As part of a 3-part series brings you an overview of various mobile apps designed to help improve banking, credit card management and personal finance.

The growing trend of mobile finance has led to the emergence of loads of brand new technology, which we have covered extensively over the past few months. Here is part three of our guide: an overview of some of the important apps to help manage your personal finances.

Here is a link to part one in case you missed it: An Extensive Guide to Mobile Finance: Banking Apps.

Also check out part two: An Extensive Guide to Mobile Finance: Credit Card Apps.

Intro to personal finance apps

Since the range of personal finance apps is quite substantial and diverse, the definition cannot really be bound to one basic feature. To simplify it as best as possible, we began with those that help you with your taxes, and then moved to those that deal with everything else you do with your money from tracking investment accounts to donations.

Tax Apps

To help with the filing of your taxes, the SnapTax iPhone app from TurboTax enables you to take a picture of your tax forms with your iPhone camera and each field will be automatically filled in with your pre-loaded information. You can even file them straight through the app. Now, since you have finished all your tax filing in no time, use the IRS2GO tax app to check the status of your federal refund – all you need is your social security number (which will not be saved but will be encrypted and sent over securely), filing status, and your 2010 return amount.

An app with an even narrower function is the NDH Group RothCalc2010, which computes and compares the after tax value of user’s retirement accounts with a traditional and a Roth IRA, then calculates if it makes sense to convert.

Convenience Apps

To prove the breadth encompassed by the vague term “personal finance”, many apps offer just that in their descriptions, but their definitions are a bit different. Our own MyBankTracker app is especially useful in the broad scope of your personal banking because it includes our ever-growing compilation of user reviews of specific banks, it locates and maps your bank as well as all banks nearby with travel directions, and stays on top of the latest bank news and promotional offers.

Other apps have a more unique, but also more specified approach to personal finance. With Mobile Photo Bill Pay you can take a picture of your bill and the app will record and enter the key info including the due date, address, account number and total. Then, it sends it to the bank’s bill-processing system completing your bill payments simply and quickly.

Investment Apps

Next, consider Yahoo! Finance and its recent release of MarketDash for iPad, which allows you to manage your portfolios and stock watchlists with great features like real-time market data, interactive charts and news headlines. Furthermore, the top-ranked Pageonce Money & Bills includes a calendar view of all your finances on one screen, fetches important real-time alerts, sends reminders about your accounts, and even tracks your frequent flyer miles, card rewards and mobile phone usage. Similarly, Merrill Lynch Mobile Brokerage lets you view your portfolio and account activity, transfer funds between linked Merrill Lynch brokerage accounts and Bank of America® accounts, track breaking market news and customize alerts from the bank.

Donation Apps

Lastly, are two useful apps that track money that you are giving away for free. Before you question who would ever do that, the first app is from BMG Certified Public Accountants called IDonatedIt, which allows you to not only keep track of your cash donation, but also estimates the fair-market value of your non-cash donations such as clothing. The other is from Chase Bank and is more personal, but less altruistic. Chase Bank Gift Planner has tools like gift budgets and alerts for upcoming birthdays and other events so you can stay organized as you shop for your friends and family.

Android Apps

We also would like to point to a special review of the always-burgeoning Android Market and, in our opinion, the best apps they offer for personal finance. This includes:

  • Firewallet – tracks your bank accounts.
  • Mint – tracks bank accounts and personal spending habits.
  • Mortgage Basics – personal home loans status and up-to-date mortgage rates.
  • Stock Alert – add and track stocks from world exchanges.
  • Debt Snowball – manage your debt with a payment plan.
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