Whereas some of the most popular apps designed to help you monitor your finances are web-based (take Mint.com and Pageonce, for instance), Splashmoney takes a different approach. Available as an app for Android, BlackBerry, iOS, Palm, and Windows Mobile (prices vary), it can sync with a desktop application that can do more than either Mint.com or Pageonce, letting you schedule transactions, transfer money, and print reports. That's good news for road warriors who want a list of expenses waiting for them when they return from travel. Still, it's hard to beat free, cloud-based services that can be accessed anywhere, and that have free, cleaner-looking apps to match.
If you're using Splashmoney on a BlackBerry, Windows Mobile or webOS device, iPhone, or iPad, you can just download the app. (Note that while it costs $4.99 for Android and iOS users, it costs a steep $29.95 for BlackBerry, Palm, and Windows Mobile users.) While not required, Android users can also purchase a desktop client (compatible with Macs and PCs) that syncs with their phone over the same Wi-Fi network. In addition to the fact that the desktop software costs $19.95, on top of the $4.99 cost of the app, it's annoying to have to set your phone to Wi-Fi; our Motorola Droid, for one, ran out of battery life sooner than it normally would have.
While easy enough to navigate, the desktop software has an interface that feels dated and crude compared to money manager Mint.com's website. Even more than a facelift, it could use some more automation. For instance, when we synced our credit card account, we had to "approve" every transaction when all we wanted was a list of activity. You also need to enter account and routing numbers yourself. There are some kinds of accounts, such as credit cards, for which you can opt for an "online" setup (it actually takes place within the software, in which you just enter the username and password that you use to access that credit card information on its own site. For banks, though, you'll still need that routing information.
Also, the software is slow to, say, pull up a list of banks. All told, it's much easier to add accounts using Mint and Pageonce's websites. On the plus side, the software adds some functionality that Mint and Pageonce's websites don't offer, such as the ability to transfer funds. Users can also schedule transactions, work with different kinds of currencies, and print reports. As slick as Mint and Pageonce are, it's more about monitoring, not interacting with, your money. As expensive as it is, we can see this app being useful to road warriors who want to have a neat record of their expenses when they return to their desktop computer.
Once you get past the desktop client and move on to the mobile apps, Splashmoney starts to feel more like Mint and Pageonce in that you can manually enter cash transactions and also view balance information in a simple list. To make the interface even more intuitive, though, we would list balances in black and green; right now, they're listed in red, even when you have money and aren't in debt.
While Splashmoney's broad portfolio of mobile apps and its ability to carry out transacations on the desktop differentiates it from popular websites such as Mint and Pageonce, its high price ($4.99 on iOS and Android; $29.95 for BlackBerry, Palm, and Windows Mobile) makes it hard to recommend, as does its relatively crude user interface and clumsy setup.