Carry a personal finance advisor with you at all times with one of these free smartphone apps.
As any financial advisor will tell you, the first step to growing your money is knowing how much you have to begin with. The best personal finance apps for your iPhone or Android phone can tell you that, anytime and anywhere you’re holding your smartphone. Personal finance apps extract real-time data from all your financial service providers, including banks, investment houses, PayPal, lenders, and loyalty rewards programs, to paint the most accurate portrait of your finances on the fly. This is a far cry from the pre-PC days when tracking your expenses involved saving receipts, writing down transactions, opening paper bills, and going to the bank every now and then.
With a personal finance app, smartphone owners really have no excuse to go into overdraft.
A natural concern about using a personal finance app is security. Frankly, the name brand apps we recommend are probably more or less secure than carrying your credit card around in your wallet. For one, these apps don’t store any personal financial data on their servers or even the mobile device itself, so any hacker who suddenly gets his hands on your device won’t be able to find anything of value. You can also remotely deactivate your account from an online admin portal. Furthermore, all the apps claim to use 128-bit bank level, or 256-bit military-level encryption, and are verified by TRUSTe, VeriSign, and MacAfee.
Whether you’re fresh out of college or saving up for your retirement home, take the first step to financial wealth by downloading one of the apps below. Meanwhile if you could use some help preparing your taxes, check out the Best Tax Software which includes plenty of iPad, iPhone, and Android options.
FEATURED IN THIS ROUNDUP:
Mint.com for iOS and Android offers a quick and dirty look at all your account balances, updated in real-time, as long as you’re connected to the Internet. It automatically categorizes your transactions, alerts you when you’re about to go over your budget, and lets you opt-in to push notifications about bills. It nabbed the Editors’ Choice pick for personal finance apps because of its speed and reliability—truly the easiest way to track all your accounts on the fly. Its free Web-based sibling Mint.com adds depth to the app with the ability to move money between accounts and create detailed spending forecasts. Read the full review ››
Adaptu Wallet for iPhone
Adaptu Wallet for iPhone is great for entry- to mid-level budgeting enthusiasts, packing many unique features like tracking loyal programs, creating spending forecasts, and storing photos of insurance and business cards. It’s ad-free and will start charging for usage sometime in 2012, so get it on your iOS device fast. I found it a snap to connect to my Citibank, Verizon, Netflix, Delta Skymiles, Starbucks Rewards, and PayPal accounts, though information isn’t reflected quite as quickly as in Mint. My favorite feature is that it lets you photograph and store images of all the loose ends in your wallet, like your insurance, rewards, and business cards, on the device, which is probably safer than in my wallet. Read the full review ››
The newest kid on the block shows the most promise. Pageonce has my favorite interface among personal finance apps, placing key account balances in thumbnails that appear on the home screen. Unfortunately, it lacks PayPal support (and I use PayPal a lot), so it didn’t paint an accurate picture of my net worth. Balance updates aren’t as fast as Mint.com or Adaptu, sometimes taking two days to reflect a bill payment or transaction. For $4.99 per month, a Gold version lets you pay bills directly from the app and removes the non-intrusive banner ads at the bottom. Notably, this is the only app that performs transactions. Read the full review ››
By Sara Yin, PCMag