Finance apps are a dime a dozen on the Play Store. The best ones are expensive and the good ones are slapped with ads that overpower the user experience. Then there’s the additional problem that many of them are not designed for the Indian user. So when I chanced upon an app that was designed by an Indian firm offering an India-centric user experience I had to check it out!
The app in question is Walnut Expense & Bill Tracker. it claims to be a smart digital assistant that works with your SMS Inbox and provides intuitive and smart visual insights into your expenses. The title of the app pretty much sums up its main features – it tracks your expenses, lets you set up a spending limit to manage your expenses, track your bills and set bill reminders so you never miss another due date again.
Getting Started with Walnut Expense & Bill Tracker
When you first launch the app, it analyzes your SMS and displays all your latest spends at the bottom of the screen with a summary chart at the top of the screen. The app claims to only look at messages coming from businesses and banks. It does not analyze personal information or data coming from a 10 digit mobile number.
The app picks up on ATM withdrawals, and debit or credit card swipes as expenses. Net banking transactions are ignored unless clearly earmarked as a particular type of expense. You can also activate the Instant Alerts service while navigating the tutorial screen.
Walnut currently supports the debit and credit cards of a number of major banks including HDFC, AXIS, ICICI, SBI, Citibank, as well as a few merchants including Vodafone, Idea, Airtel, BookmyShow and Ola Cabs. If you find that your bank is not supported, you can send them a message via the Menu section (Biz Messages) in the app.
An Awesome User Experience
The app’s UI is absolutely fantastic with a minimalistic interface displaying everything to need to know about your expenses at a single glance. There are no distracting ads anywhere on the screen. A handy blue button at the bottom of the screen lets you add accounts, bills and cash payments while the search bar and a menu bar icon sits intuitively at the top. The UI is also stylish with eye catching chart colors and attractive icon sets helping you instantly connect with an expense category.
Swipe functionality is well utilized on the app. You can swipe from the left of the screen to access the menu section which holds various views. You can see a summary of your expenses, spends, bills and events, stats and map and offers. You can also configure your account settings from here. Swiping left or right in the Latest Spends section reveals your spends for the previous months.
To get an in-depth view of your spends for the month, you can tap on the bar for the respective month. This will display your expenses as a pie chart with a legend showing you the breakup of expenses.
To keep track of your expenses, as well keep in under control, you can tap on the scale at the bottom of the chart to set your spending limit for the month.
Searching the app for an item is also a breeze. Just tap the Search icon at the top and you will be taken to a screen where you can search by spends, tags, notes, events, and SMS.
CustomizingYour Expense Items
Customizing the expense items on the app is super easy. You can tap on an expense to add a tag, take a note, and include a photo. One feature I particularly liked was the intuitive ability to check the SMS from where the expense was earmarked.
If you found an item to be irrelevant, you could tap the trash button at the top to junk it. If you found an item wrongly categorized as an expense, you can turn off the slider at the top that says “Not an expense”.
You can set your billing cycle for your credit card by tapping on the relevant item in the Latest Spends section and a pop up will open up asking you to set up the billing cycle date.
In my use of the app, I found it to be intuitive and easy to use. It did a pretty good job of tracking my online payments, while still giving me the freedom to turn off items that were incorrectly marked as expenses. (I didn’t have to do anything in that regard, but I did personalize my spends of the month by adding relevant tags.) It also managed to avoid duplicate entries and I was surprised by how quick the analysis was completed.
There were a couple of sections that I found to be irrelevant namely the Offers and Map section, but maybe there will be use for it someday.
Overall, Walnut Expense & Bill Tracker is a really smart app that can make all your expense management a breeze. If you happen to live in India, I do recommend that you try the free app and let us know what you think of it.