Money Talks, So Should You

Best personal finance apps for your mobile device

Tom Anderson
by Tom Anderson, Dimespring Contributor  (@bytomanderson)

You take your mobile phone and tablet everywhere. Instead of playing Angry Birds or Scramble on your device, these five free apps can help you with your finances when you're on the move:


Mint is a must-have. The app replicates all the features of the largest online personal-finance management service, which is now owned by Intuit, the maker of TurboTax and Quicken. You can build budgets, track all of your bank, credit and investment accounts, and categorize spending easily with this app. The simple interface lets you graphically display your progress. Plenty of other free budget apps are available, but in this case, the original innovator is still your best option.





SigFig caters to the active investor. This newcomer does a better job of tracking investments, from brokerage accounts to 401(k)s, than Mint. The app will chart your stocks, mutual funds and exchange-traded funds tick by tick and let you check the performance, risk and asset allocation of your portfolio. It even offers advice on how to reduce investment fees.






PayPal makes it seamless to send and receive money securely using a mobile device. That comes in handy for settling a dinner check in a group or paying back a loan from a friend. You can snap a photo of a check to deposit directly into your PayPal account. The app also helps you find local merchants who will let you buy goods and services.






Your bank's app is also worth the download. Sure some are clunky, but banks are upgrading them regularly to keep up with their savviest customers. Ally Bank, Bank of America and USAA all have good apps that will show you ATM locations, keep tabs on account balances and transfer funds. Ally's app lets you call customer service with a tap of the finger, and even displays an estimated wait time.





AgingBooth shows what you’ll look like when you're old -- but it's for more than laughs. Researchers found that people who see renderings of how they will look when they are elderly are more likely to  save. Why? Most of us postpone savings because we don’t see the immediate benefit. Face it: The cyber geezer staring back at you on your device reminds you that -- one day -- you’ll eventually need a retirement nest egg. It may be a fun gag, but it’s a good incentive to save more.






Tom Anderson is a freelance writer in Brooklyn, N.Y. His work has appeared in Forbes, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance and Monocle.