Free or "Lite" version?: Yes - PocketMoney LITE - Checkbook
Version Reviewed: 2.2.1
iPhone Integration [rating:4/5]
User Interface [rating:3.5/5]
Re-use / Replay Value [rating:4.5/5]
I think everyone can use some budgeting help in economic times like these. I used PocketMoney for a week and found out that I spend about 50% of my weekly income on fast food/dining out. Needless to say, I'm going to be paying close attention to this app to help with my spending.
PocketMoney is basically an all-around account-tracking tool. The paid version allows you to keep track of an unlimited amount of accounts through your iPhone. Be warned, this app DOES NOT connect with online bank tracking websites - you must manually enter each transaction into your phone. For a college student like myself, I was able to track my Cash, Checking, and Savings account. But the app leaves a lot of options for anyone who might want to use this app including: Credit Card tracking (keeps an eye on your limit), Assets, Liability, and Online accounts. In addition to tracking accounts, it allows you to create budgets, add repeating transactions, create a password to protect your information, make split category transactions, and generate pie charts (via Google Chart).
Paid vs. LITE. Lets start with the differences between the paid version and the "LITE". Despite being a free version, PocketMoney LITE comes packed with most of the features included in the paid version, with a few restrictions. The free version only allows tracking two accounts and two repeating transactions, so if you're someone who only wants to track maybe their Checking account and Cash and only has one or two repeating transactions, maybe the LITE version is for you. There are a few other minor restrictions, the only significant one being that you cannot split categories for transactions in the free version. Meaning if you went to Walmart and bought groceries but also saw a DVD you just had to have, you wouldn't be able to categorize part of the transaction in groceries and part in maybe a Media or DVD category. To be honest, I wasn't aware of this "splitting" feature until I read that the free version didn't have it, probably because I'm not very experienced with financial software (and yet I still found this app easy to use). The LITE version also lacks filters, which was how I was able to notice that I spend WAY too much money dining out. In the paid version, you can create custom filters to track certain habits. For example, I created a Food filter, which shows me all of my purchases relating to food (combining categories such as Food, Groceries, etc.).
I feel like in that short paragraph describing the differences between the paid and LITE version I've touched on most of the features in the app, so lets get to my opinion on it.
Problems, Wishes and Misses.
Problems. I encountered two problems that were effective enough to bug me: emailing transactions and auto-complete for payees/categories. The emailing transactions feature seems like a nice addition, one that I personally have no use for but still nice. I tested this feature and the email it created was full of symbols that caused the email to look extremely confusing (a big overuse of quotation marks everywhere). Maybe this will be fixed in a later update, but to be honest I don't care because it's borderline useless (unless you have a spouse you want to keep updated on all of your transactions).
PocketMoney will auto-complete the text in the Payee and Category section if it recognizes what you are typing. I personally think this auto-complete happens way too early and on top of that there is a bit of a delay glitch. By early, I mean if you type "f" the category will instantly fill in "food". This would be fine if not for the fact that when you press the next letter (and it isn't "o") you will have to wait a second or two to press the next letter or it won't show up - a sort of typing lag. This needs to be fixed. An application that keeps track of your finances needs to be built for speed. No one wants to be fiddling with their iPhone for more than a few seconds every time that they make a transaction.
Wishes. I wish this looked more like an iPhone app. Good iPhone apps are simple and creative - the buttons are easy to touch, far apart, and hard to mistake for each other. This app has buttons cluttered, buttons that aren't really apparent that they are buttons, and generally has too much on the screen at one time for an iPhone app. I would suggest a complete makeover of the visual element of this app. Though, this lack of better aesthetics doesn't take away from the usefulness of the app.
Misses. Number one miss - emailing transactions (as I said earlier). This is basically a useless feature in every way.
Despite a few flaws and including just looking plain ugly, PocketMoney is the best account tracking app that I've used so far. But if you're looking for something simpler than even PocketMoney LITE, maybe to just track your checkbook - take a look at Balance (also free).