If you're looking for a budgeting app, and one that does it better than just about any other, PocketSmith deserves a closer look.
It doesn't offer some of the add-on features that other budgeting software does (like investment management tools), but it's comprehensive on the budgeting side. It enables you to forecast future account values and accommodates multi-currencies (as well as Bitcoin, gold, and silver in the mix).
What is PocketSmith
Based in New Zealand, PocketSmith was launched in 2008, making it one of the better-established personal finance software apps. You can use it to aggregate and track all your financial accounts on a single platform. By adding your bank accounts, loan accounts, credit cards, and even your investment accounts, you'll always know exactly what's happening with the big picture in your finances as well as the details in each account.
PocketSmith does more than simply keep running totals on your account balances. It also enables you to make projections as to where your accounts will go (as far as 30 years into the future).
In today's complicated world, most people have several accounts spread across multiple banks, lenders, investment accounts, and even retirement accounts. That kind of arrangement can make it very complicated to know exactly where you stand overall at any given moment (let alone keeping track of all the activity). PocketSmith addresses this problem by bringing all your accounts together on one app that allows you to track and make adjustments where necessary.
By having all your accounts together on one platform, you'll gain the ability to change allocations in your budget. For example, you can choose to dedicate more funds to paying off debt, building up savings and investments, or both.
PocketSmith is a cloud-based app, and one of the major advantages – perhaps because it's based in New Zealand – is that you can link accounts from 49 countries around the world, including all major banks in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. This is an important feature in an increasingly global economy where both people and money routinely cross international borders.
PocketSmith offers more features than we can adequately cover in this review, but below are the ones we consider to be the most important for the majority of users.
Live Bank Feeds: This feature is available on the two paid plans. You can connect your account to thousands of financial institutions in 49 countries and have your transactions automatically categorized. Transactions can either be automatically imported, or you can choose to upload them manually.
Multi-currency capability: This may be the most interesting feature of the PocketSmith app, and the one that most sets it apart from the competition. If you have financial assets spread across several countries, the app will be provided automatic currency conversions based on daily exchange rates. All accounts, no matter where they're located, will be converted into your home currency. It even provides extensive exchange rate support for Bitcoin, gold, silver, and other alternative currencies.
Budget forecasting: Once your account balances have been imported (or manually entered) into the app, you can make projections forecasting future values out to anywhere from six months to as along as 30 years. The forecasting will even include interest projections and graphs for visual presentation.
Budget Calendar: This is the heart of the PocketSmith budgeting system. You can create daily, weekly, or monthly budgets, then set up alerts to keep you on track. The app literally displays a calendar giving you a visual presentation of what bills are due and when.
What-if scenarios: This feature enables you to run different scenarios to test outcomes from the very beginning. You'll be able to see the results of increasing debt payments or savings contributions and other strategies.
Income and expense and net worth tracking: You'll finally get a picture of how much money comes in and how much goes out on a regular basis (which will help you to make needed changes). The app can subtract your liabilities from your assets, so it keeps a running total of your net worth (the single most important number in your financial existence).
Advisor access: If you need help managing your finances, you can invite another PocketSmith user to have access to your account and provide direct management.
How PocketSmith Works
“Killer Search Engine”: This is a search feature allowing you to quickly find transactions in a matter of seconds (including older ones).
PocketSmith mobile app: The app is available at The App Store for download on iOS devices (11.0 or later). It's compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. It's also available at Google Play for Android devices (5.0 and up).
PocketSmith security: Bank feeds are delivered through third-party providers Yodlee and Salt Edge (in the UK and EU) and are set in “read-only”. This limits the app to gathering and displaying your information only while not permitting direct access by the app. The app also uses two-factor authentication by sending a code to your mobile device to facilitate logging in.
Customer support: Available by email only. Because the app is based in New Zealand, support is available from 5:00 pm to 1:00 AM Eastern Time. Expect responses to take up to one day.
PocketSmith Pricing & Fees
PocketSmith offers three pricing plans so you can select the one that offers the features you want most and fits within your budget. There’s even a free option.
Basic: This is PocketSmith's free version. It requires manual inputs of your financial information, but it offers 12 budgets for two accounts and up to six months' budget projections.
Premium: This is PocketSmith's mid-level program, and it's available at $9.95 per month. You can lower that to just $7.50 per month by paying $90 annually. This plan offers both automatic and manual transaction importing with automatic bank feeds and categorizations. It also provides unlimited budgets for up to 10 accounts and enables you to make budget projections for up to 10 years.
Super: This is PocketSmith's top of the line plan. It offers all the features of the Premium plan, but it extends to include unlimited accounts and budget projections out to as many as 30 years. The plan is available at $19.95 per month, but you'll save $70 on an annual basis by paying a flat fee of $170 for the whole year.
How to Sign Up with PocketSmith
To sign up with PocketSmith, you'll start by entering your email address, creating a username, then creating and confirming a password. You'll also need to read and acknowledge several disclosures including the Terms of Service and the Refund, Privacy and Cookie policies. Once you do, you can hit “Create My New Account” and get started.
You'll first need to select the plan option you want – Basic, Premium or Super – since that will determine how you'll link your accounts, how many accounts you can link, the number of budgets you can create, and the length of the budget projections you can make. You can also upgrade your plan any time (for example, switching from the Basic plan to the Premium plan, or from the Premium plan to the Super plan, as your finances allow). Conversely, you can also downgrade from one of the paid accounts to the free Basic plan.
For payment purposes, you'll need to pay using either a Visa or MasterCard, and you can cancel your subscription at any time.
You will, then, begin the process of connecting your various financial accounts to the app. PocketSmith connects with more than 12,000 institutions around the world enabling you to import information rather than entering it manually (though on two of the plans you do have the option to do manual entry).
Bank feeds can be added either from the Account Summary or Checklist pages.
When you set up bank feeds you can import up to 90 days of transaction history. Each time the bank feed refreshes, it will search for transactions within the previous 28 days. There's also the capability to start your transaction history from an earlier date (though you'll need to follow special procedures to make that happen).
You can also import accounts and transactions from the following software:
- >Microsoft Money
PocketSmith Pros and Cons
- PocketSmith aggregates all your various financial accounts (including bank accounts, loans, credit cards, and investment accounts) on one platform to give you a complete picture of your entire financial life.
- The app enables you to automatically import transactions up to 90 days old from your various bank accounts.
- You can import data from popular apps including: Mint, Quicken, Microsoft Money, YNAB, Buxfer, Pocketbook and MoneyWiz.
- The Multi-currency capability is a real advantage in a world where, both, people and money regularly cross international borders.
- The Basic plan is free to use, and you can upgrade to a paid plan at any time. Alternatively, you can also lower your plan level either to one that's less expensive or back to the free version.
- PocketSmith does not provide investment monitoring.
- Unlike some of its competitors, PocketSmith doesn't provide the ability to pay bills through the app.
- The Basic plan, while free, provides extremely limited utility.
- Customer support is very limited. PocketSmith can only be reached by email, and since it's located in New Zealand, the contact hours are unconventional for users in the US and Canada.
Should You Sign Up with PocketSmith?
PocketSmith is an excellent choice as a pure budgeting platform. It performs functions no other budgeting app does, particularly the multicurrency feature, that enables you to maintain financial accounts in foreign countries, and track balances in your home currency. With three plan levels, each with its own fee structure, you can choose the plan that will work best within your budget.
The two major negatives with the app are that it doesn't offer a bill paying capability, nor any kind of investment management features. However, if you're looking at the app to mainly aggregate all your financial accounts and provide budgeting capabilities, PocketSmith handles those functions expertly.
Even though customer service is an issue with this app, the Learn Center library of topics is unusually comprehensive. It's likely you'll find answers to whatever questions you have somewhere in that section.
If you'd like more information, or if you'd like to sign up for the app, visit the PocketSmith website.