The Best Budget Apps for iPhones


Among Apple's 10,000 iPhone applications (Stock Quote: AAPL), there are dozens that can help you manage your money.

They'll give you stock quotes and financial news, monitor your investment portfolios and bank accounts, and even place trades. Many of the best programs, including most of those discussed here, are free.

Now you can compulsively track your finances any time, as long as you have a cell-phone signal. To download the applications, all you have to do is click the App Store icon on your phone's home screen.

Why should you spend time downloading applications? Theoretically, you could use the phone's Web browser to visit sites directly. Trouble is, you might have to wait minutes for a site to load, only to find that its text and images aren't formatted for your phone.

Here are six personal finance applications worth checking out:

iPhone's stock feature: iPhones come with a stock-search feature that provides quotes, charts and news. To browse recent articles about a company, click on its name. To change the list of stocks that appears on the application's homepage, touch the "i" in the lower-right corner of the screen, and then the "+" at the top-right corner or the "-" next to the company's name. To search for individual stocks, hit the "Y!" in the lower left corner for Yahoo's "oneSearch" tool (Stock Quote: YHOO), and type the company's name or stock symbol into the search field.

SplashMoney: For $9.99, this budget application enables users to monitor their online bank accounts. The "reports" function can convert your transaction history into a written summary or color-coded pie chart. SplashMoney also offers a downloadable computer program for $19.99 that can synchronize its data with the information stored in the iPhone application. Cheaper budget applications are available, but SplashMoney's useful features and simple interface make it a good bargain.

Bloomberg: This powerful, free application from the financial data company monitors stocks, streams news and offers interactive charts that can be viewed horizontally and vertically. In the application's markets section, users can touch an index to view its best- and worst-performing companies. Its interactive charts automatically expand to fit the screen when the phone is turned sideways. Bloomberg's Mystocks feature can track your portfolio, whether it's real or hypothetical.

iStockManager: This free application's services are similar to those of Yahoo and Bloomberg. However, TD Ameritrade (Stock Quote: AMTD) customers can use it to access their accounts, and trade stocks and options.

Forex on the Go: This tool monitors currency prices and provides live interactive charts. Traders will soon be able to use it to place and track currency orders through brokers equipped with MetaTrader 4 trading software. The basic application is free, but the premium version, which updates prices faster, is $9.99.

Bank of America mobile banking: The largest U.S. bank designed the first online-banking application for the iPhone. Bank of America customers can use it to pay bills, check account balances and transfer funds. The free tool uses the iPhone's global-positioning system to help customers find the nearest Bank of America ATMs and branches.



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