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The Top 10 Must-Have Finance Apps for 2012

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Chances are, in addition to losing weight and getting in shape, on your New Year’s resolutions list this year is getting out of debt, increasing your credit score or otherwise improving your financial health.

Among the many tools we have these days to help us get there are a myriad of apps for your iPhone, iPad, Android or Blackberry mobile devices.

How do you choose the best ones when there are thousands to choose from? Here are 10 of the best finance apps to get you started:

1. Mint

This personal finance app puts all your bank, credit card, investment and loan accounts in one place, making it easy to monitor your budgets and spending. You can’t move money around through the app itself: it’s “read-only,” if you will, though you can add cash transactions — a handy on-the-go feature that will help you track where your money goes at all times. Best of all, it’s free.

Available for iPhone, iPad and Android devices.

2.Portfolio Live

This is an excellent app for keeping track of your investments. It pulls data from Yahoo! Finance, CNBC and Google to provide real-time stock prices and news and lets you customize your portfolios and search through your trade history.

There is a “lite” free version, while the paid version costs $5.99, but is currently on sale for $0.99.

3. E*TRADE Mobile Pro

E*TRADE has become indispensable to investors and financial advisers, largely because you can buy and sell stocks with this app from iPhones, iPads, Android and Blackberry mobile phones. The app is free to install, and you’ll get free trades on your iPhone or iPad for the first 60 days, or a free Blackberry or Android phone.

4. CNBC Real-Time

This is a great app for folks who want their financial news on the go. There are other excellent financial news apps out there – Bloomberg Mobile and Yahoo! Finance, to name two – but CNBC Real-Time goes beyond breaking economic news coverage and does a great job covering all markets. And it’s free.

5.TaxCaster

This free app from Turbo Tax estimates your tax refund by looking at your income, retirement savings, charitable contributions and business expenses, among many other things. It is also available online, but a nice option to have it on the go – especially as the new tax season begins January 1.

6. Credit Sesame

The Credit Sesame app is the first and only app that allows you to get your credit score, as well as monthly score updates. Along with free monthly credit score updates, the app also gives you access to your credit, loans, and debt to view and manage in one convenient package. Free score, free advice, and a one-stop credit and debt management tool with no trial periods, no credit card, and no subscription caveats. The service is free, and the app is too. Available for iPhone with an Android version coming soon.

7. ShoeBoxed

This is a great app for those of us who aren’t good about saving receipts we may need later. This is an iPhone, iPad or Android device app, which you use to take a photo of your receipt. ShoeBoxed takes that information and adds it to your expense reports, which can be emailed or exported as CSV, Excel, PDF and XL8 files. It costs $4.99.

8. Wikinvest Portfolio Manager

This free app tracks your entire portfolio — all your investment accounts in one place — and is very user-friendly. Unlike other apps, it doesn’t assume you can make sense of stock data and offers handy charts and news.

9. Pageonce Bills

This free app lets you set reminders to keep you from paying late fees and allows you to track frequent-flyer miles and cell phone minutes and text usage to avoid extra fees. This is a cross-over app with attractive graphics that can be used on iPhone/iPad, Android, Blackberry and Windows devices and can monitor an unlimited number of accounts. The downside: to optimize usage, you’ll have to pay a $0.99 monthly subscription (or $8.99/ year).

10. Expenditure

This budgeting app makes it easy to add new transactions and offers features that few others offer, including letting you include photos and brief notes. It costs $2.99 and includes an extensive foreign currency converter that makes it easy to stay on a budget when traveling.

Just remember: Before you download a finance app, know what you want to accomplish, whether it is online bill paying, stock tracking or debt monitoring. Most importantly, read the app’s security policy before you install it and enter sensitive information; and look for PIN or password protection.

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