Apps to Keep Bill Due Dates From Sneaking Up on You

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Bills, bills, bills. They always seem to be multiplying, and adding digital devices like smartphones and tablets to our lives only makes the pile bigger. Thankfully, those same smartphones and tablets can also help track and manage all of the bills in one place.

On Apple mobile devices, a simple and useful bill payment reminder app is Bill Tracker. The app's main interface lists your bills in the order they are due, showing the date, amount owed and other data. It is great for telling you at a glance what you need to pay, and its interface is clean and unfussy.

Adding a new bill to the system is as easy as tapping on the "+" button, selecting an account description or creating a new one -- like "utilities" -- and tapping in the details, labeling it as "electricity" or "gas" and so on. Once you've entered this information, you can identify it as a recurring bill, add any notes that you may need to prompt your memory and then save the entry.

The app has a calendar view, and you can also itemize bills and track spending by category. Due date reminders are easy to set and can be programmed to go off several times before a payment is due. When you make a payment on time, you can update the relevant entry and include information like a confirmation number.

The process of entering bill data doesn't eat up much of your time, thanks to the app's clean design. A version of the app with ads is free. A $2 version removes the ads and lets you sync your data among multiple devices.

A similar free app on Android is Bills Reminder from Handy Apps. It also has an unfussy design and simple controls so entering data isn't too laborious. The app lists bills in the order they are due, annotated with the relevant payment details. Recurring bills have a blue icon, and bills with a special note have an orange icon. This feature makes it easy to spot important or one-off bills among more regular ones.

BillMinder, a $2 iOS app, has many of the same features but its interface has more detailed graphics, including prettier lists and reports of paid bills. BillMinder works much as its rivals do, so it also requires a lot of typing from you, but you may prefer its snazzier look and the detailed way it reports on your past payments.

A popular and more full-featured bill payment reminder app is Manilla. It is available free on both iOS and Android. The app feels a little like Bill Tracker thanks to its straightforward interfaces and graphics, but it has more powerful options.

Where Manilla stands out from the crowd is in its ability to connect with many popular American companies and download bill information automatically. And it is easy to use. To start the process with your Verizon cellphone bill, for example, you just enter your login information for Verizon's Web site. The app will download your bill data from the company -- saving you the trouble of typing in a coming bill manually.

To ease concerns about entering sensitive data into the app, which could be seen by someone who gets into your phone, the app is pass code-protected.

For such a nicely designed app, there are some curious weak points, like the limited options for customizing alerts and reminders in the way that even some of the simpler apps allow.

The popular Check app from Pageonce is similar to Manilla, but it includes additional features, like the ability to keep track of your credit cards. While it still acts as a simple bill payment, reminder and organizer app, it can also let you pay bills through your bank account or credit cards.

The app is well designed with a great-looking user interface, but it is very complex. The app does a great job of pulling all your bank and bill data into one place, but if you're the type of person who likes to keep hands-on control over your finances and bills, it may not suit you. Check is free on iOS and Android.

Quick Call Readdle has just overhauled its popular calendar app for iOS devices into a new version, Calendar 5. It now has iPad support and its graphics are in keeping with Apple's new iOS 7 design. The app is powerful and an improvement over Apple's stock Calendar. It's available for $7.

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This article originally appeared in The New York Times.


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