Are you struggling with your money? You’re not alone. We are in an era of the recession, as we are frequently reminded, and it is getting even harder to keep your finances in order. Luckily, Apple are doing their little bit to help iPhone users. There are countless apps that have been produced that claim to help you organise your finances, and while some are awful, this is a list of 10 must-haves for anybody who is short of cash.
The most up-to-date method of trading stocks and shares
Working in the realm of stocks and shares has officially been revolutionised. Thanks to E*Trade Securities, there is now no excuse for falling behind on the latest share prices due to their innovative new app, E*Trade Mobile Pro.
The app is wonderfully simple, with no unnecessary glamour to distract you from the importance of your job. With free streaming, it allows you to access real-time quotes with integrated charts – just as you would from the comfort of your office.
The app is just as quick as any computer you may use, and features breaking market news and commentary to go alongside it so that you never miss a beat.
Placing orders has never been easier, and you are able to trade on the stock market using just the iPhone in your hand. Incredible stuff. So simple yet if you work in this industry, it is a must-have.
Need to manage your accounts before you get to the office? Download this free app and play around with your accounts while on the train to work.
Naturally, the app also includes the ability to transfer money to and from any institution. Importantly, you are also able to set up your own stock prices from the quotes detail page, and receive ush notifications for all Smart Alerts.
Simply put, this app is like having the entire components of your busy office at the tap of a button. Recommending this app is an understatement – it is the future of the stocks and shares business.
2. Bank of America -Mobile Banking – Developer: Bank of America, Updated: 12 January 2009, Price: Free
Take your bank balance out with you
Are you a customer of the Bank of America? Well, if you are, your life has just got a lot more convenient. If you’re not, this app isn’t for you.
The first launch of this app received mixed reviews – it was sloppy and difficult to use, and quite simply, it was a better option to go home and do your banking on the computer. This is certainly no longer the case.
Bank of America have refined the glitches of their original model, and while all the basics remain, they are significantly easier to access. Check your account balance, pay bills and transfer funds and find the nearest ATMs without having to know the local area code.
Importantly for anyone considering this free download, you will be protected by a high-security system. It is the same principle as online banking, meaning the vital information on your iPhone cannot be seen by anybody else.
The app, although a lot better than its original, is also set to be updated in “early 2011”. Admittedly, it’s March already, but hopefully the Bank of America will soon make this app an even slicker method of managing your money.
As it stands, this app is good and helpful but the real case for its inclusion in this list is the anticipated update that the Bank of America have promised. This should put the app onto the next level and you, as the user, should reap the benefits. That said, if you use this bank, it is worth the download immediately.
Are you spending too much money? It is far too easy to let your finances get out of control, but the new MoneyStrands app has received outstanding reviews for its ability to compare you to other people.
By signing up to the app, you are networked with all other users and inserted into the ‘How Do I Compare’ graph. Just write in your income, rent and all other relevant financial information and the app will categorise you with people in similar positions. You can then see if your wild spending is in correlation with other people.
MoneyStrands is a simple set-up and is probably aimed at young people, and delivers information accurately and quickly. Your accounts are right there on your iPhone and updated immediately so any recent transactions can be followed at the touch of a button.
The advice offered here is also an interesting twist on usual financial apps. In the form of pie charts and graphs – easy to look at and understandable for all – you can see exactly where you have been going wrong. Whether or not you choose to heed the app’s advice is another matter…
The app uses 44 currencies so unless you’re planning a holiday to somewhere fairly obscure, you can rely on MoneyStrands to keep you on the straight and narrow.
Transactions involving your bank account are automatically received by the app and you will be alerted through your iPhone – finally you know exactly when you’ve been paid!
Now admittedly, this app is not for you if you happen to be a businessman in London with a million accounts, but for the average person this will do fine.
Receive regular budget reports to sort yourself out
Another one of the millions of apps on offer that can help you to keep your finances in order. But, SplashMoney’s efficiency is undoubtedly worthy of its place in the top 10.
Using Wi-Fi, this app will automatically download transactions from your bank account onto your iPhone so you can view them as soon as they happen.
Cleverly, you are also encouraged to give yourself all sorts of budgets in accordance with your income and outgoings. The budgets are there for you to see all the time, so there is no excuse for you to slip into old habits. Every so often, the app will give you a detailed budget report to let you know how you’re getting on.
You are able to change the fonts, colours and backgrounds of the app, which in terms of managing your money is pointless, but it is a nice touch regardless.
Naturally, with the SplashMoney desktop programme on your computer, you can transfer information to and from your iPhone. All pretty clever stuff. Alternatively, the app can be used without the desktop programme.
The obvious drawback of this app is the fact that it doesn’t support investment accounts. If you have one of these, SplashMoney can do nothing for you. Download one of the other nine suggested!
However, this app has been recommended for people who are just starting out with financial help on their iPhones. Maybe this isn’t good for the wealthy businessman, but young people in need of managing their money could do a lot worse than SplashMoney.
5. PageOnce Personal Assistant – Developer: PageOnce, Inc. , Updated: 24 February 2011, Price: £7.49
The simplest help with your accounts
No frills, no clever tricks and no flashy gadgets. Depending on your needs, you can download the full version for £7.49 – which in truth, is excessive – or just get the free version which is probably more worth your while.
PageOnce enables the user to set up thousands of bank, credit cards and brokerages on their iPhone. The expensive version is without any irritating adverts and offers real-time flight information and extra security. The beauty of this app is that the businessman who flies from London to New York would prefer the full version, while the free version is perfect for your everyday person.
The free one will make you sit through adverts occasionally, but this is no reason to be put off one of the clearest apps of its kind. You can access accounts for your mobile phone minutes as well as your actual bank account. In fact, even online shopping accounts are supported on the free version of this app.
It is a completely black background with nothing interesting to look at, but this app isn’t supposed to be fun. It’s mission is to help you manage your accounts and it does this effectively due to its simplicity.
Bucking the trend for UK banks
First things first, if you are not a customer of NatWest bank, then look away now. Download something else. If you do happen to entrust this bank with your life-savings, then this is for you.
NatWest’s iPhone app is by no means the best to help its users manage their money. However, they are the first major UK bank to launch an app in the first place as their competitors have been bizarrely aloof in the iPhone market. For this alone they deserve credit.
The app has its obvious limitations. For example, you can download a bank statement whenever you like but it only includes your last six transactions. In comparison to the other apps on this list, NatWest falls short, but regardless is worth downloading if you are a customer of the bank.
The app allows you to set up a cool text alert system, whereby you are immediately sent a message whenever something happens in your accounts.
NatWest have produced a simplistic app which only basic usage – however, for the average customer this will do fine. There is no need for the added extras unless you will require them.
The thing is, if you are a customer of NatWest this app allows you to do whatever tasks you had in mind without visiting the bank. Balance enquiries, mini statements, phone top-ups, text services and mobile banking are all available. This is certainly not the best app on this list, but it has opened the door for other major banks to produce even better alternatives.
Finally it’s on our iPhones!
Anybody who has used PayPal before on their computer will be jumping for joy at this app. Finally, it has arrived on the iPhone and managing your money has never been easier.
The thing that has made PayPal so popular for years is the security guarantee. By setting up an online account, you do not have to send employers any bank details. Those of you who are sceptical about the mysteries of sending and receiving money over the Internet could just send somebody the email address that you use on PayPal, and the next thing you know, money has successfully switched accounts. And nobody has to see your important details.
This app has received rave reviews because – like the website that preceded it – it has brilliant security to prevent any wrongdoings. You could argue that the success of this app was due to the trust that its website had previously built up with its customers. If you send or receive money online, it would be ridiculous to not have a PayPal account, and to therefore have this app on your iPhone.
There is nothing on this app that PayPal users won’t have seen before. It is essentially just like having the website at the press of a button – but that is the excellence of it. PayPal have resisted the urge to include anything extra on their app and have just produced the same things that their website provides to a high standard.
The latest update of the app, just a few weeks ago, links the user’s credit cards with their bank accounts, and also has a section dedicated to charity donations.
If you download one app from this list, download the PayPal app.
Keeping track of your expenditure
With the world in recession, money is tight for everyone. Keeping track of every penny that you spend could be an arduous and ultimately disappointing task, but fortunately Money Diary has been introduced to make things easier to manage.
The point of the app is to set yourself a daily, weekly or annual budget to spend. Alternatively, but inputting your salary and other relevant financial information, the app will automatically calculate you some realistic budgets to work towards.
Should you be disciplined enough to try and live your life as Money Diary says, the app will kindly help you along your journey by constantly letting you know if you are in danger of exceeding the daily expenditure that you previously agreed.
The app also offers several graphs and charts to show the user their progress (or lack thereof). The graphs can be broken down into four categories – expenses, payments, comparison and six-month. So, by inputting your expenses and payments the app will factor that into your budget, and by using the comparison tool you can see if you are doing better or worse than last month. There is even a bar chart to make sure your income exceeds your outgoings.
Money Diary is extremely clean-cut and straightforward to use. While it does not offer access to your bank account (that is the job of other apps on this list), is constantly accompanies you and reminds you to adhere to the budget you set yourself. Even if you choose to ignore its vital advice, the app is outstanding.
The website’s new app
Mint.com has, arguably, revolutionised the world of online money-management. The website, unlike the websites of individual banks, offers its user the chance to keep track of expenditure, income and balances, and automatically sets different kinds of budgets.
Finally, this technology has been transformed into an iPhone app, and users of Mint.com will not be surprised to hear that this latest version of the service is equally as helpful.
As well as offering intelligent advice about how to manage your finances and whether or not to invest in businesses, the app stores all your vital information. Nobody remembers credit card numbers do they? The Mint.com app will remember it for you (and has high security, obviously).
Signing up to the app will automatically register you with the website, too, but even if you never access Mint.com through your computer, it is worth getting it on your iPhone. This app has also been designed to go hand-in-hand with a wallet app, which if nothing else, looks sleek and cool on your phone menu.
Mint.com has been the most successful and popular money management website for some time now, so don’t miss out. It offers few frills and doesn’t indulge in unnecessary jargon, but at the same time it has been set out in a fresh, easy-to-watch design.
Because Mint.com (the website and the app) are not official bank sites, they are not protected by the same security. In fact, this app features even better security than the official websites and apps of all the major banks – they won’t thank us for telling you that, but it’s true.
Keep on top of the money leaving your account
The bills you receive at the end of each month is surely one of the biggest headaches in life – maybe the only headache bigger is remembering to pay them all on time. Well, Bill Tracker can do nothing to stop those letters arriving at your door, but it is brilliant at helping you organise them.
This app has found a niche in the market for apps that aid you in managing your money. Whilst the other nine apps on this list help you to keep track of what money is in what account, and your expenditure and income, this app is solely based around paying your bills.
The clever calendar that forms the foundation of this app is interactive, and don’t worry, it will tell you well in advance of an upcoming payment. Just input the details of each bill into your iPhone and it will remember on your behalf, constantly reminding you of important dates to prevent surcharge fees.
Creating each bill on the app takes just moments because the design is excellently simple. Obviously, each bill stores vital information about the companies that you owe money to – so you can give them a ring when it suits you, without having to consult the Yellow Pages.
After payment has been completed and received, the app will store the information so you can look back on past expenditure should you need to check anything. There is no other app available for the iPhone that does the job of Bill Tracker – if you find bills annoying and difficult to keep on top of, this is the best app on this list for you.