smart spending

Best iPhone personal finance apps

Personal finance apps for iOS
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Personal finance apps for iPhone or iPad © KieferPix/Shutterstock.com

Personal finance apps for iOS

Identifying the best personal finance apps for the iPhone is a daunting task, given the number of choices available. These top picks will help you stay on top of your finances.

What to look for

When choosing an app, consider what you're trying to accomplish. Typically, the best apps focus on doing one thing really well. Look at what your bank and brokerage accounts have to offer before surfing the app store. Major banks, especially technology-friendly ones like PNC, 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. Three things to remember:

  • Because most apps are free or inexpensive, you can always bid adieu to an app with a minimum of regret if a new one turns your head.
  • Apps are only as good as you make them. They reinforce smart financial decisions but will not get you to balance a checkbook or stick to a budget if you have never done so.
  • Keep security in mind when using your smartphone. All the applications reviewed have the ability to add password protection for the individual app.

Not an iOS user? Check out the best finance apps for Android phones.

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Budget tracker apps

Budget tracker apps

Diligent spenders should keep receipts and put them into some kind of register. These apps allow the user to do just that. Some top picks in this category are:

HomeBudget with Sync by Anishu Inc.

Price: $5.99

This app lets you manage account balances, budgets and bills.

  • You can set up credit and debit accounts and track balances.
  • It syncs data with other iPhone users and can export to a desktop.
  • Users can take a picture of the receipt and associate it with a "family sync" feature that allows members of the household to exchange information and work together within a single budget.
  • It's very visual and lets shared users see information quickly.
Wally by Wally.me

Price: Free

This app has the ability to scan a receipt and then pull the information from the scan into a budget format. It lets you keep track of your spending and have a picture of the receipt. This app also shows you how much available money you have, a feature many other expense-tracking apps lack.


Financial assistant apps

Financial assistant apps

These apps collect, store and report on a multitude of accounts in one place, eliminating the need to log in to separate accounts.

They are designed to automatically pull your information from its original source, such as a bank, using your username and password. Some people aren't comfortable with this process for security reasons, but this technology has proven to be reliable.

Once the data is there, you can categorize it and fine-tune how you want it tracked.

Two of the best apps for tracking multiple accounts come from the same company.

Mint Bills & Money by Intuit

Price: Free

This app, formerly known as Check, aggregates all your accounts, allowing you to conveniently pay your bills and avoid late fees.

  • Set reminders to notify you when bills are due.
  • Easily pay bills from inside the app with just a few swipes.
  • Sync your bank accounts with the app, and it will track your expenses and split your spending into categories.
Mint by Intuit

Price: Free

This application does just what it says: "Track, budget and manage your money on the go."

  • The user must be a registered user of the website Mint.com.
  • The Mint.com website has a lot more functionality than the iPhone app, but as a quick information update, the app works well. Its account update timing is less stable than its competitors, but its functionality and user screens are very impressive and usable.

Loan calculator apps

Loan calculator apps © iStock

These apps can tell you on the spot what your payments are (or will be) and what your balances are. They range from straight calculators to being able to track how far in debt you are and how long it will take you to get out.

Loan Calculator Pro, Mortgage Calculator Pro by SVT Software

Price: $0.99

These loan calculators all accomplish the same goals:

  • Calculate payments.
  • Review amortization schedules.
  • Run "what-if" scenarios for adding payments.

Spending and saving apps

Spending and saving apps

There are some apps worth mentioning that do not fit neatly into the other categories.

DebtTracker Pro by SnapTap

Price: $1.99

DebtTracker Pro lets you input loans, then create, manage and maintain a payoff plan. Once you set up the accounts, the app will:

  • Track where you are in your debt repayment and how long it will take until the loan is repaid.
  • Allow you to play "what-if" scenarios by showing the effect of increasing principal payments.
  • Show how much credit is left on debts that have a line of credit, which can be beneficial for maintaining your credit score since credit utilization is a factor.

Downside: The user has to adjust some kinds of data frequently. For instance, if it's tracking a credit card you use often, you'll have to adjust the balance a lot.

AllPoint by LocatorSearch LLC

Price: Free

Paying ATM fees is a pet peeve for many, but there are times, especially in an unfamiliar area, where you're tempted to pay fees for the sake of convenience. This app will locate a surcharge-free ATM nearby and give you directions, complete with landmarks.

Key Ring Reward Cards by Mobestream Media

Price: Free

Key Ring allows you to input all your store loyalty cards in one place. It also displays sales, coupons and other special offers available through those merchants and tracks loyalty points.

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