smart spending

Best iPhone personal finance apps

Iphone Applications
Budget Tracker Applications
Ace Budget
Home Budget
Financial Assistance Applications
Personal Assistant
Loan Calculator Applications
Loan Calc Pro
Mortgage Calc Pro
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 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 to take advantage of this app. The application has a lot more functionality than the app, and if you are already a 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 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.




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