Tech Guide

Five free personal finance apps that can help you take control of your money

Todd Haselton | CNBC

It's time to take control of your financial life.

We dug through the iTunes App Store and picked out five apps that will help you save money, keep an eye on your finances, dip your toes in investing and even make sure your credit is in line.

They're all available for Android and iOS devices, so you'll find support for most smartphones out there. Better yet, they're all free.



Mint has been around for ages and was one of the first great personal finance apps for iPhone. It was acquired by Intuit in 2009 and has only gained in popularity. It lets you add various bank accounts, credit cards, bills (phone, electricity, gas, insurance, loans, mortgage and more) and then provides an overview of your cash on hand, your debt, investments, bills due, and your budget. It also provides a quick glimpse at your spending trends (are you spending all of your money at the bar again?), allowing you to make informed decisions on how to cut back on costs.



Where Mint provides an overview of your cash inflow and outflow, Wally allows you to manage a savings target to make sure you're keeping more in the bank. It allows you to scan in receipts see where you're spending your money and shows insights into your habits.

My favorite part is the home screen, where you can toggle your income and budget, see how much you can spend per day and check out what you've spent money on so far. There are bonus features like iCloud backups, daily reminders and more, too.

CK (Credit Karma)

Credit Karma

It's always important to keep an eye on your credit, especially if you're planning to take out a big loan in the future, like a mortgage. The higher your credit score, the more likely you are to get a lower interest rate. Monitoring your credit is also an excellent way to keep an eye on fraudulent purchases, late payments that may have slipped your mind and more.

Credit Karma's built-in credit monitoring features can send you notifications if anything changes, too. Credit Karma includes a free report that it promises won't ding your credit. You'll need to provide your address, DOB and SSN, though, so keep that in mind.


Acorns app
Source: Acorns

Acorns is a fun way to save money for trading. It allows you to invest spare change from purchases, like your daily cup of coffee, and invest that into stocks and bonds. It's not really targeted at advanced investors, but rather those who are new and want a low-cost way to enter the market. You'll just log-in to your bank account, and choose an account to fund your investments. You'll then choose your employment status, annual income, net worth and decision to invest.

Acorn will choose a portfolio of stocks and bonds that it predicts is the best fit for your investment goals. You can choose to add between $5 and $100 a month or a bulk deposit to kick-start your portfolio and, in the blink of an eye, you're an investor.



Robinhood is a dead-simple investing app that caters to everyone from beginners to experts. You'll fund your account by linking right to a bank. After you have some cash on hand, you'll use the app's gorgeous user interface to search for shares of stocks.

When you find one at a price you're interested in, just tap buy, choose the amount of shares you want and review the order before making a payment. Robinhood's big attraction is its free trading rates for U.S. listed and OTC securities. You'll pay between $10 and $50/trade for other services, such as broker assisted phone trades or if you decide to buy foreign securities.