There are a lot of personal finance apps out there. In fact, we’ve written about some of them before: read Mint Personal finance app development.
Lately, though, we’ve come across a few startups in this market that deserve to be singled out for creating especially interesting, fun, and effective mobile apps.
Here are three mobile app startups we think users will love, and the reasons why we think everyone should know about them.
PROSPR: “Become your CEO”
You might think that managing your personal finances is a far cry from running a major corporation, though that’s not the way San-Francisco-based startup PROSPR would have it.
The company is in the process of developing an iOS and Android app that makes users CEO of their own, personal corporation, complete with board of directors and fluctuating stock prices.
Here’s how it works
Users log in to the app and import financial information from different accounts; PROSPR’s use of the Yodlee aggregation API makes this a snap. After that, they create a weekly, monthly, or “lifely” budget approved by an “advisor” (that is, facebook friend) who’s also on the app.
Because PROSPR is connected to your bank account, it can show you and your “advisors” how your pre-planned budget stacks up against your actual expenditures. What’s especially cool is the fact that each corporation/user has a stock price that goes up or down depending on how well they stay within the boundaries of their budget.
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Here’s why we think audiences will love PROSPR when it launches later this year:
1. It’s gamefied
This is the first financial app I’ve come across that turns financial responsibility into a competition. Users will be encouraged to actually stay on budget by the fact that good results mean higher stock prices, and ultimately more bragging rights. Competing with other users, or themselves, is a great way to keep users engaged.
2. It’s got a great theme
In the age of startups, practically anybody can be CEO. Aspiring entrepreneurs can use this app as a low-risk way to get a feel for budgeting, working with advisors, and keeping an eye on company value.
3. It turns personal finance into a group activity
Though some might not be into the idea of sharing financial details with friends, I think it’s the perfect platform for getting advice about what your monthly budget should look like based on the experiences of others. The fact that users need at least one “advisor/friend” to use the app is also a brilliant move by PROSPR to acquire new users quickly.
PROSPR is the project of two self-described hipsters, Rory John O’Brien and Matthew Pierce, currently in the process of raising $300,000 in funding.
Wally+: “Expenses as Experience”
Wally+ is like the Swiss Army Knife of personal finance apps, giving you all the tools you could ever need to keep track of your money.
Users can do things like create daily, weekly, or monthly budgets, manually input information about purchases, and get detailed, visually pleasing expense reports. A “ticker” on the top of the screen shows you how much you have left in each budget, while a summary screen shows you where, with whom, and on what you spent your money.
I know all this sounds pretty boilerplate for a personal finance app, but Wally+ has a couple special features that make it really stand out of a very crowded marketplace.
The first is a location-based function that makes guesses about where you’re spending your money. If Wally+ notices you’re at McDonald’s, for example, it might prompt you for information about what you ordered and how much you spent.
The second is a feature that shows you detailed graphs about how other users like you behave financially. You can see, for example, what percentage of their income your peers are saving, saving, or blowing at bars and restaurants.
Here’s why we think Wally+ is a great role model for up and coming financial app makers:
1. It’s not just a “personal finance app”
Wally+ synthesizes the social with the financial-you see which friends or family members you spend the most money with, and at which venue. That’s a connection a lot of other financial apps don’t make because they’re too focused on the arithmetic of money in vs. money out. Integration with social networks also means a lot of exposure for Wally+, and thus a lot of new users.
2. It uses geo-location to keep users engaged
One of the downfalls of a lot of personal finance apps is that users constantly have to input data about where they are and what they’re buying. Wally+ does the footwork for users by picking up on their location, and prompting them to fill in details about expenditures. This means a more active and engaged user base, and an overall better app.
3. It’s got a lot of room to grow.
Though the app is free, the founders of Wally+ are currently working on “closing the loop” between personal finance and payments by offering P2P transfers, bills, and in-store payments. A small fee or percentage charged on each of these would mean a tidy profit for this startup.
The founders of Wally+ are based in Dubai, and working with $450,000 in seed money they picked up in May of 2014.
If you want to try it for yourself, you can find Wally+ on Google Play and the App Store for free.
Read also: Personal Finance App Development
Plot: “Explore your Future”
While a lot of personal finance apps are all about recording how much you’ve spent in the past, Plot is all about showing what you’ll be able to afford in the future.
Users start by inputting some basic information about sources of income and monthly expenses. Like Wally+, Plot is “bankless” so rough numbers will do.
This information is plugged into a calendar-style interface, which users then populate with items they would like to buy in the future, called “wishes.” In the lingo of Plot, “wishes” can be things like a new laptop or jacket, or events like a vacation or the repayment of a loan.
When you add a “wish” to the list, you can see how your ability to purchase future wishes either grows or diminishes. If I tell Plot that I’m going to buy an iPhone 6 today, for example, I might not be able to get the new coffee maker I was planning on getting tomorrow.
According to Plot’s founder, London-based creative director Christer Papanicolaou, the app is intended for young users (18-35) trying to figure out if going to the bar tonight means he or she can’t get a new laptop next month.
Here’s why we think Plot is, well, awesome:
1. It has a unique focus
Plots biggest competitive advantage is its promise to “help you get the most out of tomorrow” by showing you the consequences of your actions today. Not only is this the only personal finance app out there that spends so much time stressing the future, but it’s also the only one that lets you see the long-term implications of all your financial decisions. Plot fills a hole in the market that a lot of people might not have noticed was there in the first place.
2. It’s got a great monetization strategy
Plot’s “Wishes” feature gives it unprecedented access to the long-term shopping plans of thousands of users, information which can in turn be used by advertisers to determine exactly when a campaign for a certain product would be most effective. According to Plot’s founder, “advertisers would login to a web interface where they can see buying “wants” and their popularity and create a campaign based off Topics/Words (using Freebase categories) in very much the same way you would use Google Adwords.” Selling aggregated user data, coupled with a little in-app advertising, promises to be pretty solid source of income for this free app.
3. It’s just plain addictive
It’s cool to know what would happen next week if you gave in to your urge to by a new laptop today. You can spend hours seeing how purchasing decisions of today might affect your buying-power in the future. This is a great mechanism for attracting new users, as well as for keeping current ones engaged.
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If you’re thinking about building your own personal finance app, there’s no better place to start than Yalantis.