iPhone App Review: CoinKeeper

iPhone App Review: CoinKeeper

October 20th, 2011 by

Budgeting and tracking personal spending just got a fun new addition to the App Store with CoinKeeper, by developer i-Free. Drag-and-drop coins from income to account, then add spending transactions by dragging from a spending account to the category. Keep track of spending goals and habits through the easy to understand interface, and even earn stars and “level up” in different financial traits. The app automatically creates charts of your spending habits and tracks all spending by category, day, month, account, and more.

How It Works

When you first start the app, you’re given the choice of using a default configuration that includes an average budget breakdown based on your income, or creating one yourself entirely from scratch. The basic flow of money is income source -> account -> expense -> saving goals. As a simple example, you would create an income source and set its budget (your job’s salary, for instance). You then would create an account, like a checking account, for that money to come into. You would then have a set of expenses that the money from your account would flow into, followed by pouring any leftover money into savings goals. More complicated setups would include multiple income sources, multiple accounts, and of course lots of expenses to soak up your hard-earned money.

In this app then you would create a source of income and give it a budget, as well as a descriptive icon to represent it on the main screen. You do the same for the accounts and expenses, setting up an icon, name, and budget for each. On the app’s main screen each financial category is in its own section of the display, with the income and savings goals categories actually folding up into the top and bottom of the screen respectively in order to give more screen real estate to the accounts and expenses sections.

The way you “earn” and “spend” money is by dragging the coin icon from one section to another. So as you get your October paycheck you drag it from the “income” section to the “account” into which the money is deposited. After dragging the coin you are presented a quick number entry screen where you can tap in how much money changes hands. The same procedure happens when you pay a bill or other expense: drag it from the account into the expense. The money will “drain” from the account icon and “fill up” the expense icon.

Savings goals happen after you’ve paid all of your expenses for the month. You can tap the “statistics” icon and see detailed breakdowns of your spending habits. You can also tap an individual account to see how money flowed in and out of that account over time, or tap an expense in order to see how and from where money was paid towards that expense.

There is a “profile” screen where you can see your personal “stats”. There are four traits that “level up” over time, based on your spending habits and patterns, functioning as a sort of reward system for good financial planning.

Pros And Cons

CoinKeeper is a beautiful, intuitive app that gives you a fun and visceral way to work with your finances without removing the necessary level of detail and granularity required to succeed in your spending goals. While the profile traits of Thrifty, Hoarding, Consisten, and Prosperious (sic) I found to be rather vague and unclear in how you achieve higher levels, their mere presence is a nice way to offer rewards to those who manage their money well (and hopefully their use can be cleared up and given greater prominence in future updates).

The developers clearly put great thought and effort into creating an interface that is fun and easy to use, as well as giving you fast access to the information you need the most. The ability to slide away your goals and income into top and bottom panels is a great way to hide the items that you will be adjusting the least (once they’re initially set up) while at the same time giving you more space to work with on the small screen.

Some features I would love to see added would be the simple ability to drag a coin and create a new expense category in one stroke. For instance, in order to create a new expense now you must tap the “Add Expense” button and then enter the relevant information. What would be great is if you could simply drag the coin from an account to the “Add Expense” button, have it bring up the proper windows, and then create the expense category and deposit the money in one fell swoop.

Another minor detail is that the date on the transaction details screens is listed in international format (October 21 is shown as “21/10”). There should be an option placed under the settings screen to adjust that for us backwards folk here in the United States.

Overall

CoinKeeper is a fun, intuitive, but highly detailed budgeting and financial tracking app that puts all of the tools necessary to track income and expenditures in one attractive package.

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