Look out, Mint: MoneyStrands worthy money management competition

Now that Wesabe is officially closed, many users are looking for an alternative that offers the same flexibility and features -- for many this alternative is, or should be MoneyStrands.

MoneyStrands is a free tool that has helped people manage their money online since it launched in March 2009 -- and in short order has won a Webby award for the best of the web in the banking and bill-pay category. This honor is no surprise when you consider that MoneyStrands offers features you won't find in many competing tools such as Mint.

Like all modern personal finance tools, MoneyStrands can connect to a large number of banking and financial institutions, but unlike most competitors gives users the ability to manually upload their account data. This option is a must-have for those who don't want to give their login info to a third party, or who bank at a smaller bank or credit union that personal finance tools cannot connect to for automatic updates.

MoneyStrands also sets itself apart from the competition because it is designed to make it easy for international and non-English speaking users to use the tool. The MoneyStrands website can be viewed in both English and Spanish with a toggle in the settings and users can choose their preferred currency from a long list. According to MoneyStrands, consumers use the service in 44 countries.

These features supplement the standard account linking and money management that the MoneyStrands tool handles well. Users can view spending and account history in one location as well as compare spending in categories such as shopping, food & dining and more to see how they stack up to the rest of the community. Filters allow you to compare yourself to other members based on age, gender, marital status, education and other variables.

MoneyStrands also has a budgeting tool that tracks spending and sets email alerts when a budget category reaches a certain level so spending can be put in check. The tool is fairly simple and requires users to figure out their own goals, but Atakan Cetinsoy, General Manager of MoneyStrands told WalletPop in a phone interview that an improved budgeting tool that walks users through the process is coming in the next few months.

MoneyStrands is easy to use and offers significant value to users; especially those who can't or don't want to link their accounts directly to a third-party service.

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