The Best Finance App

The best finance app, in my opinion, is Mint.com’s mobile app. Here is a list of its features and finance app alternatives if you prefer to use an app other than Mint.com.

Mint.com (Free)

I have been using mint for a long time now and believe it is the best finance app. Intuit bought this web site a while back so it is very secure, using bank level encryption.

Mint gives you a quick overview of your finances, which you can put on one of your main screens in the form of a widget. The widget will show your current cash amount and your credit debt. It will also show you the last time your information was updated, so you can be sure that you are looking at the most recent information.

Once you set up a monthly budget, you can access it with the app to make sure you are staying on track for the month. Mint is very good at knowing how to categorize your transactions for budgeting purposes and it will let you know if it does not know how to categorize a transaction.

The app automatically gives you alerts for various things, which include the availability of large deposits, what bills will are due in the next few days, etc.

You can get a very general picture of you investments with this app. By that, I mean if you simply want to know the balance of you accounts, you will be happy with this app. If you want to get more information about the performance of specific investments, you will need to go to the website.

To set up this app, I would suggest you log on to the main website to input all of you account information and set your budget. Once that is completed, you simply download the app, log in, and all your accounts are ready to go.

Adaptu Wallet (Currently Free)

Adaptu Wallet has many unique features like tracking loyal programs and creating spending forecasts. The app also allows you to store photos of insurance and business cards, which will decrease the clutter inside your wallet. The app is currently free, but the word on the street is they will start charging for usage sometime in 2012.

Pageonce (Free or $4.99 for Gold version)

Pageonce arguably has the best interface of all the finance apps. Your key account balances are placed in thumbnails that appear on the home screen. Contrary to popular belief, this app does provide PayPal support even though many claim it doesn’t. Balance updates are not as fast as Mint.com or Adaptu, some transactions take days to update. The Gold version has the useful ability to pay bills directly from the app, and this is the only finance app that can do this. The gold version also removes all the ads from your app.

Glossary Of Consumer Finance Terms

A guide to many of the terms used in the consumer finance market.

A

Acceptance Rate – The percentage of customers that are successful when applying for a loan or credit card. 66% or more applicants must be offered the advertised rate know as the Typical APR (See ‘Typical APR’ below).

Annual Percentage Rate (APR) – The rate of interest payable annually on the loan or credit card balance. This allows potential customers to compare lenders. Under the Consumer Credit Act Lenders are legally required to disclose their APR.

Arrears – Missed payments on a loan, credit card, mortgage or most kinds of debt are termed Arrears. The borrower has a legally binding obligation to settle any arrears as soon as possible.

Arrangement Fee – Generally for the administration costs of setting up a mortgage.

B

Base Rate – The interest rate set by the Bank of England. This is the rate charged to banks for lending from the Bank of England. The base rate and how it may change in the future has a direct influence on the interest rate a bank may charge the consumer on a loan or mortgage.

Business Loans – A loan specifically for a business and generally based on the businesses past and likely future performance.

C

Car Loan – A loan specifically for the purchase of a car.

Consumer Credit Association (CCA) – Represents most businesses in the consumer credit industry. Government, local authorities, financial bodies, finance focused media and consumer groups are all members. Members sign a constitution and must follow a code of practice and business conduct.

County Court Judgement (CCJ) – A CCJ can be issued by a County Court to an individual that has failed to settle outstanding debts. A CCJ will adversely affect the credit record of an individual and can possibly result in them being refused credit. A CCJ will stay on a credit record for 6 years. It is possible to avoid this major negative stain on your credit record by settling the CCJ in full within one month of receiving it, in this case no details of the CCJ will be stored on your credit record.

Credit Crunch – A situation where Lenders cut back on their lending simultaneously usually down to a shared fear that borrowers will not be able to repay their debts.

Credit File – Information stored by credit reference agencies, such as Experian, Equifax and CallCredit, on an individuals credit and borrowing arrangements. The Credit File is checked when Lenders consider a credit application.

Credit Reference Agencies – Companies that keep records of individuals credit and borrowing arrangements, amounts owed, with who and payments made, including any defaults, CCJ’s, arrears etc.

Credit Search – The general search undertaken by the Lender with the credit reference agencies.

D

Debt C0nsolidation – The transfer of multiple debts to a single debt via a loan or credit card.

Default – When a regular debt repayment is missed. A default will be recorded on an individuals credit record and will adversely affect the chance of success of any future credit applications.

Data Protection Act – An act of Parliament in 1998 and the main legislation that governs the use of personal data in the UK. Lenders are not allowed to share an individuals personal data directly with other institutions or companies.

E

Early Redemption Charge – A fee charged by Lenders if a borrower pays back their debt before the debts agreed term is reached.

Equity – The value a property has beyond any loan, mortgage or other debt held upon it. The amount of money an individual will receive if they sold their property and repaid the debt on the property in full.

F

Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) – The government appointed institution responsible for regulating the finance market.

First Charge – The mortgage on a property. A Lender who has first charge on a property will take priority for repayment of their mortgage or loan from the funds available after the sale of a property.

Fixed Rate – An interest rate that will not change.

H

Homeowner Loan – Also commonly known as a secured loan. A Homeowner Loan is only available to individuals that own their own home. The loan will be secured against the value of the property usually on the form of a second charge on the property.

I

Instalment Loans – Multiple loan repayments spread over a period. Depending on the Lender their may be flexibility in the repayment amounts and schedule.

J

Joint Application – A loan or other credit application made by a couple rather than a single person e.g. husband and wife.

L

Lender – The company providing the loan or mortgage.

Loan Purpose – The purpose for which the loan was acquired.

Loan Term – The period of time over which the loan will be repaid.

Loan To Value (LTV) – Generally associated with a mortgage and taking the form of a percentage. This is the loan amount in relation to the full value of the property. e.g. an individual may be offered a mortgage of 90% LTV on a property worth £100,000. In this case the offer would be £90,000.

M

Monthly Repayments – The monthly payments made to settle a loan including any interest.

Mortgage – A loan taken specifically to finance the purchase of a property in most cases a home. The property is offered as security to the Lender.

O

Online Loans – Although most loans are available online. The Internet has allowed for the development of technology that allows for the faster processing of a loan application than traditional methods. In some cases a loan application, agreement and the funds appearing in your account can take as little as 15 minutes or less.

P

Payday Loan – A short term cash advance of up to 31 days which is repayable on your next payday. Payday loans come with a high APR because of the shorter term of the loan.

Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) – Insurance to cover debt repayments should the borrower be unable to maintain their repayments for any number of reasons including redundancy, illness or an accident.

Personal Loans – A general loan for any purpose and in varying amounts that can be provided to an individual based up on their credit history.

Price For Risk – Lenders now have a range of interest rates that are chosen based on an individuals credit score. An individual with a poor credit score is deemed High Risk and will likely be offered a higher interest rate as the Lender factors in the possibility of them defaulting on their repayments. Conversely an individual with a high credit score and a good credit history is considered Low Risk and will be offered a lower rate of interest.

Q

Qualifying Criteria – The eligibility requirements required by the Lender. The most basic criteria required to qualify for a loan in the UK are; permanent UK residency, age 18 or over and a regular income. Many Lenders may also include extra lending conditions.

R

Regulated – financial ‘products’ that are overseen by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Lenders must follow a code of conduct and individuals are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).

Repayment Schedule – The time period over which a loan will be repaid and the details of the loan repayment amounts.

S

Second Charge – A second loan, in addition to any other loan, that is secured against an individuals property.

Secured Loan – Also commonly known as a Homeownr Loan. A secured loan is only available to to homeowners. The loan amount is secured against the value of the property. The Lender has the right to repossess your property should you fail to maintain the loan repayments.

Shared Ownership – An agreement in which an individual owns only a percentage of the property. The remaining percentage is owned by a third party often a housing association. The individual may have a mortgage on the part of the property they own and pay rent on the part of the property they do not own.

T

Total Amount Repayable – The total amount of the loan plus the interest and any applicable fees.

Typical APR – The advertised interest rate that is offered to a minimum of 66% of successful loan applicants.

U

Underwriting – The process of verifying data and approving a loan.

Unregulated – Not covered and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Unsecured Loan – A loan that does not require collateral and is provided on ‘good faith’. Under the belief by the Lender that you can repay the loan based on your credit score, credit history and financial standing amongst other factors.

Where to Find Car Loan Low Interest Finance

You may be surprised to learn how much you will be able to save when you take out car loan low interest finance. If you have been working hard to negotiate the best sale price on your new car, you certainly won’t want to negate the savings you make by paying dearly for finance. There are many companies around who can offer you a good deal on an auto loan and, when looking for car finance, you should aim to pay the lowest rate you can.

When looking for car loan low interest finance you should ensure that you consider all options available to you. A lot of people feel more comfortable sticking with their own financial institutions or the larger bank lenders as they seem to think they will be able to provide the best loans at the best rates. This is not always the case. These days there are a large number of non-bank lenders who provide car loan low interest finance.

Probably the best place to start looking for car loan low interest finance is on the internet. The majority of non-bank loan providers operate solely online as it is an easy way to set up their business without having to outlay a lot of capital. These companies also have minimal running costs, so they can afford to offer car loan low interest finance and still make a reasonable profit.

It is important, when searching for car loan low interest finance, that you realize that interest rates can vary considerably between lenders these days. Ensure that you take the time to shop around and get as many quotes as possible, as you may never know when you will come across the perfect auto loan at the lowest price around. It is only by approaching as many lenders as you can that you will have any success in finding car loan low interest finance.

Looking for car loan low interest rate financing is quick and easy when you do it online. Not only can you compare lenders at a time that is convenient for you, but you will only need to enter your details once in order to receive multiple quotes. The other great thing about getting car loan low interest finance online is that the application process is incredibly straight forward. Once you have found a great rate from a reliable lender, you will be able to apply for your loan online by completing a standard application form. Your application will be submitted to your lender immediately and so the processing of your application is a lot faster.

One thing that you will need to be cautious about when getting car loan low interest finance online is that you will need to ensure that the lender you go with is legitimate and reputable. Sometimes a company that offers ridiculously low rates may not be the most trustworthy, so always take the time to find out more about a lender before signing on the dotted line. You can check out the business ratings of various lenders online through the Better Business Bureau or through auto finance review sites.

Top 5 iPad Finance Apps for Business

The past two years have been a whirlwind in mobile computing and people are embracing these new devices, like the iPad, at breakneck speeds. Apple’s Fourth Quarter revenues jumped 21 percent from a year ago, including the sale of over 11 million iPads. It’s clear that the huge advances in mobile devices are not only changing how we live our personal lives but also how we do business. For business, especially small business, some of the biggest advantages are coming from the app world. If you want to make your business finances a breeze, check out these apps:

1. Square: Credit card transactions have never been easier. The developers of this free app will send you an actual credit card reader that plugs into your iPad. It’s secure, easy, mobile, and even has built in analytics to track sales, collect tips and tax, and send electronic receipts via email or text. There is no need to delay the payment process anymore. Oh, and they only charge a 2.75% transaction fee: no contracts, fees, or merchant accounts necessary.

2. Expensify has the traveling business world in an uproar. The features of this app are impressive at the least: sync banking information to track purchases in real time, digitize receipts to reduce the chance of losing them (just snap a picture and the app will discern and note the necessary info), customize and email reports for approval, and be reimbursed to your checking account. You’ll be your accountant’s best friend with the organization and ease provided by this app.

3. Time Master + Billing: With a 4 star rating in the app store, this app sets the bar for time and expense tracking. The overall best feature is flexibility to be customized to fit how you work – rounding minutes, multiple running timers, billing rates, expenses, client project/tasks, and so many more options. There are even additional modules available to include invoicing, QuickBooks export, and wireless sync between mobile devices.

4. Intuit GoPayment Credit Card Terminal: Similar to Square but a little bit more involved. It’s also a free app, but you have to jump through a few more hoops (AKA a 15 minute application process) to be approved to use this service. However, if you’re looking for a proven brand name, this may be for you.

5. QuickBooks Connect: This is a great supplement to your QuickBooks Online subscription (QuickBooks 2011 users you’ll have to get a paid subscription to use this app past 30 days). Manage customer information and balances; create invoices and sales receipts; convert estimates to invoices; email estimates, invoices, and sales receipts and more with this handy app.

Mobile computing can make all the difference in the efficiency of your business. Look for the bottlenecks in your financial administration and ask yourself, is there an app for that?

Kristi Daeda is an online marketing strategist that works with companies nationwide to define and execute powerful online marketing strategies. Read more about her thoughts on online marketing at her website [http://www.powerhousestrategy.com] or as featured on Mobile Apps Designers.

UK Consumer Finance – A Look at How Financial Comparison Websites Can Be Misleading

Here in the UK there are thousands and thousands of websites that deal with consumer finance, from the big banks looking to attract new and loyal customers all the way through to comparison websites that want to introduce you to the aforementioned big banks or to sell your personal information on as a sales lead. Any way you slice it everybody is trying to get money out of the consumer.

As far as the big banks and building societies are concerned they have their customer proposition and websites explaining their products. They are fully regulated by the Financial Services Authority and have a government appointed Ombudsman. Then we come to the comparison sites, now they are not all bad, I can think of about a dozen that are actually quite good.

Most of the bigger financial comparison websites in the UK have certain practices that I do not like, promoting: “Partner’s Products” or “Best Sellers”, especially when they are clearly inferior to products elsewhere on the same site. Another common tactic in respect of mortgages is to only link to institutions that pay the website for the lead, if no relationship exists the user is then invited to complete a form to be contacted by an Independent Financial Advisor.

So, you couldn’t really describe the bigger financial comparison websites as “consumer champions”.

However, it is the other websites that concern me, the ones that are only interested in promoting the product they get paid for or the websites that want your personal detail so as they can sell them on. Some of these websites carry incorrect and misleading information. One recent example on a website that I spotted was a company offering credit cards, in a credit card best buy table entitled, “Low APR”, they had four cards none of which had a low APR and to cap it off the table actually contained details of the card with the highest APR of any credit card in Britain.

Why was that card there, the answer is that the Credit Card company has an Affiliate Marketing Programme and it pays good commission.

The key question for me is whether or not the customer is being misdirected or is being offered an inferior or more expensive product for the financial gain of the website. In many cases the answer is YES!

Unfortunately, the web should be a place for anyone to get information to help them draw up a list of options or opinions, to help them make a decision or to be more informed, but it is not. The web has become a sales channel and in any sales situation the buyer must be aware, that they have to “beware”.

My name is Malcolm Murphy and for many years I have worked in the consumer finance industry here in the UK. The last 4 years have been spent working as the Head of Online Sales for a financial research company supplying banking data to many of the UK’s leading consumer finance websites. During this time I have learned all of the tricks used by other consumer finance websites.