Competent, but Dour, Personal Assistant for Online Account Access

This app is not currently available in the App Store.

a personal assistant iphoneThink of Pageonce's A Personal Assistant-Premium app as Alfred to your Batman. A competent, do-it-all valet who is both efficient and discreet.

The idea of being able to access all your email, financial, social networking, travel and many other  accounts from one place is compelling. That's what A Personal Assistant-Premium — it's the version of the app without ad support — aims to do and it does it fairly well.

I was able to set up a bank, credit card, email and other accounts — but not PayPal — from the iPhone without a hassle. In my credit card screen, there was a "null" in the balance and APR fields and when I tapped "credit cards," from that screen I received an "internal error" message. I don't know what the problem was.

With A Personal Assistant you can only view account data from your iPhone or the Pageonce account Web site. You cannot transfer money. That's typical with these apps.

As with any app that gives you access to sensitive information, a high degree of security is a fundamental requirement. Pageonce does a good job in that respect too. You can disable access to your account if your iPhone gets out of hand. That's also not unique — again, it's a basic requirement.

You have a login ID and password to your account, of course. Each time you quit Personal Assistant, you must re-enter your password, which is as it should be. On top of that, you can set a passcode to access the app. It's only four digits, unfortunately, but better than nothing.

If you quit A Personal Assistant, or if the iPhone goes into it's battery-saving mode or if you attempt to make changes to the app, you must re-enter the passcode. You also have advanced security settings that gives your iPhone exclusive access to your Pagesonce account. The only way to disable the security setting is via the Web site. These are all good things.

Pageonce does not provide any guidance or limitations on the passwords you can use so an unsophisticated user could set up an account with a weak password. That vulnerability is not unique to Pageonce but it should be addressed.

So what's not to like? A Personal Assistant Premium is downright ugly. The interface looks like it was designed by Calvin Coolidge. The type is tiny and hard to read. At some points, when the app is loading, you'll get "Loading..." transposed over the other type on the screen, which gives the page a scrambled-egg effect. It's a bit hard to describe, but this app looks so 1979.

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This app is not currently available in the App Store.

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