One of the major issues with financial services apps these days is that there are way too many of them. Every different bank or investment firm seems to have at least one app; many have multiple apps required to access different accounts thanks to the outdated systems behind those accounts. Today, Personal Capital announced a free iPhone app that brings together all of those accounts into one app, and also lets users move money easily or pay bills from any account.
Yesterday, I had the privilege of watching a demo of the Personal Capital app presented by Bill Harris (CEO of Personal Capital, ex-CEO of Intuit and PayPal) and Jim Del Favero, VP of Software Product Management and also a veteran of Intuit. It's obvious that Personal Capital had looked at all of the personal finance applications on the market at this time, because its new app manages to avoid all of the pitfalls inherent in the others.
Harris noted that when most people launch a personal finance app, they want to see their balances. However, most other apps require you to navigate to another screen to look at balances. Not so with Personal Capital; the first screen you see after logging in (shown above right) lists the current balances for all of your accounts, whether savings, checking, credit or debit cards, or investments.
Navigating the app is also a pleasant surprise. While most personal finance apps I've used are a nightmare to move within, Personal Capital made it possible to dive deeper into each account with a single tap. Harris mentioned that most of the app can be navigated by just using a thumb -- something that's unheard of in most iPhone apps.
For each account, there's a ring-like feature with segments marking off the relative amount of money assigned to different categories. Within that ring is a small line graph indicating the balance of the account over time. Tap the graph, and you see individual transactions. It's an intuitive and quick way to navigate through the history of transactions for an account.
Personal Capital also announced a new feature in the iPhone app that is not part of their iPad app -- the Universal Checkbook. This feature makes it simple to pay literally anyone from any account with a few taps. Adding a checking account to Personal Capital is also quite simple -- you just take a picture of a blank check and the account is added. That's it. No typing of account numbers required.
If you wish to try Personal Capital, the service is free for the basic functions. If you decide that you'd like personalized portfolio management, they charge less than a 1 percent fee for the privilege. That's one other amazing feature of the app, by the way. If you want to contact your finance advisor at Personal Capital, you can tap a button and send them a message, make a direct call, schedule a time for a call, or call them via FaceTime.
Expect to see a more complete review of the app in the near future.
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Remote Control for Your Money
Personal Capital Launches Free iPhone App
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – May 8, 2012. How can you manage your money when you're not at home? Personal Capital's new iPhone app gives you complete control across all your accounts at all your financial institutions:
• Check Balances – Check current balances and recent transactions on all of your bank, credit card and brokerage accounts.
• Monitor Cash Flow – Monitor your total income and spending, with quick comparisons to prior months.
• Track Investments – Track and understand your entire investment portfolio across all your accounts – including IRAs, 401(k)s and 529s.
• Move Money – Move money anywhere – from any account to any person, any biller or any other account.
"You've got a remote control for your television. You need a remote control for your money!" said Bill Harris, CEO of Personal Capital.
"There are good reasons to put your money in many different accounts – most people do. But to take control of your money, you want to view everything in one place, and do everything in one place. View and do."
• View – See everything – from your total net worth to your most recent credit card purchase – on your iPhone.
• Do – Move your money from anywhere to anywhere. It's remarkably easy, with just three taps on your iPhone:
It's like having instant electronic access to the checkbooks for every one of your accounts. You tell us "from, to, amount", and we take care of the rest.
About Personal Capital
Developed by a team of high-tech and finance veterans, Personal Capital combines technology with personal service to create an entirely new way to manage your money – all of your money, at all your banks and brokers. Our free service effortlessly gathers all your financial data in one place, and helps you take control of your financial life. To learn more, please call 855-855-8005 or visit PersonalCapital.com.