When the words “financial management” come into mind, I’m sure you aren’t thinking about a fun way to spend your Saturday night. That must be because you haven’t given Cha-Ching from Midnight Apps a shot. Cha-Ching, available on both the Mac and iPhone/iPod Touch platforms. allows you to log your daily transactions, make and keep track of different bank accounts and helps you plan and stick to a budget.
Currently, the Mac version of the software is in its last stages of beta testing before its big 2.0 release. This means that you might run into some slight issues regarding features that have yet to be enabled but are sure to be included in the update. With that in mind, let’s jump right in!
Installing Cha-Ching is a snitch, and once you get past the splash screen, you will be ushered right into an empty database. The application is tastefully designed, with easy options to add accounts and view your transactions in a variety of ways.
This includes a iTunes like cover-flow view, which is great if you spend the time to add photos to each of the payments your make.
Cha-Ching also can help you manage tasks related to your finances,the scheduling of transactions (like your paycheck or electric bill) and all the different people who handle your money, known in this app as Payees. These features also translate over to the iPhone application, allowing you to view upcoming scheduled transaction and manage your Payees.
Adding and Editing Transactions
When adding a transaction, either on-the-go or in front of your Mac, Cha-ching pushes you to use the title of the transaction to describe who the money is coming or going to. Additionally, it leaves a space for a note about the payment, which is helpful in organizing. Categories and tags are also used to help keep everything structured and searchable.
On-the-go, adding a new transaction required a preset Payee, which can be found either through a searchable contacts list, by a favorites list or by locating nearby Payee.
Setting their location must be done on the iPhone/iPod Touch application and does not reflect the address information in the main Mac app, nor does it synchronize with the Mac application in any way.
All transactions are also either classified as Pending or Reconciled. This relates to whether the money has been transfered out of your account, or has been cleared on your charge card.
In this beta’s current state, there is no budget syncing between the mobile edition of Cha-Ching and the desktop application. However, you can set the application up to the point where transactions with certain tags will automatically become sorted into your budget of choice.
I personally prefer the category based organization in the mobile version compared to the tag based organization in the desktop application. Also, the mobile edition includes an overall budget which is not automatically set up in the desktop application.
The differences between these two version can become confusing, and I would hope that this feature would be adjusted before the program exits beta.
Security and More
Cha-Ching offers a password protection system that is required to open the financial transaction database. The mobile version of the application is similar, requiring a 4 digit passcode before allowing access to your financial data.
Synchronization between the iPhone/iPod Touch application is done only over Wifi, and currently only manually, however Midnight Apps have promised that automatic syncing is on the way.
Unfortunately, unlike several other applications like MoneyWell and Quicken, you cannot download your transaction data from your bank’s online website. This requires the user to manually enter each transaction, which can become tiresome. However, the application has a built in web browser for access to your bank’s online portal.
Cha-Ching is a simple and well designed application for managing your daily purchases and formulating a monthly budget. However, the current beta does restrict you from being able to use every aspect of the application. My main complaint with the application is the lack of automatic syncing and lack of budget syncing.
What do you think about Cha-Ching? Do you use something else to manage how many 99-cent apps you bought for your iPhone or iPod Touch?