Pocketbook App Review – May 2022

The PocketBook App is the best way to manage your finances by creating one simple view into all your transactions.  Connect your bank accounts and credit cards, create budgets and achieve your financial goals.  Mailbox Moneyman has been using the Pocketbook App for over 2 years and it has honestly been life changing.  Read on and see how it can help you save money, spend smarter and get ahead. 

What Is the Pocketbook App

Pocketbook is a personal finance app designed to empower users to manage their finances simply.  Where most people have multiple bank accounts and credit cards, it is difficult to really manage transactions and keep within a set budget.  Pocketbook creates one view, categorises your transactions and has budgeting features to ensure you keep on track in near-real time.   

Pocketbook was founded in 2012 and was acquired by Zip in 2016, and has since grown to become Australia’s largest personal finance management app with over 800,000 users.  The App keeps evolving, with new features released without disrupting the simplicity of the overall user experience.  The App keeps it all simple and takes the thinking out of budgeting and managing multiple accounts.    

Why I Love the Pocketbook App

Pocketbook is the first personal finance app I ever used and I fell in love instantly.  Having tried to set budgets, track expenses in spreadsheets and even try budgeting using cash in my wallet, it never worked.  I failed every single time.  It was always too much work, too confusing and I would always give up.   

When I first set up Pocketbook, I added my two savings accounts and a credit card account.  And Holy Moly, did I get a fright when I received an honest view into my finances.  Pocketbook categorizes your spending, so I could see how much I spent on “shopping”, “groceries” or “entertainment”.  I saw how much I spent on fast food, and most shockingly, I was spending more than I made every month.  Pocketbook was the cold shower I needed to wake up.  That glorious dose of reality made me snap out of it.  Then I started to cancel memberships to services, watch my spending and be more conscious of what was happening in all my accounts.    I changed the way I paid bills, moved to cheaper credit cards and generally, I saved a heap of money.   

Does MM Recommend the Pocketbook App

I say “Heck Yes”.   
Read on for more insight on why the Pocketbook App completely changed the way I manage my money.   

The 5 Greatest Pocketbook Features

Connect your banks
Connect your bank accounts and credit cards – and it’s easy to do

The Pocketbook App has the right amount of simplicity and features which makes it work beautifully.  It is never overwhelming and if you dig a little deeper, it can provide more information and possibilities to help you on your personal finance journey, regardless of what stage you are in that journey.  Here are my 5 favourite features. 

Pocketbook Creates Financial Visibility

If you really want to take control of your finances, the first step is financial visibility into your spending.  This visibility could lead to a rude awakening.  Like standing naked in front of a mirror after 2 years of lock-down, you could get a shock when you see the reality.  The numbers don’t lie.  And you can’t manage what you can’t measure and quantify.  When you get that dose of financial reality, and see how much money just disappears from your account, then you are ready to do something about it. 

Pocketbook provides everything you need in one App.  The information is organised simply and once you start using the App, the UI is intuitive and self explanatory.  It helps build a financial restraint that may have never existed.  And that visibility will (hopefully) change your behaviour.  You will check your app frequently, keeping an eye on your expenses while that blasé attitude to spending will shrivel up.   

Now you might say, I’m really good with money so I don’t need a special App.  Pocketbook becomes more valuable if you have a partner that likes to spend money.  Maybe you have reformed after your financial reality check via Pocketbook, but your partner loves to spend.  Suddenly, simple budgeting and keeping on track financially is a team event.  As a family, are you eating out too much?  Going out too many times during school holidays?  Is your partner blowing cash because they are home more and they loooove online shopping?  Pocketbook is amazing in reeling in this impulsive spending and brings honesty and visibility to shared accounts.       

Track your money
Keep an eye on your daily transactions – Eassssyyy

Pocketbook Helps You Create and Manage a Budget

Once you set your budget, which is easy to do, looking at the app is addictive.  It almost gamify’s NOT spending as you try to keep within your budget.  At the simplest level, the “Budget” View gives you the two most important numbers to manage your finances.  How much you Spent and how much you Saved for the month.  Those two numbers will drive your behaviour and will let you know if you will achieve your financial goal for the month.   

I was hooked using Pocketbook.  I would log in every day to look at how I was tracking for the month.  If my spending increased, I would look at the transactions to see what bill was paid or what was bought.  This helped me keep on top of my monthly budget goals.  And it did gamify my ability to Save and not spend. 

Category limits are initially created when the app is set up.  These limits create budget amounts for all your specific categories, such as “Transport” or “Health and Beauty”.  This is especially handy for “entertainment” and general “shopping” categories, as these are not essentials and can be managed better than essential bills like bills and mortgage payments which need to be paid. 

Overall, the budgeting set up is simple, and easy to keep track of.  And the ability to dig deeper if there is a discrepancy is great.  If for example, you are surprised that groceries are so high this month, you can easily click into a category and find something is in the wrong category.  This can be easily fixed with a couple of taps/clicks.   

Pocketbook App Plan your budget
This is my favourite screen – Amount Spent Vs Amount Saved for the month

Pocketbook Forecasts Future Spending and Bills

Seeing what you have already spent is half the battle.  Knowing what is coming is also really important.  It’s not unusual to believe you are doing a fantastic job at budgeting for the month and you haven’t realised that you have some huge bills, like Car Insurance or registration coming up this month.  A big bill like that can blow you out of the water.  This is where Pocketbook comes in. 

Pocketbook lets you schedule re-occurring bills by creating a list of all the bills you have paid recently.  Then you can schedule any bill as a reoccurring bill, with an amount and a frequency.  This is great for bills that are the same every month, like school fees, or quarterly rates or phone bills.  The ability to forecast future bills means that amount can be taken into account when looking at your budget.  And it can help make sure you don’t over-spend knowing that you have a few big bills coming up.  This is a fantastic feature if utilised to ensure you are aware of what is coming down to road, so you can plan your spending accordingly. 

Pocketbook Helps You Control Your Monthly Spending

Ultimately, the pocketbook app gives you all the information you need to successfully manage your personal finances.  Create a budget and manage it on a monthly basis.  Essentially, you can treat your incomings and outgoings like a business.  And like a business, your budget and spending should be top of mind.  This can be achieved with Pocketbook without any real hard work.   

Every month is a new adventure in saving.  You need to run your monthly budget like a business.  Coming close to month end, do you need to buy that item?  Can you pay that bill late?  Working in a small business, those month end decisions are crucial.  And that mindset is a great way to think about your finances, which Pocketbook can help with.  Run your personal finances like a business.     

Sometimes, a business will need some more information.  A useful part of the Pocketbook app is the “Explore” tab.  It gives you a snapshot of money in your bank and credit accounts, your recent spending activity and upcoming bills.  This feature isn’t required for daily use to keep on top of your finances, but again, that visibility makes the Pocketbook App the ultimate personal finance app.  It’s simple and it’s all there, if you need it.   

Pocketbook Gives You Simple and Deep Budget Analysis

The Pocketbook App is fantastic for quick budget analysis and financial visibility.  However, the Pocketbook website is also fantastic for deeper analysis.  The “Analyse” section of the website lets you drill down into the data and create line or pie charts of your “spending by category”.  This report will let you put in any timeframe to look at your spending.  Analyse last month’s spending by category.  Did you spend more than you made last month?  Or run a report on last year and analyse how much you spent on groceries.  Or your total spend for the entire year.      

Looking at my own account, I found some interesting numbers like 12% of my annual spend in 2021 was on Groceries.  And there was 209 transactions.  That analysis tells me I averaged 17 trips to the supermarket every month.  That’s around once every 2 days.  How much extraneous stuff did I buy each time?  How much would I save if I went once or twice a week instead?   The same applies for Food and drinks, or any category.  If you like data you can uncover some interesting information and change your behaviour to help improve your spending habits. 

And if you want to go extra deep, you can create a spreadsheet like I have and trend the category data.  From there you can create annual reporting, or create new super-groups with the categories.  For example, I created a simple gauge in a spreadsheet to replicate the Barefoot Investor Buckets which I use to discuss budgets with my wife.  There is also a CSV export which can help automate any reporting if needed.  The basic reporting is great but there is potential to do more, automate and optimise reporting for any data nerd out there. 

Explore your finances
Take a peek at bank balances and upcoming bills – great snapshot of your finances

Some Not-So-Great Features of the Pocketbook App

As much as I love Pocketbook, I can’t be 100% positive.  (unhappy-face) 

Some Outdated Information on the App and Website

Some parts of Pocketbook are out of date, specifically when you use the web interface.  There are references to outdated years, old screen grabs within the website and references to features on the homepage don’t actually exist (Adding Super and investment accounts)  

To the untrained eye, the App could be perceived as being neglected?  With so many budgeting Apps on the market, and Zip destined for world domination, maybe a budget App isn’t a high priority?  The App works great and I love it and use it daily, but I also wonder what else is out there?   

Website Reporting Is Not 100% Accurate

Although I mentioned the great website reporting, I have found that not all the categories are visible for reporting.  So that means the data they are giving you is incorrect if you use any categories outside of what is on the reporting page.  Luckily, I export my data and do my own categorisation and analysis, so it’s not a huge deal.  But if you are going to help people with financial awareness, you would hope the reports would be accurate. I have raised this with Pocketbook Support so I can hope they will fix this minor issue.   

Doesn’t Connect to Every bank

Pocketbook doesn’t have HSBC (my credit card) available to connect for automatic sync.  OK, they have every major bank so this is a minor quibble. And there is a work around if your bank isn’t available. So every week I have to log into HSBC, export a QIF file and import it into Pocketbook.  It takes less than 5 minutes so it’s not a huge deal. Saying that, I have started to look for other credit cards so that I don’t have to import data files for my HSBC card in future.

As you can see, minor issues in the grand scheme of things.  I still use the Pocketbook App almost daily, so my usage speaks for itself. 


The Pocketbook App was a revelation to me when I was crawling out of the financial wreckage I called my life.  It played a big part in re-shaping my spending behaviour and helped me break over 20 years of bad financial habits.  The first step for anyone is visibility but you also need simplicity.  Pocketbook will give you both and it can help you with basic budgeting, or deeper analysis if needed and ultimately, it can help you save money.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Honestly, I love the Pocketbook App and I know others that say it is their favourite mobile phone app.   

Well there is is. I love it. I can recommend it, try it out and see if it works for you.  And if it does, let me know.  And if you want to see some of my fancy Pocketbook spreadsheets, or my Barefoot Investor Pocketbook Sheet, let me know and I could share it. 

Let me know what you think. 

M. Moneyman

Pocketbook App FAQs

 Finally, some quick hit answers to other questions on PocketBook that may interest anyone with serious questions.   

How Can I Set up an Account for Pocketbook?

The initial Pocketbook setup is very simple.  Once you sign up, you connect to your bank accounts and create category limits.  Spending Limits and a monthly budget are generated from recommendations based on income and spending behaviour.  The limits can always be tweaked in future.   

Once that setup is completed, a feed of transactions will appear in your Pocketbook App, and most will be automatically categorised and organised.  Anything that is incorrect can be re-categorised if it is in the wrong category (like a “shopping” item is actually a “groceries” item”.  This is easy to do, and anything that is unknown is set as “uncategorised” and these can be set to a category. 

The whole process takes a few minutes and then all new transactions are automated and syncs with the App.  Very quick and easy. 

Can I Trust the Pocketbook App?

The Pocketbook App is safe as it utilises an Secure Socket Layet (SSL) encrypted connection between your browser and their servers.  Banks provide APIs to Pocketbook for use. A bank would not risk connecting to other applications if it were not safe to do so. And I’m not aware of any data breaches thus far.    

It is understandable that some people would not feel comfortable supplying bank details to an App.  Or to anything that isn’t an actual bank.  But if you are fine with that potential risk (which is minimal), you should give the app a try. 

Does Pocketbook Cost Money?

Pocketbook is free and doesn’t cost a cent.  Pocketbook believes that they empower users to save and spend smarter, and everyone should have access to personal finance management tools.  And they don’t want something like cost to exclude people from accessing a tool that can improve a person’s life.  Which is a great thing. 

Also, Pocketbook probably use that data for their own analysis and feed that into their other product work.  And the old saying of “if something is free, you’re the product” might apply here.   

Is Pocketbook Owned by Zip?

Pocketbook was founded in 2012 in Australia, but it was acquired by Zip in 2016.  As Zip build out a complete suite of finance products in the future, beyond Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL), PocketBook could play more heavily into their future plans.  

I just received an offer to join ZipPay via Pocketbook which I will probably try out.  I’ve had a great experience with Pocketbook and I am willing to try out their other products also.  So I look forward to Zips other products with Crypto and Savings products on the horizon. 

Does Pocketbook Automatically Update?

Your PocketBook account will sync at least once a day.  It looks like it syncs more often throughout the day, and it could be whenever you open the App.  You can also log in via the App and force a sync on any account if needed.  And I have never noticed any discrepancies with my transactions. I believe that the data sync is triggers often and the data is reliable. 

What Banks Are Supported by Pocketbook?

Pocketbook supports over 30 banks with all the big banks available such as ANZ, Westpac, CBA, NAB.  You can also get onto the Pocketbook website and request a bank if it isn’t available (such as HSBC for example).  This is the current list at the moment, from the Pocketbook site.  

28 Degrees 
Arab Bank 
Bank Australia 
The Bank of Melbourne 
Bank of Queensland 
Bank of Sydney 
Bendigo Bank 
Beyond Bank  
Commonwealth Bank 
Defence Bank 
First Option 
G&C Mutual 
Gateway Bank 
Greater Bank 
Heritage Bank 
Hume Bank 
IMB Bank 
ING Direct 
ME Bank 
National Australia Bank 
St George 
Teachers Mutual Bank 

How Good is Pocketbook?

The PocketBook App is the best way to manage your finances by creating one simple view into all your transactions.  Creating Visibility and simplicity to manage your finances.  How good is Pocketbook?  It’s good my friend. Very, very good. 


Financial Failure to Financially Free

As a lifelong financial failure with a young family and deep in debt, I was made redundant 3 times in 2 years and in serious trouble. I had a “Financial Awakening”, I learned about personal finance and gained a financial education to accumulate 7 figures in assets.

My personal goal is to invest in myself, compound my knowledge and build wealth using three simple strategies. Save more money. Make more money. Learn about money. I’m living proof, that through the power of financial education, anyone can achieve financial independence. My sincere hope is that you will be able to learn from my journey and my blog.

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