The Best Finance App

The best finance app, in my opinion, is Mint.com’s mobile app. Here is a list of its features and finance app alternatives if you prefer to use an app other than Mint.com.

Mint.com (Free)

I have been using mint for a long time now and believe it is the best finance app. Intuit bought this web site a while back so it is very secure, using bank level encryption.

Mint gives you a quick overview of your finances, which you can put on one of your main screens in the form of a widget. The widget will show your current cash amount and your credit debt. It will also show you the last time your information was updated, so you can be sure that you are looking at the most recent information.

Once you set up a monthly budget, you can access it with the app to make sure you are staying on track for the month. Mint is very good at knowing how to categorize your transactions for budgeting purposes and it will let you know if it does not know how to categorize a transaction.

The app automatically gives you alerts for various things, which include the availability of large deposits, what bills will are due in the next few days, etc.

You can get a very general picture of you investments with this app. By that, I mean if you simply want to know the balance of you accounts, you will be happy with this app. If you want to get more information about the performance of specific investments, you will need to go to the website.

To set up this app, I would suggest you log on to the main website to input all of you account information and set your budget. Once that is completed, you simply download the app, log in, and all your accounts are ready to go.

Adaptu Wallet (Currently Free)

Adaptu Wallet has many unique features like tracking loyal programs and creating spending forecasts. The app also allows you to store photos of insurance and business cards, which will decrease the clutter inside your wallet. The app is currently free, but the word on the street is they will start charging for usage sometime in 2012.

Pageonce (Free or $4.99 for Gold version)

Pageonce arguably has the best interface of all the finance apps. Your key account balances are placed in thumbnails that appear on the home screen. Contrary to popular belief, this app does provide PayPal support even though many claim it doesn’t. Balance updates are not as fast as Mint.com or Adaptu, some transactions take days to update. The Gold version has the useful ability to pay bills directly from the app, and this is the only finance app that can do this. The gold version also removes all the ads from your app.

What Stands Behind Capital One Credit Cards and Savings Products?

In the times since the global financial crisis, it has increasingly become a concern as to what the backing of the financial institution that issues your credit card or holds your saving account is. There are a number of laws which regulate the financial system and try to ensure that customers can rely on banks to honour their obligations which can be a particular concern in relation to savings products. Title 12 of the United States Code in part 325 specifies a number of ‘capital adequacy requirements’ in relation to all banks. The aim of these requirements is to force banks to adequately provision of a crisis and ensure that they will remain solvent even if there is a large crisis. Banks must report periodically on their arrangements to show regulators that they are meeting the capital adequacy requirements.

Capital One at the moment is, when measured by asset pool, the 8th largest bank in the United States with balance sheet assets of approximately USD$286bn in 2012. Amongst other distinctions, the company is also one of the largest customers of the United States postal service. Its head office is in Fairfax County Virginia and the current chairman, CEO and President of the company is Richard Fairbank. It is one of the fastest growing banks in American history having been founded in 1988 by the current CEO. Like many banks in the American financial system, Capital One was the recipient of a bail out during the sub prime mortgage crisis of 2007 when it received $3.56bn from the United States Government in exchange for 3,555,199 shares in the company. By the end of 2009, the company had managed to buy the government out of the business.

As well as being involved in credit cards, Capital One has an Auto Finance Division which is a substantial part of the company. An entity known as Capital One 360 is also now in existence having formerly been known as ING Direct on the idea that a bank could perform retail services entirely on the basis of an online model. This division of the company has no branches and only maintains a physical presence in the form of call centres and online processing maintenance facilities. The online bank model seems to achieved some success given that the lower overheads from rent and staff result in lower costs to consumers and therefore a better outcome.

One of the notable characteristic of Capital One is that it appears to have retained an ability to ride out the periodic financial storms which emerge in the world of consumer credit. It has grown consistently throughout good and bad times in consumer finance and continues to grow based on the analysis of its most recent financial data. This history of growth and the ability to ride out financial storms appears to bode well for the credit and savings products of Capital One.

Top 10 iPhone Apps for Personal Finance

There are many applications for the iPhone that give users the ability to make personal financing easier than ever. While solving one pain-in-the-neck issue, it creates another – which app to buy? Because of the popularity of these headache-reducing apps, there is an overwhelming amount of options available in the App Store. Deciphering which app is the best available is almost impossible. Add in the fact that so many aren’t free, and choosing the right one the first time around could save time and money. Before downloading anything, it’s important to know if the functionality of the app (money transferring, budget tracking, etc.) fits your needs. Provided is a list of ten apps including the price and primary function that can make tracking personal finances much easier.

Mint – There are tons of finance apps available that focus on budget tracking. Few are as popular as Mint, which allows users to manage multiple financial accounts from one simple user interface. With user-friendly features and no price tag, there is little wonder why this app has so many users.

Loan Shark – Dealing with loans is never a pleasant experience. The Loan Shark app helps ease some of the pain endured while handling loans without having to pay anything. It simplifies the process of calculating loans by a great deal and also has many features including a full amortization table, a one-tap extra payment option, and a “favorites” feature.

MoneyStrands – This app is another free option for tracking your budget. With features like alerts, analysis, security, and support, it is one to compare to Mint.

PageOnce – Planning long-term investments can be easy to put off. This app also assists in budgeting your current finances like MoneyStrands and Mint, but really excels in planning for the future. It gives you the ability to look at your 401k, IRA, and stocks all at the same time, while not costing you a cent.

Toshl – Toshl incorporates cloud computing into every day financing with this free app. The cloud feature allows users to automatically sync their mobile movements online. Additionally, there is a premium upgrade ($19.95/year) that allows users to export to Excel, PDF, or Google Docs among other features.

MoneyBook – MoneyBook is another addition to the long line of apps for budgeting. This one, however, comes at a price. Promoted as “Finance with Flair,” the app costs $2.99 and is loaded with features to make financing easier.

SplashMoney – At $4.99, what differentiates this from the free apps is its ability to connect wirelessly to most online bank accounts.

Square – The price is right for this free app that makes credit card purchases simpler than ever. By signing up, Square, Inc. will provide a credit card reader that can be attached directly to the iPhone. Once connected, users have the ability to swipe all major credit cards with only a 2.75% charge per swipe.

PayPal – Ebay-owned PayPal provides users a secure, simple way to send or receive money wirelessly.

General Banking – The bulk of major banks have available apps for free. These provide easy-access to any and all bank accounts in a secure fashion.

This is only a small example of the many, many apps that can help make financing easier. With the continuous release of new applications and updates to old ones, banking from your iPhone will continue to simplify; finding the app for doing so may not. This list is a great place to start looking.

For more information about iPhone application development, visit Magenic Technologies who have been providing innovative custom software development to meet unique business challenges for some of the most recognized companies and organizations in the nation.

Be Prepared for the Problems in Used Car Financing With Solutions Before You Start

Financing properly is more important in financing a used car than when buying a new car. Most problems that occur in buying a used car are due to there being a problem connected with the financing. Getting the used car financing worked out properly is the key to a successful used car purchase.

Most buyers aren’t aware of how important the paper work is to making the deal a successful one or a failure. They view it as paperwork that should be completed as quickly as possible so they can drive away in their new car.

To start with, it’s very important to get the deal agreed upon by the salesman to be put in writing in the contract. This often involves determining monthly auto loan payments based on an interest rate. Sometimes, the interest rate a customer qualifies for is inflated so the dealership can make extra profit.

This headache can easily be avoided by obtaining independent vehicle financing before going to the dealership. This means the consumer can proceed as a “cash buyer” and negotiate only the price of the car. Car salesmen prefer customers to be “monthly payment” buyers because, in this way, it is easier to obscure the total cost of the vehicle.

Independent car financing can be obtained from a bank, credit union or on-line lender. With the popularity of the internet, applying for used car refinance is proving to be simple and very easy to do. Many on line lenders respond very quickly – sometimes as short as 15 minutes by email or telephone. If the application is approved, the borrower is given a credit limit at an established interest rate. Sometimes a blank bank check is issued with no obligation to use it.

“For the majority of consumers, even if you know you have good credit, there is a little apprehension and tension around applying,” one lender said. “So instead of going into a dealership and giving them your information and being sent to the coffee machine to wait for an answer, you can apply on-line, 24/7.”

Most people familiar with how used car dealerships operate confirm that obtaining independent car financing is beneficial to most consumers. .

The most common problems that have a negative impact on a person trying to finance a used car –and their solutions – to ensure that things go smoothly are the following:

Problem #1: Many consumers don’t know what their credit rating is when they apply for an auto loan. The strength of their credit score largely determines what kind of interest rate they will receive. Therefore, it’s critical to make sure your credit report is in the best shape possible before shopping for a car.

SOLUTION: Order a copy of your credit report and look for items that may stand in the way of you getting a good rate. Correct any issues or errors promptly. Are all of your lines of credit in good standing? Are there any signs of identity theft? The credit bureaus will tell you how to correct errors when they send you the report. The following numbers and Web site addresses will assist you in checking your credit.

U.S. Jobs in IT Development & Finance Solely Reserved for India

General Motors Corp. announced in late November 2005 that it will close 9 of its United States auto manufacturing plants as well as three assembly-related plants which includes one location in Canada. Ford Motor Co. followed suit in early December 2005 announcing it is considering the shutdown of up to 8 of its U.S. manufacturing plants, including engine and assembly operations, with one in Mexico. Americans are well familiar with the downsizing, outsourcing and offshoring of the U.S. manufacturing base which has seen 2/3 of its jobs lost in the past 20 years, having been traded in for third world cheap labor. And while white-collar workers have hardly been immune from offshoring practices infiltrating boardrooms, indication this week is that the tide has changed.

Both the Intel Corp., the world’s largest computer chip manufacturer, as well as J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., one of the world’s largest financial institutions and 2nd largest in the U.S., are investing in creating new jobs in India over the next few years rather than in the U.S. Different in prior offshoring scenarios, however, is that back-office jobs such as investment banking, software engineering and research and development, previously occupied by American workers, will now originate from India as well.

J.P. Morgan plans to locate 1/3 of its investment banking and support staff in Bangalore, India by the end of 2007. It will double the amount of its employees by hiring 4,500 graduates over the next two years. 3,000 of the new hires will work in investment banking with 1,500 providing support in its retail and commercial banking operations. There are presently 4,500 employees in front-office staff positions in Mumbai, India.

With only 200 on staff in India just two years ago, in order to achieve their latest goal, J.P. Morgan will hire between 300-400 graduates a month in order to have 9,000 total positions in front and back-office positions by 2008, which includes complex derivatives settlements and structured finance transactions. The remaining approximately 4,000 – 4,500 employees J.P. Morgan employs will be divided between Bournemouth, England and New York, NY, although the ratio between both countries was not disclosed.

Similarly, Intel will invest $1.1 billion in India over the next 5 years, with $800 million dedicated specifically for research and development operations and other projects including chip design, also in Bangalore, according to Chairman Craig Barrett. Although Intel will also explore expanding its manufacturing prospects in India, its present investment will largely be for more complex high-value work as opposed to just technical support and call-center jobs, which most IT firms offshore today.

Other firms following this latest trend are Cisco Systems, the world’s largest maker of internet equipment, which announced in October 2005 that it would invest $1.1 billion in India, tripling its work force to more than 4,000 from 1,400 in the next three years. It too will have research and development located in Bangalore. And it is likely that more of the banking industry will soon follow J.P. Morgan’s lead such as Goldman Sachs & Co. which may double its staff to 1,500 in Bangalore.

Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates is expected to invest $400 million in Hyderabad, India where he plans to hire several hundred workers. Gates has been outspoken, with his statement in April 2005, citing that there were not enough U.S. college students majoring in computer science, and thus wants to expand the H1B Visa program, allowing more foreign workers to come to the U.S. But critics believe that Gates and other industry executives are not being honest in their assessments, to wit, the banking industry’s India strategy which is hiring finance graduates and not computer science graduates in expanse of their industry.

In fact, consultants such as Stefan Spohr of AT Kearney estimate that investment banks could raise their staff levels in India to as much as 20% in the next few years. Since salaries in India are 70-80% lower than in the U.S., with total costs about 40% lower than in the U.S., the trend of offshoring will no longer exist. Rather, jobs will now originate from India and totally bypass the U.S.

Disputing the fact that there are not enough quality candidates, for example, in the computing engineering field, is the change in the way in which U.S. engineers are hired. Candidates are not only competing with their peers but also with the fear that they will be replaced by either imported foreign workers or offshore workers, even after they are hired.

Companies are directly contributing to the supposed engineering shortage themselves by requiring that an applicant meet every item on a detailed list of qualifications. Transfer of like-skills is a long lost concept. With approximately 200 responses for every job listing, companies have the luxury to hold out until they get the perfect candidate, as job cuts in technology positions are up 20% in the past year, according to Challenger, Challenger, Gray & Christmas. The unemployment rate for computer programmers and engineers is higher than the national average which does not reflect those who remain unemployed in Silicon Valley as they no longer register for unemployment benefits, nor those who were forced to move on to other careers.

According to Veronique Weill, head of operations at J.P. Morgan’s investment banking division, “The quality of the people we hire is extraordinary and their level of loyalty to the company unbeatable,” when referring to the hiring of employees in India. Funny, but that’s what used to be said about American workers. Perhaps the American worker’s biggest error was requiring a decent wage for quality work done. And others would argue that maybe it was their expecting U.S. companies would prefer them over foreign labor. Tragically, greed, under the guise of a global economy was the error, committed not by U.S. workers but by U.S. CEO’s, and condoned by the U.S. government.

Copyright (c) 2005 Diane M. Grassi

Diane M. Grassi is a freelance columnist, reporting and writing commentary on current events of the day providing honest and often politically incorrect assessments.

From U.S. public policy to Major League Baseball, she is an eclectic thinker, and demanding of her readers to reflect on their own thinking patterns from an alternative perspective. Whether you agree with her or not, Diane M. Grassi will have you coming back to note her opinions, and if at best she wakes you up, then her goal will have been accomplished.