Technology has stealthily crept into every space of our lives. It’s almost impossible to live an easier life than the one that smartphones have now presented us with. From hailing a taxi to booking a ticket from the comfort of your bed, it seems like your mobile phone is a magic wand that can grant your every wish.

In addition, technology also seems to be offering us financial freedom now. Personal finance apps on our smartphones – as well as some on laptop and desktop computers – are becoming reliable and accountable enough to save us from debts, and help us achieve those saving habits that motivational speakers and self-help books always advocate.

However, the same way that a library is stocked full of self-help books that don’t actually help, the apps store is also stocked with a number of ‘finance’ apps that do not necessarily apply to your financial or budgetary needs; these apps don’t get us, and in turn, we don’t get them.

Luckily, we have compiled a list of applications that will better serve your financial needs. In no particular order, here are a few personal finance apps that help you ease your financial transactions and, ultimately, assist you in the achievement of your financial goals.

Expensify

ExpensifyThis particular app is one of the best for sorting through your personal and business life, simply because there is no need to differentiate them in the first place. This application can track expenses, miles travelled, and time worked on a project, which then syncs with important accounting or CRM software that you use. You’ve got a complete business suite all in this one app.

As an entrepreneur, Expensify could help with managing business expenses as well. The amazing thing is that you don’t even have to manually type in your receipts. You can simply snap a photo of your receipts using the app, and it gets updated automatically. The app tracks the time spent travelling and working on a particular project; it even goes as far as converting currencies for international travels and providing you with tools to track your business budget. Once your information is uploaded to your account, you can access it anywhere just by logging in.

It is available for Android, BlackBerry, iPhone, iPad, and Windows Phone.

Piggybank

Piggy bankPiggybank is a free personal finance app based on a traditional system of saving. Remember when you were young and needed to save towards banger fireworks during Christmas? You might not have had the real piggy bank, but I’m sure you had a small box where you saved your coins, yeah? In my tribe, we called it “kolo”. Anyway, let’s get back to the technology. This online platform simply wants to help you recover the saving habit that you might have lost while you were busy growing up.

As promoted, the app has created a process of saving tiny amounts daily, weekly, or monthly, allowing you to withdraw for FREE on ONLY set withdrawal dates; there are only 4 withdrawal dates per year. One positive aspect is that they also reward you for saving, which is quite a motivation.

I personally use this app, and saving has been basically stress-free. Except, of course, the pain of having to save when you don’t feel like saving.

Why do I trust this app enough to put my hard-earned money with them? According to Piggybank, they bank our savings with UBA Nigeria Plc, and every bank in Nigeria is insured by the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC). So really, your money is insured and secured. This savings app works only in Nigeria and accepts all Nigerian bank cards. It is available on the App Store and the Google Play store.

Reach

Reach appThis money management app ‘tracks income and spending to enable you to make intelligent money choices’.

The Reach app automatically syncs your bank details, then tracks your expenses when you receive SMS notifications from your bank. It is useful for keeping a budget when trying to achieve your financial goals.

The app has an interactive chatbot named Kudi – she serves as a personal finance assistant and motivator of sorts. Reach has gotten many positive reviews on the Google Play store; most of the reviewers attest to having great experiences while using the app. It is available for Android users only, and supports only 17 banks in Ghana and Nigeria.

Paylater

Paylater appHave you ever been stranded financially and none of your friends were willing to lend you some money? Guess what – there’s a finance app for that. Paylater has created an online platform that provides short-term loans when unexpected expenses or urgent cash needs must be covered.

According to the app, you can get a loan anytime – which means 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The platform is quite simple, but it requires you to fill out a few forms that are needed in order to have a quick application process. Paylater’s users are able to know their loan status in only a few minutes, and unlike banks, the app does not ask you for a collateral.

Unfortunately, this service is only available in Nigeria, and you can’t apply for long-term loans. The app is available for Android users only.

Branch

branch appFor those not residing in Nigeria, but are somewhere in Kenya or Tanzania, I’ve got an app for you. Branch, with over a million downloads on the Google Play Store, has got you covered whenever you run out of cash. The app makes accessing credit incredibly easy; in fact, you can complete an application in seconds, and receive the loan you requested in your bank account. In addition, it doesn’t require a collateral or any kind of paperwork. Branch users have access to larger loans and reduction in interests depending on their payback time. Of course, there are limits to the amount you can borrow.

This service is available in Nigeria (any bank account), Kenya (MPesa accounts), and Tanzania (MPesa and Tigo accounts). The app is available for Android users only.

22Seven

22Seven appThe first thing I noticed about this expense-tracking app is its beautiful design. The user interface is colourful and easy to use. Basically, the 22Seven app allows for easy integration of your accounts – cheque and savings accounts, credit and store cards, investments, loans, and rewards – as well as other related financial services. There are more than 100 financial institutions in Africa that you can link an account from.

This app makes it easy and fun to track your income and expenses. You get an automatic personalized budget breakdown, plus a detailed overview of your daily, weekly, and monthly spending. The application takes it a bit further, though. You can even invest your money in this app at a tax-free rate, and it’s done totally online. This app is available only in South Africa on the App Store and Google Play store – access to your account can also be seen on the web.

Monefy

monefy appTracking expenses is a tedious exercise with some apps, which can be quite frustrating. With the personal budget app Monefy, the process for entering transactions has been simplified. From what I’ve experienced, it is easy and less vexing; in fact, adding a transaction is as simple as clicking two or three buttons. Additionally, you can use the app’s default categories or create new categories. There is also the option to select what currency and language you wish to use. Please note, the most exciting features are on Monefy Pro, which costs $2.50.

Overall, the app is good enough to track your expenses and provide a fantastic insight into where most of your income has been going – and to discover that your pockets haven’t been leaking money all this while. Monefy is available on the Google Play store, App Store, and Microsoft store.

My Finances

myfinances appWith only a slight number of differences, this budgeting app is similar to Monefy in terms of functionalities. My Finances has an easy-to-use user interface for adding transactions and analyzing spending/income. With this app, you can manage multiple accounts, plan for future expenses, and even view a complete history of your transactions. There are default categories that fit into a home budget, and once you add a transaction to a category, the app gets the rest of the job done. You can even assign different colours to these categories.

My Finances goes even further by giving users the option of setting recurring expenses; for example, payments for bills that you incur every month get updated automatically.
This is a subscription-based app: monthly, quarterly, and yearly. Android users can get it on the Google Play store.

Good Budget

goodbudget app“Budgeting has only one rule: do not go over budget.” ― Leslie TayneLife & Debt: A Fresh Approach to Achieving Financial Wellness.

Does anyone remember the good old envelope system of budgeting? That is, where you have different envelopes for each expense category in your budget. When you receive your income, you simply put the correct amount in each envelope for that particular category, and you can only spend the cash in that category for that specific month.

The Good Budget app is built on that system: you can divide up your money into digital “envelopes” or categories based on your expenses. Now every time you spend or receive money, simply log into your Good Budget account and enter your transactions to see how they affect your budget. The app even lets you break down your budget by expense and view personalized reports. Not only is it a great way to watch your expenses, it’s also rated as one of the best budgeting apps.

Free and premium versions of the application are available. You can access it via your web browser, or download the app from the App Store and the Google Play store.

 

Financial Calculator

EZ financial calculatorThere is a critical factor that could hinder you from achieving financial freedom: poor calculations. Wrongly calculated interests on loans and debts could put you in deep trouble. I know that financial calculation is a real struggle for most people, including me, and this is where a finance calculator comes in handy.

Essentially, Financial Calculator is a collection of finance and investment calculators, loan/mortgage calculators, retirement calculators, stocks calculators, credit card calculators, auto loan and lease calculators, and other miscellaneous (like financial ratios) calculators. With the loan calculator, for example, you can calculate your payments and interests on a loan. This app offers more than 60 calculators with no hidden charges or in-app purchases – that’s right, it is totally free. The app’s calculators can work without an internet connection, with the exception of the currency converter. You can even share your calculations via email.

This finance calculator is available in the Google Play store and the App Store. Please note, the app is known as EZ Financial Calculators in the App Store.

Jack Benny, an American comedian, has one serious quote attributed to him that I like: “Try to save something while your salary is small; it’s impossible to save after you begin to earn more”. Start now, and make use of one of these apps to save and invest your way into financial freedom.

You can share with us some of the best personal finance apps that you’ve used.

Feranmi Akeredolu is a contributing writer, a tech and business enthusiast. He’s all about humanity, creativity and innovation. He has researched and written on the real estate sector in Nigeria, the automotive and steel industry in South Africa and the agricultural sector in Ghana. He’s most fascinated with a philosophical mind and enjoys writing about developments in business and tech in Africa, but says he’s most joyous whenever his favourite football team is winning a trophy.