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Penny app review: see your finances in a whole new light

Reviews

Introduction

Are you frustrated with not knowing where all your money goes each month? You're not alone. In fact, a large amount of people are pretty lost when it comes to explaining how their money has been spent. The Penny app for your iPod touch, iPad, and iPhone has been created for everyday people to train them into becoming financial gurus in their own rite when it comes to their income and budgeting. The whole purpose of the app is to give users a better handle on their finances and to help them plan for a secure financial future.

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The way the app tackles the issue of finances is by giving you a chance to speak to a money coach and personal finance expert - Penny. The information is conveyed to you through easy-to-read graphs, messages that are gentle yet informative, and explanations that you can apply to your income and spending habits. The overall effect is a friendly and welcoming app that can help anyone get better hold of their finances.

Penny - Track Your Money, Bills, Saving & Spending

Free

Not a Typical Tracking Tool

What the Penny app isn't, is a typical tracking tool that is used for budgeting purposes. Yes, it offers these tools, but it's so much more than just tracking. The app has been rightly referred to as a "chat-based" coach for personal finances. It’s a unique and engaging approach that seems to be resonating with users, especially those who don’t enjoy the typical dry and dull budget-minded apps.

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"Penny is a personal finance app that helps you track your income and spending," says the developer Friendly Finances, Inc. "Whenever you chat with Penny, she shares important and fun information about your finances with you. She makes it simple and easy to save money and budget."

The developers set out to create an app that doesn't feel like a financial app, rather an app that is interactive and welcoming. "Penny makes your finances less intimidating and stressful."

Also, the developers wanted to be sure they scaled back the amount of tools and features so that users have what they need and no more. This creates a less complicated user interface that is also uncluttered and modern looking. "Many apps have lots of useful features, but they’re often hard to use and time-consuming," explains Friendly Finances, Inc. This uncomplicated approach is what is winning over users.

A Few Basics to Keep in Mind

The way the Penny app works is that it needs to access your bank account, which you need to give permission for. It supports more than 15,000 banks located all across the country. Once you have given that permission the app will start to gather up all your transactions so it can organize and analyze the information. This means all the work is on the app itself, not on your shoulders.

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You can't actually access and move money around through Penny, this app is meant to collect information, organize it, and present it to you in a secure way. Information is never stored by the app so you don't have to worry about your details ending up in the wrong hands.

After the app pours through all your information you are then presented with personalized charts and graphs so you get a clear picture of your finances. This information is graphed/charted in real-time.

Penny - Track Your Money, Bills, Saving & Spending

Free

Chat About the Details

As we stated, Penny is a chat-based financial coach, so that also means there is an interactive aspect to the app. The way the app communicates with you is through "texting" within the app itself. It's like you're having a one-on-one conversation with a financial expert that is directing their advice at your personal finances. Feel free to ask questions and let Penny provide you with the answers, which often contain graphs and statistics to help show you what Penny means. You may ask Penny how much money you spent this much on gasoline for your car, and then receive an instant answer.

Now, before you get too excited about the whole chatting aspect of this app, it's important to note that you don't have total free range. There are pre-loaded questions/prompts that you will need to use but they are pretty varied so they cover all the basics.

Eventually, once you've been using the app for many months, you'll be able to take advantage of the fact it is tracking your information. You can then look back on your history, balances, and transactions. This can all be helpful if you are trying to create and stick to a budget.

The app is certainly getting a lot of attention right now and has been featured on Product Hunt, in Time magazine, Lifehacker, and more. The customer’s reviews have been glowing and the app has a perfect five star rating on the iTunes store. It seems as though the developers have hit a homerun on this offering and the customers are showing their love.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • The app is user-friendly even if you’re not familiar with tracking and budgeting your finances
  • You can “chat” with the app
  • The app provides you with personalized graphs, information, and tips
  • The app tracks your data over time so you can go back and look at the history
  • The app is secure and doesn't store your bank account login information
  • The features and tools are basic but useful
  • The user interface is uncluttered and uncomplicated

Cons

  • If you’re looking for an app loaded with high-tech features, this isn’t it
  • It doesn’t support banks outside of the U.S.
  • You can’t actually do any banking through the app

A Penny For Your Thoughts

The Penny app for your iPod touch, iPad, and iPhone may just be the solution you’re after when it comes to getting your finances in check. What I find so appealing about this app is that it’s welcoming and not at all intimidating, perfect for those who don’t consider themselves financial whiz kids. The uncomplicated approach is just what users have been wanting.

Penny - Track Your Money, Bills, Saving & Spending

Free
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Tonya Costoff Medeiros

Tonya is a former travel writer who has spent the last few years testing, researching and reviewing iOS apps.