Financial planning software like Quicken can help you budget your finances, but in order to get the most out of it, you actually have to make the effort to buy and use the software. However, you can automatically get some of the same budgeting services through your credit card, if you have a card from the right financial services company.

Discover Card is one of the credit card providers offering a money management tool. Released in the beginning of 2009, close to 8 months before the launch of Chase Blueprint, its Spend Analyzer tool tracks your Discover card spending for up to 24 months.

"We introduced the Spend Analyzer to give Discover card members a bigger picture view of where their money goes," says Steve Furman, director of E-Business at Discover.

The Spend Analyzer takes a monthly credit card statement to the next level by categorizing purchases. As opposed to simply viewing transactions on a monthly statement, the Spend Analyzer categorizes purchases and allows you to compare spending patterns over time. "We feel that if our card members have a clearer view of their spending, they can make smarter financial decisions," says Furman.

The tool allows you to have a graphical view of your spending in various increments of time, including one, three, six, 12 and 24 months. It also tracks current and previous year spending. Purchases are broken out into 12 pre-defined categories based on the type of store you're shopping at, rather than the type of merchandise you're buying. These categories include merchandise, gas, groceries and restaurants. Returns, balance transfers, cash advances and other miscellaneous statement charges are not factored into your results.

Discover's customers have been pleased with the money management tool. "The feedback we have received has been overwhelmingly positive -- in fact, many have remarked that the Spend Analyzer is by far one of the most helpful personal finance tools they have ever seen," says Furman.

In customer feedback provided by Discover, users mentioned that the tool helped them understand where their money was going; made organizing finances easier and helped explain why an average daily balance kept increasing. Other feedback has led to new features, like the ability to save the information as a PDF file or download it as a spreadsheet that can be imported into other financial software.

Tools like this have helped create a credit card that consumers want to use, and Discover has become one of the top credit cards in terms of customer loyalty engagement, according to Brand Keys, a brand loyalty and engagement market research firm. Brand Keys has named Discover Card the category winner in its 2011 Brand Keys Customer Loyalty Engagement Index.

"It reinforces as they always have over time, the aspect of service and card interaction," says Robert Passikoff, founder and president of Brand Keys. "What Discover has done is leveraged the new technology to be able to examine spending as a service of cost management."

In this sense, Passikoff says, Discover forges a deeper relationship with its customers by telling them, "We're your partner in this. We're going to help you. We don't just want you to spend. We're going to help you along."

Financial literacy organizations also see the benefit in using tools like the Spend Analyzer. "Anything that gives the consumer information is a good thing. Most people have no idea where their money goes," says Alice Wood, president of Wealth Watchers International.

To that end, Discover is planning enhancements for its Spend Analyzer and other online tools, such as enhanced navigation capabilities. "We are constantly working to enhance the Spend Analyzer, as well as all of our online tools, so we can better deliver on our promise to help card members spend smarter, manage debt better and save more," says Furman.