Zaim: If you live in Japan and you buy things, you need this app


[See our Japanese article on Zaim’s update]

Japanese personal finance application Zaim has today pushed out a new update to its iOS app that gives it one very exciting and powerful feature. For users here in Japan, the app now has convenient OCR functionality which enables you to record and categorize your purchases simply by taking photos of your receipts. For a quick demo of how it works, check out the video above.

Zaim, export data as CSV
Zaim, export data as CSV

On the Zaim blog, they boast an average recognition rate of 96% for this new OCR feature. The app will also collect data about the name of the store too, so you’ll have a record of where you’ve made your purchases. This is especially handy considering that the web version of Zaim lets you download your data in CSV format (see right), which you can then bring into your preferred spreadsheet software.

For now, it’s just the iOS version of Zaim that has the OCR function, but Android users can look forward getting this soon as well.

I’ve been a big fan of the Zaim app for a long time. It was developed by Tokyo-based entrepreneur and programmer Takako Kansai, who – as legend has it – developed the app while on the train commuting to and from work.