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Category: PERSONAL FINANCE, Personal Wealth


Money Management - Is it right for me?
Written by Tapfuma Mvere
20 June 2012

Financial start-up 22seven recently announced that as of May 10th, it was finally leaving the beta stage and becoming a fully fledged product. This brings another player offering online money management services onto the market.

Financial management itself is not a revolutionary concept.  We have all at some point put pen to paper to write out a semblance of a budget and for the more advanced users reconciled the monthly income and expenses. Mint.com was one of the pioneers in automating this process and taking it to the masses.

The key features of a financial management tool are to track expenses of a user over a given time period and allocating those expenses to a pre-defined budget. User transactions are tracked either by connecting directly to the users bank account or by manually entering individual transactions or through a file upload. The aggregated transactions will then give the user a single view of how money was spent through various graphs and charts.

Obvious concerns relating to information security are raised where tools of this nature are discussed. The paranoid user might think twice before giving a third party what appears to be carte blanche with their financial activities. Certain financial management tools interface directly with your bank account and require you to furnish your login credentials to a third party. An obvious no-no as stated in most banking "terms and conditions".  However companies like Yoddle and Intuit exist solely to guard private information, and most financial management tools use their services to store banking information.

In this article we take a look at some of the options available on the South African market.


22Seven

The new kid on the block, 22seven, officially launched on the 10th of May 2012 as a subscription based financial management service. For R70 a month, you will receive a variety of ways in which to visualise how you've been spending your hard earned cash, all categorised neatly for ease of consumption. So if you've been splurging on Happy Meals instead of carrot sticks, if your waist line doesn't tell you, 22seven surely will. The design of the site itself is very slick and intuitive. 22seven interfaces with all the big four banks, as well as a number of smaller financial institutions. Users will have to provide their online banking credentials during setup.  It follows that if one bank statement is what you're after, this is just for you. For those that are less willing to part with R70, 22seven offer a 30 day free trial in which they promise to convince your R70 would be well spent.


MoneySmart

This Cape Town based start-up provides an online application to manage your money. Although still in beta, MoneySmart will offer both free and premium services to their users once fully launched. As stated in their logo, MoneySmart wants to shift financial control back to users. They will provide users with an aggregated view of all their finances, giving an all-in-one view of a user’s current spending.  The online application also boasts an intelligent back-end engine to assist users in determining budgeting strategies while learning user spending patterns. MoneySmart's goal is to demystify the world of finance by doing all the heavy lifting in the background while giving users back their financial control.

Your data is uploaded manually via bank statements from all the major financial institutions, so there is no need to disclosing your online banking credentials. In our lab trial we found a fair bit of categorisation of transactions has to be done for first time users. Once completed however, the app delivers as promised, providing comprehensive graphs of financial data

MoneySmart also boasts a community of financial experts that interact with users of the app. Pertinent financial advice is doled out in articles and their experts are on hand to offer more personalised advice, for a fee of course.


 ExpenZa

Apposition Consulting provide a novel way of tracking your expenses. They developed an app, available on your android more recently on Blackberry device. This app manages your expenses by intercepting SMS message from your bank. When you receive an SMS from your bank, the expense is immediately added to the expense tracker. Transactions can also be added manually, as we are still truly far from being a cashless society.

Initial tests on the Blackberry scored top marks – this is an easy to use app that has a lot of potential. Surprisingly there is no iPhone version of the app available as yet, but the techies at Apposition Consulting are hard at work to rectify that.


 

Honourable mentions go to the following financial management tools also on the market:

  • Mymoolah
  • 6cents

 


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