picture of man taking cash out of his wallet while in front of laptop

For a lot of us, smartphones have replaced a lot of gadgets we used to use. It’s a camera, a music and video player, a gaming device, and even something as simple as a flashlight. You’ve saved a lot of money by getting a smartphone instead of all those devices, but can it manage other expenses as well? As the saying goes, if a feature isn’t already built in, there’s probably an app for it. So, of course you can! Here are some of the best money manager apps in India.


How they work

You may understandably be a bit hesitant about giving access to your bank account to a third-party app, so let’s take a look at exactly how these apps work before diving into what the best money manager apps in India are.

Don’t worry, you won’t have to log in to your online banking in any way, or provide sensitive information like your net banking ID or password (and you should NEVER share that with anyone). If an app other than an official bank app asks for that info, stay as far away from it as possible. These apps require access to the SMS app and build your profile and expense reports from any business or service SMS you receive.

Editor's Pick

Since it’s mandatory to have a mobile phone linked to your bank account and you always get these messages, the reports are pretty accurate. You also have to log in to these money manager apps with a phone number or email address. These don’t have to be linked to your bank account though, since the money manager uses your SMS app and nothing else.

Granted, this isn’t a perfect solution and some expenses may fall through the cracks. When I was traveling outside India last month and using a different phone number, I wasn’t receiving any transaction messages because my bank cards are linked to my Indian phone number. Luckily, all these apps let you manually add expenses too.


FinArt

FinArt is the simplest app on this list. If you are looking for a quick and easy way to keep a track of your expenses with no additional bells and whistles, this is one of the best money manager apps in India you can get.

After downloading the app and logging in, all your expense information is available on the first page. The expenses are sorted into various categories like travel, bills, dining, shopping, and more, and showcased in handy pie or bar charts. The pie chart breaks the info down based on percentages, while the bar chart tells you exactly you much you’ve spent across the different categories. Tapping on a category gives you a list of individual expenses.

Below the chart, a graph shows you the total monthly expenses for the last six months. Tap on the large plus icon in between them to manually add an expense, which is ideal for cash transactions or things you may not have received an SMS for. The alarm icon at the top houses all your bills — paid and upcoming — and the icon next to it opens the budget dashboard. This lets you set an overall monthly budget, as well as limits for individual category transactions.

The hamburger menu is where you’ll find the Settings page. Apart from changing the settings, you can also make a backup of the info, which will be necessary when you switch to a new phone (unless you back up your SMS as well). Other settings include the ability to exclude certain accounts, set up and sync the app with family members, and enable a privacy mode. The Account Balance section in the hamburger menu lets you know how much cash you have available across various accounts like PayTM, Amazon Pay, and other services you may have signed up for.

FinArt is an extremely useful app to stay on top of all your expenses and set budget limits for future transactions. The free version provides basic information like the expense charts and graphs, upcoming bills, and the budget dashboard. For most, the free version of the app should be more than enough to keep track of your expenditure.

The premium subscription costs 499 rupees (~$7.25) a year. This allows for an ad-free experience, lets you keep a backup on Google Drive instead of third-party servers, and lets you sync data across multiple accounts and devices.


Walnut

The Walnut app provides a lot more information than FinArt, and a few of its extra features that make it one of the best money manager apps in India. If you’re looking for more than just a simple breakdown of your expenses, this is the app for you.

On the front page of the app you’ll find your total expenditure for the month up top, along with short summaries of your most recent expenses, a reminder of upcoming bills and payments, and the accounts and cards that are linked to your phone number. Like FinArt, the Walnut app gets this information by accessing the SMS app on your phone, and no sensitive bank information is required.

Tapping on the pie icon opens up a pie chart with a percentage breakdown of your monthly expenses across different categories like travel, food, bills, shopping, entertainment, and more. You also see a list of exactly how much you’ve spent. You can find a merchant-based list in the Merchants tab, while the Spends tab just lists the most recent expenses. Apart from the monthly expenditure amount, you will also find a daily average up top, and you can easily set a budget from this page as well.

Tapping on the bar icon on the main page (next to the pie chart icon) gives you the total expenditures on a daily basis, and per month for six months, a year, or all time. The plus icon at the bottom left of the main page lets you manually add cash expenses. In fact, the app doesn’t count cash withdrawals when creating your expenditure report, with the assumption that this is something that will be manually added, to avoid duplicates.

Tapping anywhere at the bottom of the app, next to the plus icon, opens up one of the extremely useful additional features that are available. Apart from keeping a track of your expenses, the Walnut app also lets you split bills with friends, and even pay or request payment via the app. Money transfers are done using BHIM UPI, so you will need to have a virtual payment address set up. Any transaction is automatically updated in the expense report as well.

The Settings page is available via the profile icon at the top right of the main page. Apart from app preferences, you can also look at a weekly expense summary, recurring spends (like rent), and email statements.

Another very useful feature that shouldn’t be tucked away in the Settings menu is the Active ATMs Around section. While getting cash from an ATM isn’t nearly as much of a hassle as it was a year or so ago when demonetization was at its peak, it’s still great to have a map of ATMs available that have cash in them. The information is reported by users of the Walnut app.

Finally, there’s Walnut Prime, but unlike what its name would suggest, this isn’t a premium subscription to use the app or unlock features. Instead, you get access to a credit line of up to 5 lakh rupees (~$7260), with EMI plans between three and 36 months for repayment. Of course, you will have to submit your PAN card information to check eligibility and the credit limit available to you.


ETMoney

ETMoney is the country’s highest rated personal finance app, so it’s no surprise that it is on a list of the best money manager apps in India. Unlike FinArt and Walnut, ETMoney does a lot more than a simple expense tracker and can truly be the one and only app to cover all your finance tracking needs.

However, to start with, let’s look at the expense tracking features the app offers. Tapping on Spends takes you to the expense tracker. Your monthly expenses are sorted into various categories like Eating Out, Shopping, ATM Withdrawal, Entertainment, and more. Tapping on an individual category provides a more detailed breakdown of expenses in that category. You can also sort through your expenses based on merchants or accounts linked to the app.

The graph icon at the top right corner opens a weekly expenditure report with the total daily expenses listed. Tapping on Know More gives even more detail — you can see your expenses on weekdays and over the weekend, along with the top categories, merchants, and accounts.

ETMoney is great for detailed daily, weekly, and monthly reports, but if you’re hoping to track spending trends over a longer period of time, like six months to a year, this app isn’t for you. The Bill Calendar lets you know about all the pending bills due or delayed.

However, expense tracking is only one facet of its money managing features. The app actively encourages saving with SmartDeposit, which lets you set up one-time or recurring deposits with the Reliance Liquid Fund Direct-Growth. You can start with a deposit of as low as 500 rupees (~$7.26) and there’s a promise of better returns when compared to just keeping the money in your savings account. Often, knowing where to keep your savings is the biggest issue, and ETMoney takes the guesswork out of the equation.

If you’re looking to diversify your portfolio and want more investment options, ETMoney provides an excellent mutual fund guide. Categories include Tax Saver, Aggressive funds, Safe funds, and even more detailed categories like Best Large Cap funds, Top Rated Multi-Cap funds, and a whole lot more. Not only do you have all the research — market trends, fund performance, and more — at your fingertips, but you can invest in funds you’ve selected directly from the app.

If you’re in a bit of a crunch, ETMoney also provides Personal Loans. Pending eligibility, you can borrow any amount up to 20 lakhs (~$29,032) with ETMoney’s LoanPass (for small loans) and Personal Loan (for larger amounts). You can also buy health, life, car, and two-wheeler insurance and also invest in gold deposits directly from the app.

There are a slew of finance management apps on the Google Play Store. Some are expense trackers. Others help with investments. Many offer loan and insurance services. ETMoney brings all that together. It’s a one-stop solution provider for all your financial needs.


Which is the right money manager for you?

All three apps are some of the best money manager apps in India right now. It ultimately comes down to how much they can do. FinArt and Walnut are fantastic expense trackers. The former is the simpler of the two though and requires a subscription to unlock all its features, and the latter comes with additional features like money transfers, bill splitting, and an option to get a credit line.

ETMoney offers really detailed daily and weekly reports, but isn’t much help if you want to track long term spending trends. However, if you want a single app for all, and I do mean all, your financial needs, ETMoney is the way to go. From mutual fund and gold investments, to getting personal loans and insurance, ETMoney lets you do everything.

What money manager app do you use? Are there others that deserve to be on this list? Let us know in the comments section below!

Comments
Read comments