It’s hard to take on the entrenched incumbent Mint when it comes to delivering personalized financial management tools (just ask Wesabe), but Adaptu thinks it has found a niche where it can compete. With today’s launch of Adaptu’s mobile wallet, the company is focusing on a few differentiating factors, including its predictive analysis of cash flow, tools to help prevent overspending and support for other types of cards, like your insurance card, rewards cards and business cards, for example.
The end result is a fairly decent competitor to Mint’s mobile solution, which complements Adaptu’s online money management service at Adaptu.com, a wholly owned subsidiary of StanCorp Financial Group, launched at the beginning of the year.
Like Mint, Adaptu can track your accounts including your checking, savings, credit cards, investments, loans and mortgages. But for consumers, one of Adaptu’s key features is the app’s ability to tell you – on the spot – if you can afford to buy something. This goes a bit beyond Mint’s budgeting feature because it looks at current and past spending trends in order to predict your future cash flow. This way, you’re able to see how a purchase would impact your monthly spending goals. The app is also able to track your bills and utilities, so it has a full picture of your cash flow situation from month-to-month.
In some ways, what Adaptu does is similar to HelloWallet’s “spending guidance” feature in its own newly launched iPhone app – a feature that tells you how much you have left to spend at that moment within a given budget category. However, HelloWallet isn’t a consumer-targeted service. It’s sold to enterprise customers. Still, given both companies’ emphasis on spending guidance, there are hints that this may be an area where Mint falls a little short.
The other big differentiator from competitors’ mobile wallet/mobile financial solutions is Adaptu’s ability to mimic a real wallet, thanks to its ability to host your business cards, insurance cards and business reward cards. To use this feature, you snap a photo of the card in question and add notes if need be. Everything is secured in the mobile wallet via a complex password and PIN, plus bank-grade security.
Overall, Mint seems to have a better user interface and design, but that’s a matter of personal preference. Adaptu’s (purposely) hand-drawn logo and the design of its financial analysis charts come across a little juvenile, when I think it was going for “user-friendly” instead. Pet peeves, perhaps, but I still want my bank-related apps to look like something a grown-up would use. Your opinion may vary.
But the sum of Adaptu’s features make it an interesting alternative to Mint for those who want more focus on cash flow details, financial planning and spending help. Mint, however, still leads in terms of number of banks, cards and accounts supported and the richness of its tools.
Adaptu is a free download for iPhone, available here and does not include a monthly fee.