iPhone Applications

Budget Tracker ApplicationsAccounts
Ace Budget
Home Budget
Financial Assistance Applications
Mint
Personal Assistant
Loan Calculator Applications
Loan Calc Pro
Mortgage Calc Pro
MyLoan
My Loan Calc
Spending and Saving Applications
Debt Tracker Pro
Grocery Gadget
Money Pass

Identifying the best personal finance applications, or apps, for the iPhone is a daunting task, given the number of choices available. But I found a few favorites and some honorable mentions to help you stay on top of your personal finances.

When choosing an application, consider what you're trying to accomplish. Typically, the best apps focus on doing one thing. Look at what your bank and brokerage accounts have to offer before surfing the app store. Major banks have mobile applications that report the balances on all accounts and let you pay bills and access e-bills.

However, third-party apps do many other things well. Because most apps cost $5 or less, you can always bid adieu to an app with a minimum of regret if a new one turns your head.

Remember, apps are only as good as you make them. They reinforce smart financial decisions, but will not get you to start balancing a checkbook or stick to a budget if you never have done so.

And don't forget to keep security in mind when using your cell phone to help with your finances. All of the applications reviewed have the ability to add password protection for the individual app.

Click on the app buttons at left to learn about different types of applications, including my personal favorites.

Iphone Applications
Budget Tracker Applications
Accounts
Ace Budget
Home Budget
Financial Assistance Applications
Mint
Personal Assistant
Loan Calculator Applications
Loan Calc Pro
Mortgage Calc Pro
MyLoan
My Loan Calc
Spending and Saving Applications
Debt Tracker Pro
Grocery Gadget
Money Pass

Budget tracker apps

Many banks and credit card companies have apps that allow customers to see balances as of a given date. However, there may be a timing gap between when expenditures are made and when the transaction shows up at the bank.

Diligent spenders should keep receipts and return home for input recording (either on paper or computer). These applications allow the user to enter data on the spot and keep track of bank balances and budget categories.

My top three picks in this category are:

Accounts by SVT Software: This is designed like a checkbook transaction register. The user is responsible for setting all the accounts and entering transactions. Once an initial balance is set up for each account, the application calculates the balance based on transactions added, categorized and assigned to a specific account. It has an easy-to-read report function that can be set up to record recurring transactions. The user interface is fairly easy-to-follow and the data can be e-mailed, exported into a spreadsheet or shared with another iPhone user. SyncDocs client for Windows needs to be used to back up the info to a laptop. This application is great for those who have the discipline to keep the data updated.

ACE Budget by SVT Software: Ace Budget is an easy-to-use financial application to help you track expenses and income based on an actual established budget. It requires you to put in the budget and subsequent transactions and then tracks how the expenses add up. It allows for categorization and detailed notes. It has a nice interface and great reports that are easy-to-read. Its reporting feature lets you see exactly where you are compared to your budget. As with the Accounts app, SyncDocs client for Windows needs to be used to back up the info to a laptop.

Dr. Don's favorite:

HomeBudget by Anishu: This application lets you manage account balances, budgets and bills. Like the previous two apps, you are responsible for setting all the accounts and budget figures, and entering transactions as you go along. You can set up credit and debit accounts, so it becomes like a register to keep account balances. The app syncs data with other iPhone users and will export to a desktop. You can take a picture of the receipt and associate it with a transaction on the same screen. The calendar feature is good for bill tracking. It is user-friendly and the developer was kind enough to post a user guide. I liked that this app offers a lot of reporting, with historical features that allow you look back and make comparisons.

Iphone Applications
Budget Tracker Applications
Accounts
Ace Budget
Home Budget
Financial Assistance Applications
Mint
Personal Assistant
Loan Calculator Applications
Loan Calc Pro
Mortgage Calc Pro
MyLoan
My Loan Calc
Spending and Saving Applications
Debt Tracker Pro
Grocery Gadget
Money Pass

Financial assistant apps

These applications collect, store and report on information from many accounts, thus eliminating the need to log into separate accounts. They are designed to pull information from its original source (bank, credit card, investments, bills, etc.) using your user name and password.

Unlike the budget tracker apps -- where the user enters the data -- these apps automatically report to you what is reported to them. Once the data appear, you can categorize and fine-tune to your preferences. However, there will be a discrepancy if there is a lag between the time you make an expenditure and when the credit card company reports it. These apps act on your behalf, logging into sites to get personal information.

Some people are not comfortable with this process and cite security concerns. But aggregation technology and security is 10 years old and has proven reliable. Like all the apps reviewed here, it has an application-level password. After reviewing information, the user has the option to log out (which I recommend). Once you log out, the account data are wiped from the phone.

Mint by Mint.com: This application does just what it says: "Track, budget and manage your money on-the-go." It reports balances at the account level based on how you set them up. If budget figures have been imported, the app will show how well a user is doing.

The drawback to this application is that it is not 100 percent self-contained in an iPhone app. Just as a user has to have an account at a bank to access online banking, you must be a registered user of the website Mint.com to take advantage of this app. The Mint.com application has a lot more functionality than the app, and if you are already a Mint.com user, starting at the website to update data shouldn't be a problem. New users, however, will have to start on the website first.

Dr. Don's favorite:

Personal Assistant Premium by Pageonce: Like Mint, this application tracks all your accounts in one place. Unlike Mint, it allows you to enroll and add accounts via the iPhone. The initial account setup and data retrieval was lightning-fast.

This application also allows you to track other activity, such as your Amazon.com account, cell phone usage and real-time updates on flights. The interface is strong and very simple to use. The app was conceived as a personal assistant, so it can track just about whatever you can think of that needs to be tracked.

Be aware there are two versions of this application -- the free one with less functionality and ads on the bottom and a paid version that has more functionality and no ads. The website explains the different features in each version. Decide if you need all the extra information before you hit the "install" button. That being said, Personal Assistant may be my favorite app to date.

 

 

Iphone Applications
Budget Tracker Applications
Accounts
Ace Budget
Home Budget
Financial Assistance Applications
Mint
Personal Assistant
Loan Calculator Applications
Loan Calc Pro
Mortgage Calc Pro
MyLoan
My Loan Calc
Spending and Saving Applications
Debt Tracker Pro
Grocery Gadget
Money Pass

Loan calculator apps

These apps can tell you on the spot what your payments are (or will be) and your current balances. Apps range from straight calculators to others that track how deeply in debt you are and how long it will take to climb out of the hole.

  • Loan Calculator Pro by SVT Software,

  • Mortgage Calculator Pro by SVT Software,

  • MyLoan by Metaform Solutions,

  • MyPayment by simpaddico, and several more are all loan calculators that allow a user to calculate payments, review amortization schedules and run "what if" scenarios for adding additional payments.
Dr. Don's favorite:

My Loan Calculator by CalcNexus.com: This app lets you calculate fixed-rate simple interest payments. It has the ability to load three different loans. As with a standard financial calculator, if you only have three of four variables, it will solve for the fourth (e.g., loan amount, interest rate, term, payment). A nice feature lets you add additional principal payments to see how the loan balance decreases. The application can also be used on the CalcNexus website.

Iphone Applications
Budget Tracker Applications
Accounts
Ace Budget
Home Budget
Financial Assistance Applications
Mint
Personal Assistant
Loan Calculator Applications
Loan Calc Pro
Mortgage Calc Pro
MyLoan
My Loan Calc
Spending and Saving Applications
Debt Tracker Pro
Grocery Gadget
Money Pass

Spending and saving apps

There are a few apps worth mentioning that do not fit neatly into the other categories. They include:

DebtTracker Pro by SnapTap: This app lets you put in loan (debt) information and create, manage and maintain a payoff plan. Once you set up accounts, DebtTracker Pro tracks where you are in debt repayment and how long it will take until the loan is repaid. It allows you to play "what if" scenarios by showing how paying more principal each month will effect your debt level. It also shows how much credit is left on debts that have a line of credit.

The user has to enter all the data and keep up with it. For instance, someone tracking credit cards will have to adjust balances if the cards are being actively used. This app is not a calculator; the user must put in all the payment information necessary to make the app useful. I like this app because it may keep a user disciplined about paying off debt.

Grocery Gadget by Flixoft: Knowing how your dollars are spent is a big part of being financially responsible. For most families, groceries make up a large part of the overall budget. This app takes advantage of a lot of iPhone technology. The website allows you to set up lists and then send them to your iPhone. You can check off items as you shop and keep a history of what you bought. Prices need to be manually entered unless the iPhone is a 3GS -- in that case, the app can use a bar-scanning option. As apps go, this is more expensive ($4.99), but it is well on its way to being something I didn't know I needed and now cannot live without.

MoneyPass ATM Locator by LocatorSearch: Unnecessary ATM fees are a pet peeve of many people. But there are times, especially in an unfamiliar area, where you're tempted to pay the fee for convenience's sake. This app will determine where you are, locate a surcharge-free ATM in the area and give you directions.

 

Copyright 2010, Bankrate Inc.