One of the top reasons people buy an iPad (s aapl) 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 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 (s orcl) 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 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 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 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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