This is a list of the best personal finance apps, based on our testing and review of dozens of tools across the categories listed below.
- Best Overall Financial App: Empower
- Best Budgeting App: Rocket Money
- Best App for Debt Payoff: YNAB
- Best Money Saving App: Trim
- Best App for Managing Bills: Prism
- Best App for Credit Monitoring: Credit Karma
Best Overall Financial App: Empower
PEmpower is a one-stop shop for managing your personal finances.
The app offers several functions, including budgeting, portfolio tracking, cash management and best-in-class financial calculators that can help you set and reach financial goals.
You can see your net worth, account balances, monthly income and expenses, retirement savings, investment balances and more all in a single dashboard (as shown in the screenshot below).
The app and web dashboard are free to use; you don’t need to have money invested with Empower to access the features mentioned above.
What it does: Helps you manage your budget and investments, and lets you use its tools to analyze various aspects of your spending, as well the progress of your saving goals (like retirement).
Why we like it: Empower syncs all of your accounts and uses real data (not estimates) to help you understand whether you’re on track to reach your financial goals.
Who it’s for: Those with a positive net worth who want advanced insights into their overall financial picture.
What it costs: Empower’s financial tracking tools are free, but the company’s wealth management services — which are only available to users with $100,000 or more invested on the platform — have an advisory fee.
Where to get it: Visit Empower.
Learn more: Get to know the free app’s many valuable tools in our Empower review.
Best Budgeting App: Rocket Money
Rocket Money ranks as our favorite budgeting app thanks to the excellent user experience it provides.
The app is free to download and use, with the limitation that you can only monitor two custom budget categories (which allow you to get alerts throughout the month regarding your spending in a specific category). Additionally, on the free plan, your transactions only sync once per day as opposed to in real-time.
If you want to monitor more categories or have transactions sync instantly, you need to sign up for a paid subscription, which starts at $3 per month and includes additional premium services like:
- Cancellation Concierge. Rocket Money will cancel unwanted subscriptions on your behalf.
- Smart Savings. An FDIC-insured bank account that allows you to set up regular deposits, with the aim of helping you save for short-term financial goals.
In addition, Rocket Money offers a bill negotiation service that can help you save money with providers like cell phone, cable and internet companies. No subscription is required to access this service; you’ll pay a commission if Rocket Money is able to save you money.
While $3 per month is reasonable, we think Rocket Money’s free budgeting tool is sufficient for keeping track of your income and expenses, monitoring your transactions, and getting a birds-eye-view of your spending.
What it does: Tracks spending and shows all recurring charges at a glance.
Why we like it: The simplicity. Key information, like spending and cash flow, is visible directly from the home screen.
Who it’s for: Those looking for a simple budgeting app to track monthly income and expenses. (It’s compatible with the most popular budgeting methods.)
What it costs: You can use the budgeting tool for free, with the only limitations being that your account syncs once per day and you can only monitor two budget categories.
Where to get it: Visit Rocket Money.
Learn more: Read our in-depth Rocket Money review.
Budgeting App Honorable Mentions
Each of these apps offers valuable budgeting tools that may be helpful depending on your particular needs and situation.
Goodbudget is based on a zero-dollar budgeting system that uses the envelope method to help control spending. The app allows budgets to be shared across a household.
What it does: Each dollar has a job and is segregated into a digital envelope. Transactions can be added manually or imported from your banking files.
Why we like it: Manually entering transactions can make you more aware of your spending.
Who it’s for: The sharing feature makes it great for roommates who split shared expenses.
What it costs: The base program is free, but the “Plus” features are $7 a month or $60 per year.
Where to get it: Download Goodbudget.
Learn more: NerdWallet has a super-concise summary of how the app works.
Pocketguard is a budgeting app that provides a broad overview of your income and spending habits. It also has additional features, such as the ability to help lower your expenses and alert you to fraud.
What it does: Shows the big picture of your spending and creates a budget for you.
Why we like it: It can help cut costs by finding hidden fees, billing errors and forgotten subscriptions.
Who it’s for: Those unsure of how to budget their money, as the app can do it for you.
What it costs: The base program is free, but the “Plus” features are $3.99 a month or $34.99 per year.
Where to get it: Download Pocketguard.
Learn more: Read about Pocketguard’s features on the company’s official website.
EveryDollar is a simple budgeting app from Dave Ramsey that uses the zero-dollar budgeting principle to help control overspending and pay off debt.
What it does: EveryDollar helps you budget and follow Ramsey’s “baby steps.”
Why we like it: EveryDollar is simple to use with a clean interface.
Who it’s for: Those in debt, as the snowball method helps pay off debt quickly.
What it costs: Free, or up to $129.99 per year for additional features.
Where to get it: Visit EveryDollar.
Learn more: InvestorJunkie has a good overview here.
Best App for Debt Payoff: YNAB
YNAB — which is short for “You Need A Budget” — is a zero-based budgeting app.
With zero-based budgeting, you assign a job to every dollar that comes in and out of your life.
This approach can be a lot of work, but the commitment is often rewarded with significant savings. According to YNAB, users who adopt a zero-based budget save $600 on average in their first two months, and more than $6,000 on average in their first year.
It’s results like these that lead us to recommend the app for those in debt, those who are living paycheck to paycheck, or those who are looking to focus on a specific financial goal (such as saving for a down payment on a house).
What it does: YNAB teaches you how to budget, as opposed to just giving you a platform to create one.
Why we like it: YNAB teaches you how to think about tradeoffs and make decisions about what’s most important.
Who it’s for: Anyone looking to cut significant waste from their spending. We also ranked it as one of our best apps for getting out of debt.
What it costs: $11.99 per month or $84 per year.
Where to get it: Visit YNAB
Best Money Saving App: Trim
Trim has some very basic budgeting functionalities, like transaction monitoring. However, where Trim really shines is its done-for-you money saving services.
Trim helps you save by:
- Negotiating cable, internet and phone bills.
- Negotiating banking fees (including credit card APRs).
- Negotiating medical bills.
- Negotiating rent.
- Providing financial coaching with a CFP®.
These services are provided for a flat annual fee of $99.
Rocket Money (our pick for the best free budgeting app) also offers bill negotiation services, but at a potentially greater cost. Instead of a flat fee, you’ll pay a commission equal to 30% of any savings the company secures. This commission is calculated annually and billed as a single up-front payment.
That makes Trim the more cost-effective choice for people who have multiple bills that can be negotiated.
What it does: Offers automated money saving services.
Why we like it: Simple pricing model and wide range of services offered.
Who it’s for: Those who want to save money, but never find the time to work on cutting their recurring expenses.
What it costs: $99 per year (after a 14-day free trial).
Where to get it: Visit AskTrim.com
Learn more: See our Trim review.
Best App for Bill Payment: Prism
Prism organizes your bills in one place, allowing you to review, manage and make payments from a single app.
After you download the app, you’ll link each of your bills, your bank accounts, and your credit cards. Prism then allows you to get a handle on:
- When bills are due, as well as how much you owe.
- If there’s money available to pay each bill (whether that’s from your bank account balance or available credit).
Many bill providers allow you to pay your bills through Prism, either through your bank account or with a credit/debit card for a small fee.
What it does: Prism allows you to pay bills from a central location, sends reminders about when they’re due, and makes sure there’s enough money in your account to cover them.
Why we like it: It makes paying bills simple, which can help you avoid late-payment fees.
Who it’s for: Those who find themselves struggling with bills and whether there’s enough money in their accounts to pay them on time.
What it costs: Free.
Where to get it: Download Prism.
Best Credit Monitoring App: Credit Karma
With Credit Karma it’s easy to view your credit score, see when your score changes, get alerts when something new on your credit report appears, and get suggestions for improving your score.
While many of the bigger banks offer similar features, Credit Karma has two especially helpful tools.
#1. Credit Score Simulator: Allows you to see the impact that certain financial moves, such as getting a credit limit increase or applying for a loan, may have on your credit score.
#2. Suggestions for Improving Your Score: Credit Karma looks at each of the major factors that combine to make up your credit score (and tells you how you’re doing).
This makes the app very useful for someone who is looking to raise their score relatively quickly, which can save them money when applying for a loan.
What it does: Give updates whenever your credit score or credit report changes, provide credit monitoring, and offer insights into how to raise your score.
Why we like it: Free credit monitoring app with some additional services, like free tax prep and an unclaimed money finder.
Who it’s for: Good for those who will soon apply for a loan and want to work on increasing their credit score.
What it costs: Free. (They make money by recommending products and earnings commissions.)
Where to get it: Join Credit Karma.
Learn more: Learn more in our Credit Karma review.
Best Personal Finance App FAQ
When you share banking credentials with a reputable personal finance app, like the ones on this list, you’re giving the app “read-only” access. With this type of access, you’re giving them permission to see your activity, but not to make any changes.
Furthermore, reputable financial apps don’t store your data inside of the app itself. So, if someone were to steal your phone and gain access to the app, they wouldn’t have access to your login information.
Many budgeting apps allow you to add transactions labeled as cash, then categorize them based on the type of expense. If you manage your expenses using the cash-envelope method, apps worth checking out are YNAB, Mvelopes and GoodBudget.
Summary of Best Personal Finance Apps
This list covers the best personal finance apps, with a focus on budgeting and overall money management. But there are dozens of high-quality apps that can help you make and save money.
Here are a few more articles that may be of interest.
- The best overall money-making apps — earn extra cash with your tablet or smartphone.
- The best survey apps — you won’t get rich, but it’s not hard to earn free gift cards.
- The best overall cash-back apps — save money on almost everything you purchase.
- The best grocery and couponing apps — cut your grocery bill by clipping digital coupons and scanning receipts.
- The best passive income apps — get paid for doing almost nothing.
- The best cash advance apps — alternatives to payday lenders if you need money in a pinch.
When choosing whether an app is worth downloading, make sure you weigh the costs versus the benefits. In some cases, a small monthly subscription charge will eat into the savings the app provides, or even leave you with a net negative.
That can even be true for free apps. If something takes up too much of your time and only saves you a couple of bucks, it may not be worth the hassle or distraction.
And if it could encourage you to make bad decisions — like spending over your budget to score a great cash-back deal or investing too much of your income in individual stocks — then you’re best to steer clear.
As with any decision in your financial life, the key is having a plan. So think about specifically what needs you have and then opt for the best apps that help you address them.