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Softline Pastel, a trusted name in South African accounting software is launching a new online play. For those that remain circumspect of online finance management tools — for whatever reason — Pastel’s cachet could do well to galvanise interest.
Like its competitors Pastel My Money allows you to manage transactions and track spending on your various bank accounts. The service can import bank statements from an unlimited number of internet bank and credit card accounts. Each profile allows up to three users and three households at no cost. For a monthly fee “equivalent to one cappuccino”, Pastel My Money will update and automatically refresh the account daily with any new online banking transactions. Statements can also be imported manually and allows for individual transactions to be entered as well.
With Pastel My Money you have the ability to automatically attach till slips to a transaction by taking a photo with a smartphone, or by scanning slips onto a computer. Insurance also becomes easier as the details of household contents can be recorded on the program, including where they were purchased, the purchase price, the replacement value and a photograph of each item.
The service supports custom expense categories so that every time a transaction is captured, it is automatically assigned to a category — this function makes it easier to track and analyse expenses. A budget can also be created based on a user’s past spending which can then be compared to actual spending.
Pastel My Money provides an overview of all bank balances, transactions, and spending habits. Spending categories and groups can tell the user whether they are spending money on essentials or splashing out on unnecessary items. This can be generated into a report tracking income versus expenses over time, which can be printed or emailed.
Softline says that data is backed up daily, encrypted and stored in a managed hosted environment. If you’re interested in automatic statement importing however, the service notes that “Pastel My Money does not currently support multi-factor authentication bank accounts. These bank accounts require additional one-time authentication in the form of a security email, SMS or security token on top of your user credentials to access your internet banking website.” Banks such as Capitec and Investec are therefore not supported.
Pastel My Money was developed in response to challenging economic times. “Initially we wanted to develop a piece of software to help our clients manage their personal finances. But because we’ve all been through the wringer and need as much help with our money management as we can get, Pastel has decided to make the program available to everyone,” says Steven Cohen, managing director of Softline Pastel.