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Compare Personal Finance Software

The comparison should be the least of your worries when you choose the best app for yourself. That’s why we are going to tell you how to choose these apps, and lead you through this comparison process. Follow our advice below to learn how to choose between these personal finance applications!

You’re looking for compare personal finance software, but why? Well, you might be the kind of person who just read a personal finance blog and is now thinking that it should be easy to switch to new personal finance software. Or you’re about to go finance hunting and want to see which personal finance software this lender/bank is using.

You want to get a loan. You want to see what options are out there. So you start doing some research, searching the net and trying to find some information about this kind of service. Sure enough, you find a number of articles and reviews that try to provide you with some info on compare personal finance software or personal finance software comparison. But don’t these reviews seem a little unclear? I mean, they’re obviously written by someone who is an aficionado when it comes to this type of topic, but would they be enough for you? Would they answer all your questions?

It simplifies the process of personal financial management by largely bypassing traditional receipts and spreadsheets. At the same time, the best personal finance software lets you collate your records, have them all in one place and backed up too, often using cloud storage for added flexibility.

How to choose the best personal finance software for you

Managing your money is a long-haul commitment, one that’s worth taking an hour or two to get right. Don’t be afraid to take the best personal finance software tools out for a spin. Every product we mention here has a trial version, and we highly recommend that you take advantage of it. 

Think about who you are and what you want. Has history shown that you’re more likely to use something that asks little of you, or one that pulls you so deeply into its intricacies that you forget to eat? With something as real as your financial goals, will gamification appeal, or turn you off because it feels frivolous?

Then take 2-3 tools for a test drive with some real-world scenarios. Think of a few questions you’d really like the answers to, such as:

  • How much do I spend eating out each month? 
  • How long ‘til I pay off my credit cards if I up my monthly payment by $50?
  • How much should we be saving each month to meet our retirement goals? 

You get the idea. Try to get the answers to your questions out of each tool. If you do this, chances are you’ll know which product you’d like to stick with.

Basic financial planning software simply provides an easy portal for managing your finances, but some of the more advanced packages can help with reducing debt, managing budgets, or even provide finance advice as an additional service.

We’ll therefore look at the best personal finance software out there and show you the standout features of each one, so that you can get a better idea of which would be best for you.

If you’re looking to keep your business books with a bit more detail, check out our guides to the best accounting software for small business and best tax software.

Here then are the best personal finance software platforms currently available and, underneath those, the best free personal finance software.

What to consider with the best personal finance software

If you’re in need of some organisational clout, especially if you’re running a small business, picking a personal finance software package can help a great deal. Depending on your needs you’ll find that the best personal finance packages allow you to keep on top of things like receipt logging and managing expenses, all from within one program.

The other bonus is that most of the personal finance software packages allow you to share your data with your preferred tax and accounting software. That means you’ll be much better placed when it comes to tax filing time. There are personal finance packages tailored to both online and offline needs, with many having apps that let you track spending day to day. Cloud-based personal finance packages let you keep all of your data in a safe place too, so all bases are covered.

Personal finance features to look for

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Desktop or mobile?

Have a think about where and how you’ll use your personal finance package. Most of us tend to spend money on the go, so having a software package that allows you to log and track outgoings means a mobile and app-based solution makes a lot of sense. Most packages offer both desktop and mobile solutions however.

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Reporting capability

While personal finance package are great at helping you manage money and track spending, they’re also vital for producing reports. This data can subsequently be used for tasks such as filing your taxes or for sharing with an accounts person who does the job for you.

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Easy integration

You’ll want to check that any personal finance software you’re considering will ideally work in tandem with other packages. This is crucial when it comes to logging items like expenses. Check your package can be used to move figures from one place to another for much more efficient tax filing purposes.

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Help and support

As is the case with any software package, it’s always good to check there will be help at hand should you need it. Some personal finance packages come with free support, while others have it as part of a paid-for plan. How much help you will need depends on your confidence with the software.

Best personal finance software of 2021

Quicken
(Image credit: Quicken)

1. Quicken

Best all round personal finance package

Specifications

Best for: All-round usePlatform: Windows, MacOS, iOS, and AndroidPricing: TieredExcel/Accounts integration: YesToday’s Best DealsVISIT SITE

Reasons to buy

+Fair pricing+Secure online backup+Desktop and app

Reasons to avoid

-Slender app versions-Rivals come cheaper

Quicken is a long-established tool for managing personal accounts, and while its reputation was built on a desktop version, it’s now available to run as an app on your mobile devices.

Quicken offers a good range of financial reporting tools. These are set around a few different areas, namely budgeting, bills, accounts, and even investments. For budgeting, it offers you a chance to input your purchases and income so you can compare them both together to get a better idea of how much you are spending compared to how much you are earning.

In terms of bills, you can also see which utilities and similar you are constantly paying out to, and see both the amounts to be paid and how much money you have left over. For accounting purposes you can even bring your banking and credit card bills together in one place so that you have a very clear idea indeed of how much you’re paying out. This is especially handy as people easily underestimate how much regular small purchases can add to costs.

For investments it also offers the ability to track these, whether as part of your savings, investment portfolio, or 401k pension plan. This means you have a clear idea of how much your savings and investments are worth, though it’s fair to say you shouldn’t panic about short-term fluctuations in the stock market.

Altogether, Quicken brings together your budgeting, banking, and investment reporting into a single dashboard, which you can view from your desktop or even via your cell phone from the mobile app. 

Quicken - Try it for 30 days risk-free!

Quicken – Try it for 30 days risk-free!
Start taking control of your money with the Starter package at $35.99/yr, manage your money and save with the Deluxe option at $46.79/yr down from $51.99/yr, maximize your investments with Premier for $70.19/yr, down from $77.99/yr or manage personal and business finances all in one place with Home & Business at $93.59/yr, reduced from $103.99/yr.View Deal

YNAB
(Image credit: YNAB)

2. YNAB

Best for personal and business money management

Specifications

Best for: Regular money managementPlatform: Windows, MacOS, iOS, and AndroidPricing: Monthly/annuallyExcel/Accounts integration: YesToday’s Best DealsYNABUS$6.99/mthVisit Siteat YNAB

Reasons to buy

+Free trial+Easy installation

Reasons to avoid

-Limited features-Patchy useability

Just in case you need to be told explicitly what to do, along comes YNAB – short for You Need A Budget. Because, hey, if you don’t want to spend every single penny you have and more, you absolutely do need one. And perhaps you have more money than you thought?

YNAB’s primary mission, as you might expect, is to help you curb overspending and avoid living from paycheck to paycheck. Stick to the program, temper your spending appropriately, and eventually YNAB will see you spending last month’s money rather than that which you’ve just earned.

It’s quick to install, supports the majority of transaction information downloadable from banks, and appropriately configures itself for personal or small business use by changing its monetary categories depending on your needs.

If you get off track, YNAB – which is reasonably forgiving and understanding for a bit of software – will tell you what you need to do to get back to where you need to be. You’ll have to make sacrifices, but if it’s guidance you need, this sets itself apart from the likes of Quicken.

YNAB - Get a free 34-day trial

YNAB – Get a free 34-day trial
If you’re keen to get a better grip on your finances then YNAB makes an ideal option to consider. There’s a free 34-day trial available currently, which will let you explore all of the features and functions, without any cash outlay.View Deal

BankTree
(Image credit: BankTree)

3. Banktree

Best for tracking in multiple currencies

Specifications

Best for: Multiple currencies Platform: Windows, MacOS, iOS, and AndroidPricing: Set feeExcel/Accounts: YesToday’s Best DealsView at BankTree

Reasons to buy

+30-day free trial+Supports multiple currencies

Reasons to avoid

-Can be a bit tricky to navigate-Needs their online banking subscription for syncing

BankTree is more than happy to support worldwide currencies, and in fact does a solid job if you’re working simultaneously with more than one, offering balances in multiple currencies rather than rounding them off into a single total. It’s also good for keeping track of everything, allowing you to scan receipts with its mobile app and import them later on.

It’s not the prettiest software around, and it’s slightly more awkward to use than many of its more refined cousins, although BankTree does produce very neat reports that you can break down by time, or by the payee. It may be worth experimenting with the free trial before you choose to invest in this one.

The desktop software comes with one year of updates and support, though you are restricted to one PC and there is a charge for any additional PC you want to run the software on. There’s also a browser-based version available.

Whichever version you opt for, there’s a 30-day free trial available, so you can try it before you buy to get an idea if BankTree will work for you.

BankTree - Personal Finance

BankTree – Personal Finance
BankTree Desktop Personal Finance software is available now for just £35.00. We will provide you with free email support, and free updates, and bug fixes to the current version of BankTree Desktop Personal Finance version 3.0. You can install the software on one computer. Any additional installations are charged at just £5.00 per computer.View Deal

Money Dashboard
(Image credit: Money Dashboard)

4. Money Dashboard

Best for personalized tags that make budgeting easier

Specifications

Best for: Practical toolsPlatform: iOS and AndroidPricing: FreeExcel/Accounts integration: YesToday’s Best DealsVISIT SITE

Reasons to buy

+Free+High security+Easy to use

The Money Dashboard iOS/Android app doesn’t try to reinvent the banking world or offer anything truly ground-breaking, but it is perhaps one of the most useful money management tools out there. Hook up every one of your UK bank and credit card accounts and you’ll be able to see each of your balances in a single place with a single login. That in itself is enough for us to recommend it.

But there’s more – Money Dashboard will track your spending, offering you an overall pie chart depicting your spending on loans, consumables, transport and the like. There’s an at-a-glance overall balance, showing exactly how much money you have available across all of your accounts, and you can compare this to the previous month’s figure to show how well you’ve been managing your funds. That’s a great motivator.

It’s super-safe, too: Money Dashboard locks down your login with an equivalent level of security to that of your bank, and it’s completely read-only – your money isn’t going anywhere.

There are apps available for Android and iOS, and surprisingly both are free to use.

Money Dashboard - Popular money management

Money Dashboard – Popular money management
Over half a million people use the award winning Money Dashboard app, which makes it one of the most popular personal finance choices out there. It’s quick and easy to sign-up for free, which will allow you to explore all of the features and functions.View Deal

Moneydance
(Image credit: Moneydance)

5. Moneydance

Best money management for investors

Specifications

Best for: InvestorsPlatform: Windows, MacOS, iOSPricing: Per householdExcel/Accounts integration: YesToday’s Best DealsVISIT SITE

Reasons to buy

+90-day money-back guarantee+Strong reporting features

Reasons to avoid

-No Android app-Lacking budget alerts

Made primarily for Mac users (but also out on Windows and Linux), Moneydance is a desktop money management package with a very neat single-window interface. Load it up and you’ll get an instant view of your finances, upcoming bills, recent expenses and more. Click an item in the left hand sidebar and the main content changes to reflect it.

Its reporting features are quite strong if not spectacular to look at, and one of Moneydance’s most useful sections is its account register. If you’re old-school and once managed a checkbook, this operates on a very similar principle. There’s also an iOS app for logging transactions on the go, which later syncs with the software on your desktop.

Unfortunately for UK users, Moneydance doesn’t support the connection protocols used by UK banks, so you’ll need to download your transaction history manually to keep on top of it and revert to your bank’s own app to move money around. US users, however, are well covered.

The plan offered applies per household rather than per computer, which means that you are licensed to run it on multiple desktops at home. While no free trial is advertised, a 90-day money-back guarantee is.

Moneydance - Buy now for just £44.41

Moneydance – Buy now for just £44.41
For personal use, people who use Moneydance should buy one license per household, no matter how many computers you install it on, operating systems you use, people who use Moneydance, or data files you create. For business use, please buy one license per computer Moneydance is installed on, or per data file (on a shared network), whichever is smaller.View Deal

Best free personal finance software

Buxfer
(Image credit: Buxfer)

1. Buxfer

Best for managing personal finances on the goToday’s Best DealsBuxfer BasicBuxfer PilotUS$1.99/mthBuxfer PlusUS$3.99/mthVisit Siteat Buxfer

Reasons to buy

+High level of encryption+Free version

Reasons to avoid

-Reporting options are limited-Thin on investment options

An online service that’s not slathered in effects and colours, Buxfer does a good job of presenting your finances in a clean, professional manner. It cutely brags about the fact that it’s currently helping its users manage over four trillion dollars in funds, so it’s got a solid user base behind it.

You don’t have to give Buxfer your exact banking details if you’re uncomfortable doing so – you can opt for offline manual syncing with your bank account instead – but if you do trust it, there’s a layer of high-level encryption to protect your data and the company is regularly audited.

We like its budgeting tools best of all – the visual reporting is very strong, and the fact that it doesn’t force you into predefined categories and instead allows you to tag expenditures however you see fit means Buxfer should fit nicely into most people’s banking lives.

The free version gets you five budgets, accounts and bill reminders, the Pilot version adds on automatic tagging and bank syncing, the Plus version gives you unlimited budgets, and the Pro version includes online payments, advanced forecasts and more besides. Get it all though with a Prime version.

HomeBank
(Image credit: HomeBank)

2. HomeBank

Powerful finance software with handy reports to keep you on trackToday’s Best DealsVISIT SITE

Reasons to buy

+Cross-platform+Imports data from other apps+Supports unlimited accounts

HomeBank will appeal if you work on multiple platforms, or don’t use Windows by default. Available for Windows, macOS and Linux (there’s also an Android app in development) HomeBank can be installed normally or as a portable app, and it makes the topic of personal finance easily accessible. If you’ve been using another program – such as Quicken or Microsoft Money – to manage your finances, you can import data to save having to start from scratch.

You can add an unlimited number of accounts to the program, and they can be linked to each other to allow for easy money transfers – it is all entirely dependent on manual editing, though. With enough data entered, it’s possible to generate all manner of reports, including helpful predictive reports for car ownership and the like. Very much designed with the average person in mind, this is a personal finance app for people who hate personal finance apps.

AceMoney Lite
(Image credit: AceMoney Lite)

3. AceMoney Lite

A great choice if your financial affairs are relatively straightforwardToday’s Best DealsVISIT SITE

Reasons to buy

+Intuitive interface+Available for Windows and macOS

Reasons to avoid

-Only supports two accounts-Doesn’t link to online accounts

Billing itself as an alternative to Quicken sets a high bar for AceMoney Lite, but it’s a target it manages to reach, even in its free, cut-down iteration. There’s only support for two accounts in AceMoney Lite, but this should be enough for many people. You can even use the program to keep track of your PayPal account.

Managing accounts in different currencies is no problem, but you’ll have to enter data into this free personal finance software rather than having your transactions pulled in from your bank account. That said, if you download statements from your online bank account, these can then be imported to saved time with manual entry. AceMoney Lite also makes it easy to track your spending and investments, making it a reasonable financial tool for anyone looking to take control of their finances.

GnuCash
(Image credit: GnuCash)

4. GnuCash

Flexible enough for home users and small businessesToday’s Best DealsVISIT SITE

Reasons to buy

+Imports data from other apps+Payroll for small businesses+Cross-platform

GnuCash is simple enough to be used for home finances, but flexible enough to be put to use by small businesses as well. While the software is easy to use, the fact that it’s suitable for small business accounting is thanks to the inclusion of a number of extra features that you would not necessarily expect to find – support for payroll management and double-entry accounting, for instance.

Although relatively easy to use, this free personal finance software does really require some familiarity with accounting software, and it’s simple to migrate from another program because you can import data in QIF and dOFX formats. Support for expense tracking makes this ideal software for preparing for tax season, and there are a huge number of reporting options to help you to make sense of your cashflow. The software is available for macOS, Windows and Linux, as well as Android, and it’s highly recommended that you try out this great tool before you consider any of the paid-for alternatives.

Buddi
(Image credit: Buddi)

5. Buddi

Clear and well designed – ideal if you’re new to finance softwareToday’s Best DealsVISIT SITE

Reasons to buy

+Well designed interface+Excellent budgeting tools

Reasons to avoid

-Requires Java

Proving that free personal finance software doesn’t have to be complicated, Buddi keeps things about as simple as they can be. In a matter of minutes, you can set up all of the accounts you need and start keeping track of your incomings and outgoings.

Money can be easily pulled from and moved between different accounts, and Buddi can generate all sort of reports about your spending and earnings broken down in a variety of ways. If you’re looking to save money, the program can help you to stick to a budget and for anyone who is completely new to the concept of accounting, the Buddi website has a number of helpful guides to help get you started.

On the downside, Buddi requires you to have Java installed which is not going to be to everyone’s liking, and the software itself has not been updated for a little while. Neither of these two factors are enough to stop us from recommending that you take a look at the program – it could well be just what you’ve been looking for.

How to choose the best personal finance software

Everyone has different needs when it comes to managing personal finances. That means the range and choice of best personal finance software packages is expansive, which is great for us, the consumers. 

The best starting point if you’re on the lookout for the best personal finance software package is therefore to decide just how complicated you think your money matters are. If you run a tight ship and are quite good with your finances, then a basic package will more than suffice.

Consider factors including how much you spend eating out each month and what sort of credit card terms you’re working too such as managing monthly payments. You might want to factor in how much you need to save towards a pension. The best  personal finance software can help with these, and more.

However, if you’re not organised, you’ll want to look at more complex personal finance packages that can do a lot more of the money management legwork. More sophisticated packages can help you become better at budgeting, keep track of incomings and outgoings and build up an archive of your financial affairs. 

Other Personal Finance Considerations

You may only want to use a personal finance service for day-to-day income- and expense-management, budgeting, and goal setting. That said, financial applications, such as Mint and Quicken Deluxe, let you track your assets, including homes, vehicles, and investment holdings. If you keep your financial data updated, the applications maintain a running tally that, when combined with your debt, reflects your total net worth.

You probably don’t need advanced tools when you’re away from your desktop or laptop. Still, when you’re out spending money, it’s good to know how much you have available. The personal finance services that we reviewed offer both Android and iOS apps. Most offer somewhat reduced functionality, but you can at least check your account balances, view and add transactions, and see graphs illustrating numbers related to spending and cash flow. You may also be able to get your credit score and check the status of pending bills. Moneydance is an exception; its mobile apps are not as mature as the competitions’ apps.

Are all the reviewed applications easy to use? The short answer is yes. Credit Karma and Mint are the most user friendly, incorporating state-of-the-art interfaces with can’t-miss navigation tools. NerdWallet blends editorial content with a credit score, plus limited income- and expense-tracking tools. These dual purposes make the site somewhat confusing until you understand how the two co-exist.

CountAbout and Moneydance are certainly easy enough to use, but they have dated user interfaces. Quicken Deluxe has been around for so long and offers so much that its user experience is a little uneven. Its blend of old and new content can be a little jarring when compared with a solution built from the ground up to live online. YNAB takes some study to understand and use it effectively.

Conclusion

Comparing personal finance software or personal finance apps is difficult. Different companies offer different services and come at different price points. This can make things pretty complicated to decide which one is right for you and your needs. But, when you look at their differences, there is a way to see which one might be best suited for you.

You know that it is time to make a change with your finances. You’ve been feeling better and more confident about your financial life, but find yourself still not where you’d like to be. Maybe you’re paying unnecessary monthly fees for personal finance software that you aren’t entirely sure is the right thing for you. It’s time to take action and become more successful in achieving your financial goals.

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