A few months ago, NerdWallet went through the painstaking process of selecting 10 personal finance apps that were good enough to be called our favorites. We’re nerds, so as you can imagine, we’re pretty picky about our financial management tools. Expensify, an expense report app for iPhone, Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phone, was good enough to meet our nitpicky specifications. If you’re looking for an easy way to organize your receipts and get reimbursed for your business expenses, they’ve got your back. Sure, Expensify is easy to use, and it lets you track pretty much every purchase under the sun, but as of May 8th, it just got even more useful for traveling. As a company that specializes in both consumer-friendly financial products and travel, we couldn’t help but take notice. We’re here to give you a first look at Expensify Trips, a new Expensify feature that creates real-time travel itineraries from your online receipts.
Online travel booking: easy, but not easy enough
In the tech-savvy 21st century, websites are one of the most popular ways to book travel. You can go to a specialty website like Kayak or Orbitz, and, if you have a travel miles credit card, you can use your credit card rewards mall. Besides not having to get out of bed or wait on the phone while customer service plays awful elevator music, online travel booking is super convenient because all your receipts go straight to your inbox. However, if you’re going on a trip, you’re probably booking enough services to flood your inbox with receipts in 15 minutes. Between your flights, rental cars, and hotels, it can be tricky to remember where you need to be and when. And, if you’re traveling for business, or have a credit card that reimburses travel expenses, like the Capital One Venture, there’s the added step of tracking everything to get your money back. Wouldn’t it be nice to keep track of everything in one place?
Book it online, expense it online
With Expensify Trips, you can do all that and then some. Long story short, it uses your receipt information to create an itinerary on your smartphone that updates as you add information. After you book your travel arrangements online, simply forward your confirmation emails to Expensify’s special email address for receipts. The Trips screen will then sort your travel plans by time and type, and even tell you the most important information like your confirmation numbers. To make sure you’re fully prepared, you’ll receive a “travel update” via email with this information, no later than four hours before your flight. And, once you’re back from your trip, it’s easy to craft an expense report.
The other good stuff: organizing your purchases with the click of a button
If you’re not traveling, or making business-related purchases, Expensify is also useful for tracking expenses related to big events, like weddings, or ongoing tax-deductible expenses, like tuition or medical bills. For those of you not in the know, here are some of the best features. If you’re paying by credit or debit card, simply link it up with your Expensify account to credit IRS-friendly receipts for any purchase you want. Paying by cash or a non-linked payment card? SmartScan allows you to scan your receipts using your cell phone’s camera and send those suckers straight to the recycling bin (after you shred them, of course). With all your information in one place, Expensify then makes it easy to create a spreadsheet that includes purchase categories and comments. You can read about the bells and whistles in complete detail here.
No upgrades required: just download and go
If you already have Expensify installed on your phone, you’re all set. There’s no need to install anything new to use Expensify Trips, and the app is still free for individuals and contractors. There’s no sponsored content, and, unlike most free apps, you don’t even have to deal with pop-up ads. By charging business clients a small fee, Expensify makes enough money to pay their bills. The nerds at NerdWallet recommend visiting your smartphone app store and giving it a look. It’s free, after all. What have you got to lose?