobile Phones Matter

Time: 90 mins,
Updated: April 20 2020,
Author: Jeff SansonBrian Page


Students will be able to:

  • Explore mobile applications that aid in financial management and financial decision-making.
  • Identify mobile applications that aid in financial management and financial decision making with key financial concepts.
  • Research and present various techniques to establish a password to safeguard information on a mobile phone.

In this personal finance lesson, students will research mobile apps for financial decision making.



Show the students one or more examples of mobile banking commercials to illustrate what mobile application can do. Explain that financial apps on mobile devices can help you budget your money by tracking everyday spending. They can also help you make precise decisions when it comes to opportunity cost. Use the videos below:

  1. Bank of America
  2. JP Morgan Chase
  3. Citi


Review with students the opening video presentation Consumers’ Use of Mobile Financial Services. Make sure students understand the capabilities of the smartphone. Review key vocabulary with the students:

Decision-making is a method of selecting a course of action after gathering and evaluating information and considering the costs and benefits of various alternatives and consequences.

The preparation of a budget is filled with decision-making and weighing the pros and cons of those decisions.

Financial capability is the application of financial knowledge.

Individual Activity

Print copies of Understanding Mobile Apps by the FTC. Hand one copy to each student and read the article quietly. If students have access to a computer, have each student access the article online. Hand out one copy of the Matching Exercise to each student. Project the below web links or provide them as a handout. Review any terms that are unfamiliar to them and then have students complete the exercise by searching the articles. See below:

  1. These 20 Apps Will Save You Money Right Away
  2. Millennials want better digital money management tools
  3. The 10 Best Money Apps for 2019

Review responses as a class. Project the below two articles and reading them as a class.

  1. Forget Tough Passwords, New Guidelines Make It Simple, NPR
  2. It’s National Password Day, The FTC and the Better Business Bureau provide tips to make passwords are secure and information stays safe

Once you have read both articles, ask students to provide examples of good (and, if you choose, not so good) passwords.

Group Activity

Put students into groups of 2-3 to create a multimedia presentation illustrating mobile applications, such as “Six financial management apps you need on your phone right now” (Listicle/Buzzfeed style), that aid in financial management, financial decision-making, and use key financial concepts. As part of this activity provide each group with a copy of the Data Chart.

Tell students that they can use PowerPoint, Prezi, or other presentation software to present. Tell students to be sure to include the following information for their presentation:

  1. Identify how the apps would apply to your needs.
  2. Note the category(s) of financial decisions (earning income; saving; buying and purchasing; credit and borrowing; financial investing; and protecting and insurance) that each app will help the user with.
  3. Do you need an app that will provide you with your net worth?
  4. Will this app help me manage my bills?
  5. Why should I use an app to help me budget?
  6. Complete the Data Chart for the apps they select.

These questions are guidelines for the students. The student should do an analysis of relevant financial goals and financial needs for themselves or people their age, and use that information to create a matrix to cross-examine each individual app against their needs. Provide safety recommendations (per the FTC article and password suggestions)


Once the students have explored the preceding articles, have them complete the Data Chart by filling in the blanks with “apps” that match the financial concept.


Activity 1

Have the students complete one or both of the following:

Download to their phone the mobile application(s) they thought would positively impact their own financial behavior.

Write a four paragraph persuasive essay persuading the reader to use mobile apps for financial management and financial decision-making. Support your position with research, safety recommendations, and examples of “best practices.”

Personal Finance