Best Free Mobile Finance Apps-Banking and managing money keeps getting easier and easier. I don’t know how long it’s been since I’ve had to physically go a bank to deposit a check. And just last week, I paid my dog-walker from the comfort of a local coffee shop the moment a reminder popped up on my smartphone. In every list of thebest Android and iPhone mobile apps, including a few for your personal finance is a must. Personal finance apps help us remember to pay bills, keep an eye on account balances, and stay within our budgets, things we need to do daily and often needs reminders to do.
Knowing how much money you have and how much you owe is where everyone should start, and our favorite personal finance app, Mint, excels in that area. After you know your net worth, you might want to set some financial goals, such as getting out of credit card debt or buying a home. You might also want help paying your bills on time, budgeting across different categories, and making better investments. The best personal finance apps for your mobile device offer advice and tools for you to manage all those matters, anytime and anywhere.
Personal finance apps typically extract real-time data from your service providers—including banks, investment houses, lenders, and credit card companies—to paint the most accurate portrait of your finances on the fly. Note that this article does not consider apps for those direct service providers (so you won’t find, say, the Chase or Wells Fargo mobile app on our list). That said, I wholeheartedly recommend everyone download their banks’ mobile apps, too. At the very least they’ll help you deposit checks without leaving the house, or find ATMs that won’t charge you fees.
The automation available in today’s personal finance apps is astounding. Some apps, including Editors’ Choice Mint and LearnVest, can consolidate all your transactions across multiple accounts into one view and send you a push notification if you’re about to hit the budget limit you set on yourself in a given category. This is a far cry from the pre-Internet days when tracking expenses involved saving receipts, opening paper bills, and writing down every transaction you make.
Of course, some people still prefer that manual entry system. Checkbook is one such app that takes a more old school approach. It keeps all your information offline and doesn’t connect to your banks, giving you complete manual control over your personal ledger.
A valid and important concern about using a personal finance app is security. Frankly, using any of the mobile apps listed here is probably more secure than carrying your credit card around in your wallet. These apps don’t store any personal financial data on your phone. From these apps, you can’t move money or see your bank account number or log into your online bank account. That means any hacker who gets his hands on your device won’t be able to find anything of value, except details of where you shop and how much money you spend and earn. Luckily, you can (and should!) employ a PIN on these apps to help prevent even that much from happening.
Mint.com (for U.S. and Canada only) is our favorite personal financial application, and its mobile app for iOS and Android offers a comprehensive look at all your account balances, updated 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.
Mint.com is our Editors’ Choice 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.
BillGuard helps you go over your credit card statements with a fine-tooth comb and reported any questionable or unwanted charges immediately. It flags merchants who frequently charge consumers for products or services they’ve either forgotten about or they didn’t know they were requesting.
This clever app also provides a quick and easy solution to one clearly-defined problem: gray charges. BillGuard does what it sets out to do, and does it very well.
Optional financial advisement services from $19 per month, plus initiation fee
Personal finance education website LearnVest offers a compelling mobile app for monitoring your money. It’s comprehensive, and very similar to Mint in many ways, except when it comes to managing finances for multiple people. One big drawback is that it’s only available on iPhone and the Web, so Android users should stick with Mint. For monitoring and managing single-person finances, it’s on par with Mint’s iPhone app. LearnVest’s roots are in financial literacy and education, so it offers plenty of reading material in both the app and website based on topics you select as being important to you.
Available on: iPhone, Web
Check, formerly called Pageonce (and in the process of being acquired by Intuit), helps you stay on top of bills and pay them from your mobile device. Those mobile payment features include not just major service providers, but also small businesses and individual proprietors. It’s a simple app that doesn’t offer a ton of features, but it does online bill payment as well as anyone. This is the app to get if you want to avoid paying any more late fees.
Available on: Android, iPhone, Windows Phone, Web