Mobile money managers

Monitor your money with your smartphone.
 
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01 .Mobile money

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Cost Andoid
We check out a range of popular personal finance apps for smartphones, including spending trackers, budgeting apps and apps for your computer.

If you like to keep a tight rein on your domestic budget but aren't great with a spreadsheet or you can never find the time to sit down and enter all your transactions, then a mobile money manager may be for you. Log your transactions at the shop, then pore over the state of your finances on your sofa at the end of the day.

Note: This report focuses on smartphones. If an app is available on Windows, OS X, Linux and/or tablets, we've noted it in the comparison table.

What's best for you?

Personal finance apps fit into three broad categories.

  1. Spending trackers quickly record and track expenses on the go. These don’t usually offer in-depth budgeting features.
  2. Budgeting apps monitor, control and track your money.
  3. Extensions of computer software These apps have limited or no functionality without the computer counterpart. Some won’t activate until you sync them with a computer.

Spending trackers

MobileMoneyManagers_FILLER_iMoneyTracker_Logo iMoneyTracker

  Price: $4.49
  Platform: iOS

iMoneyTracker is an in-depth spending tracker that includes a few light budgeting features. Finances can be split into one of three categories: cash, bank and credit card. It supports multiple financial accounts, and recurring expenses can be stored as custom templates. It can also graph your income and expenses or present them as a pie chart - helpful if you want to quickly examine your spending over time. Although it can export files in .csv (see export your report) format via email, finding this option is difficult, which detracts from the overall ease of use.

MobileMoneyManagers_FILLER_TrackMySpend_Logo TrackMySpend

  Price: Free
  Platform: iOS, Android

This freebie was designed by ASIC for consumers who want to quickly add expenses on the go. The interface is basic, suitable for quick analysis, but it offers a relatively large number of categorisation options, making TrackMySpend a handy quick reference guide. The home screen shows a simple graph that represents how much more you can spend before hitting your limit, while spend categories can help determine how much of your money goes into food, bills or non-essentials.
 
 

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Budgeting apps

MobileMoneyManagers_FILLER_iCompta3_Logo  iCompta 3

  Price: $4.99
  Platform: iOS

iCompta 3 crams an entire budgeting program, with features you’d expect to find in computer software, into an app. On top of standard budgeting tools are options to add securities and a currency converter for foreign investments. But having so many features under the hood is iCompta 3’s drawback, as it’s extremely complex for a smartphone app. The level of detail adds too many steps to expense recording, the long list of options can appear daunting to new users, and small text can make navigation difficult. It also requires a recent-model smartphone to run smoothly.

MobileMoneyManagers_FILLER_BudgetTouch_Logo  Budget Touch

  •   Price: $6.49
  •   Platform: iOS
Budget Touch uses the envelope budgeting system. The interface is relatively clear, but entering transactions requires more steps than most of the apps we reviewed, and general navigation feels less intuitive. If you want to connect to the desktop version (not required) you can only sync via a local Wi-Fi connection. This is restrictive compared with other apps that use web portals, which can be accessed anywhere. Some additional features are locked behind a second paywall.

MobileMoneyManagers_FILLER_MoneyWisePro_Logo MoneyWise Pro

  Price: $7.99
  Platform: Android

If you’re budgeting for a single income and are an Android user, consider MoneyWise Pro. It can’t sync between devices, but it does include a spending tracker, a separate income tracker, budgeting features, an option for multiple accounts (for a single user) and comparative graphs and pie charts. The filter tool can clearly compare categorised transactions, so you can quickly examine your transaction history. Multiple currencies are integrated, which is handy for travel budgeting, but exchange rates need to be entered manually. In addition to standard export options, MoneyWise Pro offers HTML conversion with a layout that’s suitable for printing. A free version with ads is also available.

MobileMoneyManagers_FILLER_EEBA_Logo Goodbudget (formerly EEBA)

  Price: Free
  Platform: iOS, Android

Once an Android exclusive, Goodbudget is now available on iOS. Although the layout isn't as clean as that of the Android version, it still offers a straightforward approach to envelope budgeting, with easy-to-interpret summaries represented by an expense meter. Multiple-income households will benefit from its live sync feature, which instantly updates envelope transactions across all registered devices. You can only sync to two devices and the web portal in the free version, which will suit most people. Additional features require a monthly fee. Note: at the time of writing, Goodbudget was operating under the brand Easy Envelope Budgeting Aid (EEBA).

MobileMoneyManagers_FILLER_PocketMoney_Logo PocketMoney

  Price: $5.49 (iOS), $4.74 (Android)
  Platform: iOS, Android

PocketMoney’s functions are similar to other budgeting apps, but its step-by-step instructions and integrated links to tutorials set it apart. However, if you try to sync to the desktop version, you may find the default tools complicated and access to the web portal incurs an additional cost. In fact, many features (e.g. pie charts) are locked behind paywalls, and while the “lite” version is suitable for simple budgeting, complex accounts may require these extra functions. The iOS version offers more features, including the option to reconcile your accounts (which is absent from the Android release), as well as an improved interface. For its level of depth, PocketMoney is easy to use, but the microtransactions for extra features can increase the cost of the app.

Computer software extensions

MobileMoneyManagers_FILLER_Moneydance_Logo Moneydance

  Price: Free (iOS), $US49.99 (desktop)
  Platform: iOS, desktop

If you use Moneydance, the bulk of your budgeting will take place on the desktop version. The mobile app is a simple, on-the-go expense tracker to be used alongside the desktop tool, but syncing to the software can be tricky. You have the option to connect over a mobile network via the Dropbox app, available separately or directly through a local Wi-Fi network. We had trouble connecting Moneydance to Dropbox, but syncing via a local Wi-Fi network is straightforward. Note that you can download this app free, but it won’t activate until you sync to the paid desktop version.

MobileMoneyManagers_FILLER_Pocketbook_Logo Pocketbook

  Price: Free (iOS), Free (desktop)
  Platform: iOS, desktop

Pocketbook is a home-grown app that can sync with most local banks, so you can transfer your account information for accurate on-the-go budgeting. It’s a huge time-saver, but accessing this feature requires you to use your online banking details, which you may not be comfortable with for security reasons. If you pay your bills via your online bank account, Pocketbook can alert you to overdue expenses, and it sends you weekly budget summaries. You can use it without the desktop companion, but its functions as a solo app are limited to expense tracking.

MobileMoneyManagers_FILLER_YNAB_Logo You Need a Budget (YNAB)

  Price: Free (iOS, Android), $US60 (desktop)
  Platform: iOS, Android, desktop

As with the other desktop companions, YNAB for mobile is a simple expense tracker that won’t work until you sync it with the paid desktop version. The app is well designed, and much easier to use than other desktop companions, and can sync across multiple devices with multiple budgets via Dropbox or local Wi-Fi. But rather than leave you in the dark, YNAB guides you through the steps required to connect to Dropbox. Most of the customisation options are limited to the desktop version, so on-the-go tweaking isn’t really an option. Note that you can download this app for free, but it won’t activate until you sync to the desktop version.

Five major banks have their own apps, which offer some budgeting and money management functions. In most cases, you need to be a customer with the bank to log into the service. But how do their budgeting features measure up to the dedicated apps?

MobileMoneyManagers_FILLER_Netbank_LogoCommonwealth Bank

The CBA has four consumer mobile apps – CommBank, CommBank Kaching, CommSec and a Property Guide – as well as additional apps for businesses. They’re handy for money management and transferring cash on the fly, but offer very few budgeting options. There are a few basic functions that can help you set your spending goals and track your expenses, but you need to log in to your Netbank account for these to work. If you want to use the CBA for budgeting assistance, you’ll have to use its browser based tools. CommSec and the Property Guide are useful tools for investors, but live trading with CommSec requires a paid account.

MobileMoneyManagers_FILLER_NAB_LogoNAB

NAB condenses most of its money management tools into one app. As well as being able to transfer money and pay bills, you can schedule payments and view your online portfolio in one location. There are some basic tracking tools, including savings and loan calculators, but these aren’t as advanced or detailed as a budgeting app. Most of these tools are available in NAB’s Money Tracker program, but you won’t find a dedicated version for mobile devices. It’s possible to get around the lack of a dedicated app, as the program is browser based. However, it may not be entirely optimised for smartphones, and certain features may not function properly.

MobileMoneyManagers_FILLER_StGeorge_LogoSt. George

Included with St. George’s standard mobile banking app is a detailed budget planner. It lets you monitor your income, manage expenses, set savings goals (iOS only) and study transactions with a basic reports and comparative graphs. Even non-St. George customers can use the budgeting portion of the app for free. 

The reports summarise whether you’ve saved or spent too much over a specific period. They can be broken down into categories that compare your target based on actual expenditures, so you can easily see where you may need to adjust your spending. You can set up a budget from scratch, or choose from one of eight pre-prepared categories that estimate your income based on data from the ABS (2009-10). You can’t sync your financial information from your bank account with the budgeting portion of the app.

MobileMoneyManagers_FILLER_ANZ_LogoANZ

Our previous roundup highlighted ANZ MoneyManager for its ease of use and availability to non-ANZ customers. Since then, ANZ has released mobile apps for iOS and Android called goMoney, but these are reserved for ANZ customers who need to bank and pay bills on the go. ANZ doesn’t limit its mobile banking to the smartphone market. If you’re using an older mobile phone (with buttons instead of a touchscreen), you can still check your account balance and receive mini-summaries of your past five transactions via text message.

MobileMoneyManagers_FILLER_Westpac_LogoWestpac

Westpac’s main mobile budgeting apps for Android and iOS are reserved for mobile banking, which includes transferring money between accounts, paying bills and scheduling these payments. A few basic budgeting tools are included, such as financial calculators and instructional videos, but there are no fully featured budgeting tools comparable to the other apps. It also offers professional tools similar to Commonwealth Bank and a saving app for kids called PayPig.

Export your report

Most financial apps can export your data. This makes it easy to view the information on a computer, and, in some cases, import it into other programs. Most use at least one of these formats:
  • OFX (Open Financial Exchange) Industry standard report format, designed to open in all financial programs.
  • CSV (comma-separated values) Each line represents a single transaction.These usually represent the date, a description, income or expense amount and a running total. They’re separated with commas.
  • Microsoft Excel format (XLS, XLSX) Content is similar to CSV but may be organised slightly differently. Excel can also open .csv files.
  • QIF (Quicken Interchange Format) Originally written for Quicken financial software. Although it works best when used with Quicken, it is recognised by most financial packages.
  • HTML Less common. Exports your data as a summary in web page format. Suitable for printing reports.

Comparison table list

  • By default ALL tested products are listed. You can select up to five items to view in a side by side comparison.
  • Additional columns can be viewed by using the Next/Previous buttons.

Using the filters

  • Use the filters to show only products that meet your specific requirements or which have the specific features you're interested in. Selecting filters automatically updates the Comparison table list.
  • The number shown in brackets represents the number of products displayed if you select that filter.
  • You can view additional filters by selecting the Show more filters button.

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Compare products

 
Table Allowing the user to select a number of products dependant on their filter options.
Items to compare

Select up to 5 items below.
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Compare
 
Cost iOS ($)Cost Android ($)Cost Desktop (US$)Minimum iOS versionMinimum Android versionRequires desktop companionEnvelope budgetingSpending trackerOther budgeting methodBrowser based desktop versionDownloadable desktop versionTablet version (optimised) *Graphical reportsSave favourite transactions**Auto-recurring transactions**Supports multiple currenciesSync between devicesSync via web portalSync via third party (eg DropBox)Sycn via local Wi-Fi networkSync with Australian banksGeo-location informationPassword lockExport contents***Brand
                          
Snowmint Creative Solutions6na404.3naBudget Touch
Dayspring Technologies Inc.0045 (A)51.5Goodbudget
Lyric Apps5nas6naiCompta3
HCSoft4nana4.3naiMoneyTracker
The Infinite Kind0na505naMoneydance
Australian Securities & Investments Commission00na5.12.3TrackMySpend
HandyNorthna7nana2.1MoneyWisePro
Pocketbook Australia Pty. Ltd.0006.13Pocketbook
Catamount Software5504.31.6PocketMoney
You Need a Budget006052.1You Need A Budget (YNAB)
Compare

Using the table

* Alternative version of the app has been optimised for tablets. This does not include apps that are available on tablets, but are the same as the smartphone version. 

** Some apps only offer this as a paid add-on. 

*** Exports to one or more of CSV, XLS, XLSX, QIF and QFX.

na Not applicable.

(A) Per year. Also available for monthly instalments of $5.

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