Google’s Android operating system has a huge selection of personal finance apps. That’s great, but it also means that weeding out the less useful apps can be a challenge.
The 1st step to finding the right finance app is deciding what you want to accomplish. Many apps try to do one thing well. Do you want to know your credit card balance, investment status or a bill’s due date? Or do you want to know when you have $200 left in your entertainment budget for the month?
To make any financial app useful, expect to make a commitment to inputting and maintaining data. But a good app will make that process as painless as possible.
Lastly, have realistic expectations. No app alone will make you change your spending habits or add discipline to your budgeting.
A word on security
Storing financial information in your phone means you risk exposing it to anyone who accesses your phone. Make sure your phone has password protection, and set up your financial apps with an additional password for logging in. All the apps reviewed here have password protection.
Financial service providers have really stepped up in providing apps. Prior to purchasing a third-party app, try the one offered by your bank. The major banks have apps that report the balances on your accounts, find ATMs, let you access e-bills and pay bills. It’s important to keep in mind, though, that the account balance you see is based on how often the data is updated or when transactions clear, and isn’t necessarily “real time.”
Virtual Wallet by PNC
This app presents customers with a lot of service in a pretty package. It has all the banking features that you’d expect — bill pay, money transfer and remote deposits — but what sets it apart is its intuitive budgeting interface that makes tracking spending and paying bills easy.
Bank apps report balances as of a given date, but it can take a while for your balance to reflect new purchases. If you are a diligent budgeter who keeps receipts for recording either on paper or in your computer, there are Android apps that allow you to input information on the spot to keep track of bank balances and budgeting.
Anza Money FREE by Anza Software LLC
A powerful tool that will let you upload your bank accounts, it has all the things to look for in a budget application. These features include:
Expenses for multiple accounts.
Customizable income and expense categories.
The ability to split expenses between different categories.
This is their free version and limits the number of transactions you can have; if you like it, you can always upgrade to the premium version for $9.95.
Also worth looking at
Cashbook Expense Tracker by Frank Android Software
This is a very strong app, and over the years, developers have connected it to services that add a lot of utility. For instance, you can export the data, import more data, change categories and then save it to a private cloud service like Dropbox.
These apps are designed to pull together and combine information from financial institutions such as banks and credit card companies using your username and password.
That makes some people nervous, but aggregation technology and security is over 10 years old and has proven to be reliable. Make sure you read the user agreements prior to inputting your info, and to log in and then log out of the app each time you use it.
Mint Bills by Intuit
This app aggregates all your accounts, allowing you to conveniently pay your bills and avoid late fees. Features:
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.
Also worth looking at
Mint.com Personal Finance by Intuit Inc.
This is an app version of the popular financial aggregation site. Note that you have to enroll on the website to use the Android application.
This app will let you input outstanding debt, then create, manage and maintain a payoff plan. Once you set up accounts, it will track where you are in your debt repayment and how long it will take until the loan is repaid. One drawback: The user has to input and maintain all the data to make this app worthwhile.
Debt Payoff Planner by Swiftmatic LLC
This app uploads your information, and you can play with different scenarios for payoff.
AllPoint by LocatorSearch
Paying ATM fees is a pet peeve for many, but there are times, especially in an unfamiliar area, when you’re tempted to pay fees for convenience’s sake. This app will locate a surcharge-free ATM nearby and give you directions, complete with landmarks.
Managing store loyalty cards
Key Ring: Cards Coupon & Sales by Mobestream Media
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.