App Review: Simple Checkbook!

Despite all the benefits of using cloud-based personal finance apps, such as syncing information across devices and pulling data directly from financial institutions, some people still prefer a more old-fashioned and manual approach to managing their money. Simple Checkbook (Paid, US$ 0.99) is an Android app that caters to this crowd. It’s a straightforward app, with no account sign-up and no integrations with your banking data, that lets you add income and expense line items either as they occur or on specific dates.

What you don’t get from offline finance apps such as Simple Checkbook are the conveniences of automated expense logging and having those expenses appear on all your various devices (tablet, smartphone, online account, etc.). Simple Checkbook comes with all the right tools for basic money management though it doesn’t have anything to help you create budgets or savings plans.

I don’t want to get hung up too much on Simple Checkbook’s visual design, but it’s kind of homely. I’m a big believer in the concept that good-looking apps are better to use than ugly ones because we enjoy using them. Checkbook isn’t hideous, but a fresh coat of paint would go a long way toward improving the overall experience. Simple Checkbook uses the Material Design at some places but lacks its complete implementation. The graphics used in Simple Checkbook are minimal. The new icon is cleverly patterned after ledger paper, and that’s the only one of the obvious graphics used in the app. The overall look and feel is clean and contemporary and to add anything would be unnecessary clutter. The “Confirm” and the “Cancel” buttons’ placement is inconvenient, it’s too easy to accidentally cancel the transaction instead of saving it. Placing cancel button elsewhere, will be more intuitive.

There are many Checkbook apps, which perform the same function as the Simple Checkbook, but what sets Simple Checkbook aside is the option to set a color code for every transaction. You can switch colors of a whole group, or, manually change the color. The pie charting and line plotting options, help you to easily analyze your income and expenses over a specified period of time. View checkbook breakdown in a simple pie chart or view checkbook entries as most recent first or oldest first. Users can associate a simple label with each color to further detail your checkbook transactions. Toggle check-boxes to confirm deposits and withdrawals. Instantly swap color entries in the checkbook with the color swap tool. For exporting purposes, users can e-mail your checkbook data as a .csv file to themselves. For privacy purposes, Simple Checkbook does not ask for internet, account, passwords, emails and does not feature location data tracking. The developer claims, no rounding errors as seen in other checkbook apps and says, ‘Simple Checkbook uses a simple algorithm to ignore floating point operations.’

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Simple Checkbook is a stable app. It ran reliably throughout the review period.  The bargain price of 99 cents makes this app a real value. It does exactly what is says it does in a simple, approachable manner.  Simple Checkbook does a very good job of tracking your cash ebb and flow. Whether that’s monitoring your pocket change, PayPal account, or checking or savings account, as long as you are sure to add each transaction in a timely manner, you’ll always know how much you do or don’t have. The addition of a few features and smoothing a couple of interface hiccups will polish this app to a high sheen.

PROS

  1. Straightforward ledger for personal finance.
  2. Good selection of tools.
  3. Can add and edit spending/income categories.
  4. Multiple accounts are easily accessible.
  5. Colors.

CONS {.summary}

  1. No budgeting tools.
  2. No interest rate calculators or advice for reducing payments.
  3. Cannot sync info across devices.
  4. Homely design.
  5. Lacks passcode option.
  6. Only US$ supported.

BOTTOM LINE {.summary}

If you’re looking for an Android app to manually reconcile your checkbook and other financial accounts, the Simple Checkbook is a straightforward option. It won’t wow you with amazing features or design, but it will help you keep an eye on your income and expenses. As claimed, Simple Checkbook is indeed the fastest, simplest, most colorful checkbook on Google Play!

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