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BEST ANDROID APPS TO START OFF 2014 (Financial Apps)

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This article is one of a series of articles about the best Android apps available as of the beginning of 2014.  Click here for the main article that includes links to this article and links to all the other categories of “The Best Of” apps for beginning 2014.  This article is for the Financial apps category, which lists the best banking, debt, and financial apps available at the beginning of 2014.  Most of these apps are free or very cheap.

Google Wallet

imageNOTICE!  Google Wallet used to be just for phones with NFC, and was also blocked by many carriers and wouldn’t install on many phones.  Google has significantly changed what Google Wallet is now.  Now, it is your Google money account.  With it you have access to transactions from the Google Play store (apps, music, movies, books, etc…).  You can also send money to friend through it, as well as make NFC payments at your local retailers (even make local purchases WITHOUT NFC!).  Google Wallet now works on just about any phone on just about any carrier.

If you enable location services (let it see your GPS), then it can notify you of nearby deals.

 

Debt Payoff Planner ($0.99)

imageDebt Payoff Planner lets you enter all of your debts, their interest rates, minimum payments due on each, what you can afford each month towards paying off debt, and it will show you the best way to pay down those debts to get it paid off the earliest, paying the least amount in interest.

It will produce payoff tables, showing you each debut, how much to apply to it, on what days.  It’s very simple to use and doesn’t require you to understand the complexities of compound interest or anything like that.  All you need to know is how much you owe on each, what their interest rates are, their minimum payments, and how much you can afford to apply towards your debts each month.  It does all the complex work for you and shows you simple payment plans.

 

aCar (free & paid)

imageaCar keeps track of your auto expenses, including fuel costs, repair and service records and costs, and can show you where you’re spending the most and will even calculate your mileage that you’re getting.  There’s both a free version and a paid version that gives you some nice graphs and reports.

Each time you fill up, enter the number of gallons you purchased, your total price (or price/gallon) and your current mileage.  It’ll figure out the rest.

This does take due diligence on your part to stay current and enter it every time.

 

adSense Dashboard (free)

imageDo you use Google ads for a side income on your websites and blogs (or perhaps your own apps)?  adSense Dashboard shows you your earnings in a nice, clean dashboard UI.

 

 

 

 

You can also choose views for:

  • Overview (the dashboard)
  • Sites
  • Custom Channels
  • URL channels
  • Ad units
  • Graphs
  • Reports

 

Google AdSense (Free)

imageMuch like adSense Dashboard, Google’s AdSense provides you a different kind of view of your Google ad income.  Of course, it looks more like the Google Now Cards interface.

Google’s version also has notifications, much like the notification drop down in their Google+ mobile app, so if there are any notifications on your account, you can see them from the bell menu.

 

Quicken 2013 and Quicken 2014

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If you use Quicken on your desktop, then you have access to the free, mobile app.  Though the mobile app is free, the desktop app (required) is not free.  There’s a version for Quicken 2013 and one for Quicken 2014.  From inside your desktop application, you have it sync with your Quicken Cloud account, then on your mobile device, you log into your cloud account and you can view all your accounts from your mobile.  Additionally, you can finally enter transactions directly from your mobile device.  This has created a new level of convenience in the Quicken software.  You can enter your transactions at the time you write your checks, rather than downloading them and going through your checkbook register to validate.

Just be aware of the MANY bugs in Quicken software!

 

Financial Calculators (Free)

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Financial Calculators is a free app, and despite the pluralness of the name, it’s a single app, but it does have multiple calculators in it.

Most (if not all) of the many calculators in this app provide multiple fields for you to enter.  You can leave some out and it will auto-calculate the values of the others (provided you gave it enough information).

Rather than explain each calculator in this app (there are MANY), here’s a screen shot of the top of the list (there are more):

2014-02-03 00.06.19

 

Your Bank’s mobile apps

imageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimage

Of course, I can’t provide a review of every single bank’s and credit card company’s apps.  Instead, I’ll explain what you can expect from most of them in 2014:  For bank apps, you should have access to your checking transactions.  You should also have the ability to make deposits from home (or anywhere) via your mobile app.  You simply sign the back of the check you received, then use your bank’s app to take photos of the front and the back, then tell the mobile app how much the check is.  The app will do OCR on the routing number and account number of the check, then make those funds immediately available to you.  No more rushing to the bank during their highly useless hours (openning an hour or to after you go to work, and closing an hour before you leave work).

 

Conclusion:

This is just a small fraction of what’s available as far as financial apps are concerned.  Search the Google Play store for your own bank’s or credit card’s apps.  They can be quite convenient.

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Quicken 2010 bugs

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Update 2012-03-03

This is just an online, public bug report about bugs in Quicken 2010. I’m hoping that publishing them will quicken (pardon the pun) Intuit into fixing them.

See also

Here are the bugs I’ve found so far:
  • Upgrade Notification Bug: [added this entry 2012-01-15]  Upon starting Quicken Home & Business 2010, I’m presented with this ugly window that IS NOT RESIZABLE!
    • image
  • Online payments lost: [added this entry on 2011-05-20] Sometimes, as soon as you enter a new, repeating online payment, as soon as you hit save, it goes nowhere.  You have to set it all up again.
  • Online payment amount changed: [added this entry on 2011-05-20] Enter an online payment by entering the amount first, then choose the payee, and it will replace the amount you entered with whatever the last amount was you sent to that payee.  If you don’t notice it, THAT’s the amount of money that’s sent.  This can cost you A LOT!
  • Repeating payment schedule changed: [added this entry on 2011-05-20] While entering a repeating payment, enter the schedule (weekly, every 2 weeks, monthly, etc…) and choose something other than monthly, then mark it as “repeating online payment” and it will CHANGE it to MONTHLY, regardless of what you had before. This can cause you in late fees or it can cost you by sending it out too often by not having enough for your other payments.
  • Super Slow Downloads: [added this entry on 2011-04-16] Ever since an update a few months ago (around the time Quicken 2011 was introduced), Quicken 2010’s download transactions went from mere seconds to several MINUTES.  There are a LOT of complaints about this.  There is speculation that they introduced this bug on purpose to entice people to spend money on Quicken 2011.
    • [Updated 2012-03-03]  I timed it today.  It took ELEVEN MINUTES!!!! on a 50mb/s data connection!  This is completely unacceptable! It’s only downloading data measured in KiloBytes.  There’s no reason for it to take 11 minutes.  In that amount of time, I could download 4.1 BILLION bytes of information… That’s almost 2 DVDs worth.  For comparison, let’s give Quicken the benefit of the doubt and assume that what it downloaded was a full megabyte (that’s a gross over-estimate).  With my data connection, that should take 6.25 seconds… Let’s even grant it a ridiculous 10 seconds of delay for each bank it needs to connect to and another ridiculous 10 seconds for each account.  With my setup, that’s 4 banks and 7 accounts.  So that’s an extra 110 seconds we’re granting to it, plus the 6.25 seconds for the actual 1 megabyte of actual data makes 116.5 seconds as an unreasonably high allowance… about 2 minutes, yet it’s taking it 11 minutes!
  • 1st download NEVER works: [added this entry on 2011-04-16] This goes along with the super slow downloads mentioned above.  At the same moment the slow downloads happened, this new bug happened.  After waiting several minutes on the downloads, it never works and pops up the download window again, forcing you to go through the process a second time.  It’s only after the SECOND download attempt that anything ever gets transmitted.
  • Sometimes, accepting a downloaded transaction causes Quicken 2010 to crash.  First though, when clicking the “Accept” button, the register flickers for about 1000 milliseconds (about 1 full second), then the program crashes (this is on Windows 7 Ultimate with all the latest service updates).  Quicken version = Quicken Home & Business 2010 Release 5.
  • No Sound:  Quicken has several sounds for different events like startup (a short tune), accept transaction (cha-ching), and others.  All of a sudden, Quicken 2009 (yes, 2009) stopped playing sounds.  Yes, the play sounds option is indeed checked and yes, sound works in all other programs (this is not my first time messing with a computer, BTW :)  I upgraded to Quicken 2010 at the first of the year.  The upgrade involved uninstalling Quicken 2009, then freshly installing 2010.  The sounds worked… for about a week or two, then they stopped again.
  • File corruption:  This is a serious issue.  EVERY TIME I call Quicken support with a problem, they claim the file is corrupt.  This seems to be their excuse for all bugs in the software.  They want to dismiss any issue as a bug and claim it’s a corrupt file.  Fine, it’s a corrupt file.  Now, fix Quicken so it STOPS CORRUPTING my files!  This has been going on through at least 3 versions of Quicken (2007, 2009, 2010 (I skipped 2008)).  A bug this serious requires a complete rewrite of their file access data layer routines.
  • Renaming Rules: This is quite an annoying bug. I personally do not want Quicken to rename my payees, yet there seems to be NO WAY to prevent Quicken from doing so. I participated in 3 online tech support chats and 2 call-back phone support incidents in the last week. NONE of their suggestions worked AND they refuse to accept that this is a bug. Here’s the problem: When you download transactions using PC Banking, then go and accept your transactions, Quicken will suggest renaming rules… actually, it will DICTATE renaming rules. You cannot tell it “No”. Furthermore, the dialog box that pops up informing you of the new dictatorial renaming rules being forced on you, has a check box that says something like “don’t inform me of renaming rules again”. There are 2 problems with this.
    1. I believe that checking it only causes Quicken to not inform you of new renaming rules, but it’ll still make new renaming rules.
    2. You only have 2 buttons “Apply” and “Cancel”. If you click “Apply”, it’ll apply the rule(s) that it’s showing you. I think that’s the only way to enforce the checkbox for “don’t tell me anymore”. If you click “cancel”, you’re canceling the dialog box and therefore canceling your check box “don’t tell me anymore” which means it’ll continue to tell you. Also, canceling the dialog box does not prevent it from enforcing the rule.
    • This has been a bug since at least Quicken 2007. image
    • I’ve reported this problem at least a dozen times to Quicken support since 2007.  It wasn’t until early to mid 2009 that they finally acknowledged that this was a bug and I was told that this was being fixed.  Well, many Quicken 2009 updates later AND a major new version (2010), this bug still remains.
    • Update (2011-01-29):  After building a new machine, installing Windows 7 Ultimate, and installing Quicken 2010…  Below is my bug report to Intuit:
      • I’m on tech support with Pankaj right now who is directing me to enter the bug report here.  Note that I’ve been reporting this since Quicken 2007 and nothing has been done about it.
      • Bug:  “Renaming Rules” always apply.
      • When installing and setting up Quicken, I told it to NOT use renaming rules (it’s really important that I’m able to distinguish between the different walmart stores I shop at and not have them all renamed to “walmart”, losing all info about WHICH walmart (same for any other chain store with multiple locations).
      • When I downloaded transactions, automatically added them to my register.  Fine.  But after a few weeks of using my fresh install of Quicken 2010, it stopped showing transactions as cleared and my paycheck didn’t show up, so I went to edit->preferences->downloaded transactions.
        I unchecked “Automatically add downloaded transactions to register”.  I did pay VERY CLOSE attention to the 3 check boxes relating to renaming rules.  The 1st and last checkboxes were UNCHECKED and the middle one was checked (but disabled).  I changed nothing relating to renaming rules.  I clicked OK.
      • Immediately, the downloaded transactions showed up in a list at the bottom of the screen (this is good).  When I clicked on the first one and clicked “Accept”, a box popped up “Quicken has created a renaming rule for USAA”?!?!?!?!?  WHY?  This is a BUG!  There was no option to tell it “NO”.  I was on tech support and he told me to click “OK” and that it wouldn’t apply the rule.  We went back into quicken preferences and the 3 check boxes for renaming WERE ALL CHECKED!
      • We unchecked them, clicked OK and went back to the downloaded transactions at the bottom of the screen and accepted the next one which did not pop up with renaming rules.  BUT, with Quicken 2007 AND with my prior machine with Quicken 2010, this always happens again after my next download.
      • Again, I’ve been complaining about this since Quicken 2007 when this feature was introduced.  It’s NEVER worked right for people that doe NOT want renaming rules.
      • Please see my blog post where I discuss this bug as well as many other Quicken 2010 and 2009 bugs:
      • http://csharpner.blogspot.com/2010/02/quicken-2010-bugs.html
      • Check out the comments at the bottom of the blog entry.  Clearly this is a bug that many people have been frustrated with since 2007.
    • Update (2011-05-24):  This bug just reared it’s ugly head again!  I’ve not changed ANY preference, yet I was just prompted for renaming “Wendys”:image
      • Again, there’s no way to tell it no as clicking the “Don’t offer to rename my payees again” and then clicking “cancel” (so that it won’t rename) will ignore my option on the check box, since that’s what “cancel” buttons do.
      • This time, it didn’t force the renaming rule, but it should never have suggested it at all.
      • Here are my renaming preferences as they existed immediately after clicking “cancel” in the dialog above:image
      • And here are the existing rules (there should be NONE!):
      • image

See also

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