Developer Robert Chitoiu had long relied on Quicken Online to forecast his bank account balance and make financial decisions. But when Intuit shut down the product, he couldn’t find anything similar that would allow him to create balance projections. The idea for Balance Forecasting was born and he started coding.
“I don’t care about the past; I care about what happens in three months,” Chitoiu said. “If I change the bill today, let’s say I want to pay $500 instead of $700 on my credit card this month, what happens in three months? Am I going to go negative? No other personal finance app could answer those questions.”
Balance Forecasting lets you glimpse into your bank account’s future, ensuring users will never get caught off guard with costly overdraft fees. After a user inputs monthly income and expenses, Balance Forecasting will generate a detailed forecast of all incoming and outgoing transactions.
Originally started as an iPhone app, Balance Forecasting is now a webapp with full data visualizations and a mobile-friendly interface.
Unlike feed-driven software like Mint, Balance Forecasting relies on manual reconciliation, which means less security risk, more control for the user and more predictable finances. “You have full control of your account. I like to know exactly what’s going in and out. I don’t like to do the guessing game,” says Chitoiu.
“A big reason why I chose Stormpath is simply because it’s extremely easy to get started and extremely easy to hook up the API and you don’t have to worry about login, which is a huge problem,” Chitoiu explained. “So having that free time allows you to focus on some other features.”
In addition to using Stormpath’s API for login and registration, Chitoiu also utilizes the account validation workflow, which sends users an email prompt allowing them to validate their account. If a user doesn’t activate his or her account, he or she can’t log in. Chitoiu points out that because this is handled directly by Stormpath, it doesn’t generate any additional work for him.
“I just spent a very short amount of time setting everything up and getting the login and registration working. I don’t have to waste my time on designing and reinventing the wheel.”
The development process for Balance Forecasting actually began in [Node](https://docs.stormpath.com/nodejs/). It was only later, after he was about three-fourths of the way through the coding process, that Chitoiu decided to switch to PHP, as it was a more well-established framework with the support of a stable LAMP stack. Stormpath’s support for both languages made the switch seamless.
When it comes to creating a personal finance app, security is of utmost importance, especially as any kind of hack or security issue could compromise users’ sensitive financial data.
One way to increase the security of user data, is to separate information about the user’s account from application-specific data, such as their financial inputs. This model is more complex than most developers want to tackle at the outset of a project. “At the start, I was storing the users in SQL database. It wasn’t very secure so I decided to redesign the whole thing, throw away the old code and start with a fresh clean slate.”
Stormpath helped Chitoiu separate and secure user credentials independent from his application data, which ensures user privacy and data anonymity. “Right now the way I’ve set it up is everything is completely anonymous. If somebody were to somehow get access to the MySQL database they would not be able to make any connection to whose data it is. They would see a bunch of bills – like a $100 car payment. But there is no way they could connect it to an e-mail address.”
Balance Forecasting has a simple user implementation, but intuitive financial features – and with the help of Stormpath, Chitiou has been able to focus more of his development time on users financial planning.
If you’d like to get a better read on your financial future, Balance Forecasting offers a free month first month and $19.99 yearly subscription.