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Summary:

One of the top reasons people buy an iPad probably isn’t to balance a checkbook, but doing anything on a desktop is so 2009. However, few native financial iPad apps exist. Fear not though, we’ve combed the pool to find the best.

ipad_financials

One of the top reasons people buy an iPad probably isn’t to balance a checkbook, but financial management is an extremely popular aspect of personal computing, and doing anything on a desktop is so 2009. However, few native financial iPad apps exist. Fear not though, we’ve combed the pool to find the best.

Easy Books (Free)

Easy Books was anything but! For a business using strict accounting methods, I’m sure the application has merit, but for balancing your checkbook and tracking credit cards, it doesn’t cut it. The app gives you a variety of templates to choose from, but it was extremely confusing for tracking money coming into and out of accounts.

Annoyingly, all data must be entered by hand since there’s no direct bank download option. The in-app purchase option does give business owners the option to create invoices ($16.99) and track hours worked ($12.99) on the iPad, but without a desktop companion application, all your work has to be done on-device.

MoneyDance(Free)

MoneyDance acts as a satellite application to its desktop version ($49.99). Transactions can be edited and classified on the iPad, but account setup and transaction downloads must be done on your computer. Synchronization with the desktop was clunky, requiring you to type a very long string of alphanumerics to establish pairing, a process which wasn’t always successful.

As a cross-platform Java-based app, MoneyDance was slow and clunky and not very Mac-like. If all you want to do is modify transactions while away from your desktop, MoneyDance for the iPad will suffice, but otherwise, this app is probably one to avoid.

PocketMoney ($4.99)

PocketMoney has the potential to be a great financial management app. The program can stand on its own, and allows you to add accounts and transactions. Budgeting is included, as are options for in-app upgrades for charting ($2.99) and photo receipt tracking ($.99).

It also synchronizes with a full cross-platform desktop client. And though this release doesn’t yet allow for direct downloads from banks, the feature is slated for a future release. If you just want to track your checkbook and credit cards and don’t mind typing in transactions directly, PocketMoney is an excellent choice for the average user.

SplashMoney($4.99)

SplashMoney is by far the most powerful iPad financial app out there, and it’s extremely easy to use: a rare combination when dealing with money. SplashMoney can run fully independent of the desktop. Setup of accounts, budgets and reports can all be done on the iPad.

Unique among its competitors is the ability to download transactions from your bank while away from the desktop. The ability to fully manage credit card downloads while away from a computer is a killer feature. Obviously, printing of reports or registers isn’t currently supported by the iPad OS, but that will likely change in iOS 4.2.

Because SplashMoney fully supports .qif import and export, I can try it without commitment, but I suspect as time marches on, I’ll have a long-term relationship with this app.

PageOnce Premium($6.99)

PageOnce is a direct competitor in terms of both features and benefits to Mint. Unfortunately Mint doesn’t yet have an iPad app.  Like Mint, PageOnce downloads your transactions from your bank and credit cards in order to give you a dashboard view of your spending, and is nearly identical to its web counterpart.

No direct registers are supported and an Internet connection is required for usage. PageOnce take full advantage of the iPad’s real estate to give you a great overview of your financial situation. The application and its website counterpart don’t allow for budgeting or reclassification of transactions. Many users will find this annoying, but fortunately no commitment is involved, so you can test it out for yourselves.

Unlike Mint, PageOnce gives you a dashboard view of your entire digital life and includes your frequent flyer miles, gift cards, social media accounts, etc. If it can be accessed via the web, PageOnce has it. The Premium version includes the ability to password lock the application, and additional travel options.

I can’t recommend the free version because of the inability to secure the data in the app. Lovers of Mint will find this application just as sweet with a few extra benefits.

Overall, Splash Money seems to be the only mature application in the iPad financial management field and is the recommended choice. PageOnce is a great alternative or companion to existing applications out there, but shame on them for not allowing free users to lock and protect their data.

 

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  1. Hi,

    Nice article, and thanks for the details about what works/doesn’t so we can make our own decisions.

    I’m finding all these products severely lacking when it comes to investment accounts – tracking stocks, funds, dividends and such.

    Any recommendations on that front?

    Thanks!

    David

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    1. I’m working on an article about the desktop apps. Investment tracking is so much more complex when you have to deal with dividends, cost basis etc. Personally I haven’t found an app I love yet on the desktop and none of the apps I looked at on the iPad did more than simply tell you the status of your portfolio.

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  2. I’m going to disagree with you on your opinion of Moneydance. When I switched to the Mac, I was looking for an app with the functionality of Quicken on Windows. Quicken Mac just didn’t hack it. I found Moneydance and haven’t looked back. The OS X version handles everything, including investments. The iPad version is good for keeping track of expenses, etc. on the road but does not track investments. When I get back home, everything synchs up nicely. I like it – but then I’m an admittedly anal CPA. ;<)

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    1. No problem with disagreement, but this was more focus on the iPad functionality. I’ll be visiting desktop apps shortly, but you have to agree Moneydance isn’t very mac-like.

      Since most of my bank accounts are internet enabled, I found it difficult to track expenses since I couldn’t download data. If I were doing receipts and such by hand I’m sure it has better value.

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  3. You missed the best iPhone Finance app out there. Paper Finance is really great on the phone and quite usuable as a 2 x app on the iPad while the developer works on the iPad version. Really nicely done.

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    1. This was about iPad apps, not apps that can be emulated to work on the iPad. Lots of finance apps out there on the iPhone, but a surprising lack on the iPad. Developers: get cracking the field is wide open.

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  4. Like another commenter, when I migrated from Windows I looked at the field of apps and found MoneyDance fit my needs.

    The review being for iPads means only I need something that I can easily integrate with MoneyDance on my Mac. From my perspective, there is a missing category for an iPhone/iPad app, a simple check register that can connect to several different back ends. An application that can import in transaction history/payees and allow simple desktop syncing.

    When traveling, I don’t need all the features of my desktop. I can hit my bank’s website to pay bills. I have Bloomburg (sp) for portfolio management. What I need is a check register. If it incorporated expense tracking then the app would meet more people’s needs.

    Thanks for a good article.

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