NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Call it abundance. The Apple Watch already has 3500 apps ready for download, said company CEO Tim Cook on his recent earnings call with Wall Street. Cook put that in perspective. At launch the iPhone had 500 apps ready for download. iPad, at launch, had 1000 by Cook’s count. But know this: a lot of the Apple Watch apps probably are mainly a means of killing time.
Yes, Apple has banned from Apple Watch sound-effect fart apps and also apps that do nothing but tell time. But there are plenty more apps that do not a lot that real users will likely need. And then there are the ones that make you smile in smug knowledge that you invested wisely in Apple Watch, because these are the apps that make you money, at least save you money and also help you spend smartly. Such as?
Here is a collection of six Apple Watch personal finance apps that warrant a hard look.
Citi Mobile - That’s a favorite Apple Watch app of Mike Foguth of Foguth Financial in Howell, Mich. The real plus? You can toggle the app to remain open or allow you to log you in easily with a fast swipe of your fingerprint. The app displays account balances, recent transactions, and also nearby ATMs. Want to make a payment? That’s why you also own an iPhone. It cannot currently be done on an Apple Watch’s constrained screen real estate with the Citi app.
iBank - You don’t bank at Citi? For you, said Foguth, there’s iBank, which will sweep up account info from wherever you bank. He added: “With iBank, you’re also able to see how your investments are doing. Add, edit or delete trades. Monitor gains, losses and ROI. [It's a] great app for budgeting, while consolidating all banking apps into one. This app is the best of both worlds, combining personal banking with market information.”
Stocks - This is a personal favorite of Luis Felipe Rincon, CEO of Wearables.com, a portal dedicated to wearable tech gear. Stocks, he elaborated, is a basic market tracking app for iPhone users and says that “Apple translated it well to the Apple Watch.” This is not the app for stock research, Rincon noted, and neither is the Apple Watch the device for it. But for an investor who wants to be updated about movement of a share, Stocks is a slick pick, he said.
Valpak - Michael Vivio, president of Valpak Direct Marketing Systems, Inc. and Cox Target Media, Inc., said this is an app for the bargain hunter. Set it up, with coupons that interest the wearer, and it will notify you of only those coupons and discounts when you are nearby. Walking by a coffee shop where you have a $1 off coupon for a latte? This app stops you from forgetting the money saving coupons that are yours to redeem.
Discover - Rincon points to this one as another favorite. “Of course this requires you have an account with Discover, but the experience is solid,” he said. A real plus of this app is that it lets you make payments from an Apple Watch, manage and redeem rewards and of course check balances. Users have said the info is presented in a properly digestible format on the small Apple Watch screen.
Chronicle - You sometimes (innocently) forget an upcoming payment? Foguth said this is the app for you. “Chronicle is a bill reminder application," he said. "[It's a] great app that will help your credit score by ensuring you never miss a bill payment again. This app is also helpful by informing you of your spending.”
What apps to avoid? Foguth said that, where finance is concerned, the key is only to download the Watch apps that matter to you, now. Not investing in the stock market at the moment? Avoid all such apps, said Foguth. Ditto for real estate apps such as Trulia and Redfin, which he said are very good but only if you are looking. If you are not, such notifications are a timewaster, period.
Word of advice: If an app isn’t working for you, delete it. No hesitations. The Apple Watch workspace is too small to tolerate bad apps and, more importantly, there now is an avalanche of apps cascading into the Apps Store for the Watch. Didn’t see what you wanted? Check tomorrow. You just may find it. So don’t accept second best when you really want first, not on the Apple Watch.
—Written by Robert McGarvey for MainStreet
This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held TK positions in the stocks mentioned.