The latest and greatest iPad apps for personal finance

An array of new financial applications have been launched for the Apple iPad by such industry leaders as E-Trade, Merrill Lynch, TD Ameritrade, Bank of America and Chase. A new study by Corporate Insight, a research firm that provides financial companies with data on the customer experience, reviews and assesses the array of new mobile finance service apps.

Best iPad apps

The study, "Money on the Move: Mobile Finance Review 2011," will be published later this month, and contains an industry-wide overview of mobile apps offered by more than 40 top financial firms in the following segments: banking, credit card, brokerage, mutual funds and annuities. The report contains reviews of general smartphone and tablet apps as well as iPad-specific products.

The iPad is a unique product, and the best iPad-specific apps make use of its unique features. For example, the iPad has a larger screen than a smartphone, meaning more information can be displayed. Simple account displays and charts are easy enough to read on a phone, but for more dense financial information, the bigger screen iPad is definitely a plus. And unlike a laptop, iPads have touchscreens, which create a more interactive experience.

5 major players

Highlights from Corporate Insight's report include the following recently launched mobile finance iPad apps:

  • E-Trade. The first big brokerage to launch an iPad app, the report finds that E-Trade continues to have the most user-friendly navigation. Users are able to scroll through an intuitive system of account and market information modules.
  • Merrill Lynch. This app offers superior access to market data and investor account information, as well as detailed research, portfolio and customized view options.
  • TD Ameritrade. This app features the best charting options, with more than 200 technical indicators and full use of the iPad's large screen. (So far the only app that features a full-screen view option, however, is Fidelity's.)
  • Bank of America. The report found that Bank of America has one of the best account information displays. It also can integrate Merrill Lynch account data.
  • Chase. For customers who want to deposit a check into their savings account using only their iPad, the Chase app is currently the only app that offers remote deposit capture for the iPad.

In their report, Corporate Insight included findings from an informal survey of financial executives on their plans for future mobile app services and offerings. The survey found that almost half of the financial executives surveyed indicated that their firm would be launching an iPad app in the next year.

"It's encouraging to hear so many firms are currently developing apps for the iPad," said Dan Wiegand, senior analyst at Corporate Insight, in a press release. "The device can deliver a much more visually rich experience than any smartphone. Financial institutions should do their best to take advantage of its capabilities."

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