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Review: Cha-Ching

December 11, 2009



IMG_0232 Cha-Ching by Midnight apps is a personal finance management application for the iPhone and iPod touch. The current 1.6 version of the app goes for $2.99 in the App Store. Have you ever thought you have more money than you actually had? Cha-Ching takes the guess work out of managing your money. This app helps you keep a registry of all your transactions across multiple accounts, including your cash. However, does the functionality of this app out way its cost?


IMG_0035 Cha-Ching is chop full of all of the features you would expect from a money management application as well as some innovative features that make using the app a sheer pleasure. Managing multiple accounts is simple with Cha-Ching. When setting up a new account you have the option of setting it up as a savings, credit, online, loan or cash account. Therefore, you can manage all of your accounts in one place. Managing payees is also simple with Cha-Ching. Although payees must be entered manually, you have many ways of finding your payees when logging transactions. You can add frequent payees to a favorites list or use the search option to locate payees quickly. One unexpected but highly intuitive feature is the ability to add location information to your payees. With location information for all of your payees the app can compile a list of payees near you to quickly log your transactions. Each payee falls under a predetermined category or customized categories that add additional functionality to logging your transactions. The scheduler feature is really useful if you have many reoccurring transactions which we all have become come accustom to i.e. rent/mortgage payement, mobile phone bills, app allowance perhaps. This feature helps you keep all of your reoccurring transactions together and you can customize when the app tells you something is due soon.

The Breakdown:

The Good:

The payee management system is intuitive and the overall UI is very clean. Cha-Ching also adds some unexpected, but nice features, like location based payee list and a monthly budgeting system. The budgeting system shows you at anytime how much you have spent in a given category, and how far you have until you reach your budgeted limited.

If you are a mac user there is a free beta release of Cha-Ching as a desktop application. With the desktop application you can sync your transactions. If you are entering your every transaction it is nice to have a way to backup your data. The iPhone does a good job of this but it is far from perfect so the ability to sync to the desktop is very important. The Bad: IMG_0042As mentioned previously, if you are a Mac user you have the ability to sync to the desktop. Unfortunately, that is the only form of syncing this app offers; therefore PC owners are only able to use this as a stand alone application. The lack of this feature diminishes the real world use of the application. Without syncing you can't back up your very important data beyond the application, and task management is limited to your mobile phone. This app also lacks the ability to export data, so working around the sync issue is impossible. For those lucky Mac users beware the beta desktop application is quite glitchy. The Cha-Ching app noticeably doesn't use any of the features of the 3.0 iPhone OS software. This prohibits the app form taking their features to the next level. There is no joint account management because you can not sync between iPhones or iPod touch nor can you email transactions. The lack of push notifications disables the app from notifying you when scheduled transactions need to, or are about to take place; unless you open the app manually.

The Verdict

Cha-Ching is an money management iphone application that would be awe inspiring on the 2.0 iPhone OS. For users who are running the 3.0 iPhone software this app may seem slightly elementary since its missing some of the most basic features like copy and paste. This is quite unfortunate because the UI is highly polished. If you are looking for an app to manage your money purely on your iPhone or iPod touch this app does a good job of that. If you are a Mac users that revels in desktop applications that sync with your device this app may be the one for you. If you do not fall in either of the latter categories I would think twice before buying this app; maybe three times.

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