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Mobile Checkbook 4.0 for BlackBerry Review

MCB35_Bold_Screen0_Crop

I almost never write checks.  I mainly use my debit card and rarely even carry my checkbook with me.  Keeping track of my transactions is very important to me and I found a very simple solution.  I always carry my BlackBerry with me, and Mobile Checkbook by Mobatech has created a simple, yet very effective solution for tracking my accounts.

Description

Mobile Checkbook is a personal checkbook that goes wherever you go.  It not only tracks your checking, it supports an unlimited number of accounts, and many currencies, including US Dollar, Pound Sterling, Euro, Indian Rupee and more.

The Interface

This software is so easy to use that my first reaction was that it was too simplistic.  But I’ve been using it for so long that I’ve come to appreciate and depend on its simplicity.

1

The software comes preloaded with a checking, savings and credit card account.  It’s very easy to rename accounts, add or delete accounts.

AcctManage

Adding a new transaction is very straight forward.  Click your account (checking, savings etc) then choose withdrawal or deposit.

withdrawal

It has become second nature for me to whip out my phone at the counter, pay the cashier and enter my transaction.  I always know what my balance is.  That’s comforting.  Entering transactions takes seconds. 

Features

I have several recurring transactions that I need to track, including paychecks, rent and a car payment.  Those are easy to set up.

recurring1

recurring 

Recurring transactions can be set up for deposits or withdrawals that are weekly, biweekly, monthly, quarterly or annually.  And they can be modified at any time.  That means, if my boss wants to give me a raise it would be easy for me to make that change.

Transaction lists for any of your accounts show all the transactions you have stored.

translist 

Notice the checkmarks in front of some transactions.  Those have been reconciled.  Also, there are two recurring items shown in the screenshot above, for cable and paycheck.

Version 4 brought a wonderful and very needed feature; reconciliation. 

reconcile

You can choose to hide reconciled transactions, and you can purge old transactions as well.  You’ll notice, once you’ve entered many transactions, that the program becomes slow.  BlackBerry’s don’t have the fastest processors, so purging old transactions is helpful.  This doesn’t affect your balance.

Mobile Checkbook also shows you your available balance, cleared balance and the difference between the two.

Want to transfer money between accounts?  No problem.

transfer

Export your transactions in either XLS (Excel) or QIF (Quicken) with ease.  Just enter your email address and send it to yourself.send

Customer Service

In a word; awesome!  I’ve had issues and they have always responded quickly.

Security

Mobile Checkbook 4 allows you to enter a PIN for security.  I have no idea how strong this security is, but then the software doesn’t contain your account numbers or bank names, and you can purge old transactions, so this program is not in need of great security.

What’s Missing?

Mobile Checkbook seems to be the perfect checkbook, doesn’t it?  It’s simple, convenient, and performs the most important functions of a checkbook.  But the tradeoff for simplicity and convenience is that many features are missing.  These include:

No recurring transactions between accounts.  If I want to transfer a set amount of money every week from checking to savings, I must do it manually.

No budgeting. 

Does not connect to your bank account and automatically download transactions.

No importing of transactions.  You must enter an initial balance then enter all your transactions. 

No desktop component to synchronize to.

Limited customization.  I want my check register to be on top and savings to be second, but changing the order of accounts is unavailable.

No backup.  However, I faithfully backup my BlackBerry to my computer every day.

No categories.  Transactions only include date, payee, amount and memo.

No reports.

No search. 

Are these deal breakers?  Not for me.  My fear is that a full featured program would take up a lot of memory and resources.  I have desktop software to do my reporting, download transactions, budget etc.  I appreciate the simplicity and straight-forwardness of Mobile Checkbook.  For me, the BlackBerry screen is too small for viewing reports, graphs and stuff I’d rather do on my desktop.  I would like to see a couple things added to the software, however.  I think Search is an important tool.  And I want to customize my screen.  And finally, I’d like the ability to schedule recurring transactions between accounts.

Price

Normally it’s $9.99, but it’s on sale now for $5.99.

Pros:

Simple

Straight forward interface

Includes the important features but is not bogged down by tons of extras

Allows for very quick transaction input

Great customer service

Low price

Cons:

No scheduled transfers between accounts

No search

Limited customization

Conclusion

Mobatech is always working on a new version.  Version 4 added tons of improvements.  They have created a simple, straight forward program that includes only the most important features most people would want for an on-the-go checkbook.  I highly recommend Mobile Checkbook 4.

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June 16, 2010 - Posted by | Blackberry, Reviews, Software

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