★ Rockstar Review: Clarity Money App (FREE)
This is part of our Rockstar Reviews series.
Be sure to check out all previous products we’ve reviewed!
High-Powered Budgeting, Made Easy
Clarity Money is a new mobile app that keeps you completely up-to-date with your entire financial situation. Connect your financial accounts once, and let Clarity help you to make better decisions with your money.
The app was built to help you in several key ways:
#1. It makes budgeting easy – Setup spending categories and automatically apply expenses to these categories. The application will do the math for you and display alerts when you are getting dangerously close to your spending limit.
#2. It makes recommendations – The app recognizes when you are shopping and proactively calculates how much money you can spend and stay within your budget. Like a rockstar.
#3. It tracks your spending every day – Clarity will keep you up-to-date with every purchase that you make, automatically updating your budgeted spending to keep you in line with your desired level of spending.
#4. It may help you improve your credit score – By connecting your credit cards with the app, it will analyze your spending level and provide actionable insight to improving your credit score.
#5. You can open up new savings accounts straight from the app – Once installed, create an FDIC-insured savings account straight from the app and start saving money!
How Clarity Money Works
Setting up the Clarity Money mobile app is a quick and easy process.
- Download the app from Apple’s “App Store”. (The Android version will be available within the next few months.)
- Fire up the app for the first time and create a new account. The first screen you see will include a ‘Sign up’ button at the very bottom (screenshot on the right). If this is your first time using Clarity, select that button to start the process of creating a brand new account. To sign up, provide your name, email address and a password. The account creation process should only take a few seconds.
- Once your account has been setup, the application will bring you directly to the “Link Account” screen. Search for your financial institution (banks, credit cards, mortgages, etc.) or select from one of the common choices on the screen to begin the linking process.
- Let Clarity Money go to work. The application will begin the process of analyzing your financial accounts and will, over time, provide custom recommendations based on your spending and saving habits. This is where the real magic happens.
Unlike similar budgeting services, Clarity’s proactive intelligence is where the application truly shines.
Every linked financial institution provides an additional source of information that the mobile app uses to pinpoint areas for improvement. Everywhere you go, your complete financial picture comes with you, housed securely on your mobile device.
Pro tip: The more financial accounts that you connect with your profile, the better that Clarity Money’s recommendations will be.
Navigating the Mobile Application
Getting around Clarity Money is super easy. Docked at the bottom of every screen are four icons (illustrated on the left). These icons provide quick and easy access to all areas of Clarity.
The Main screen provides a quick look at your cash vs. debt picture. Scroll down to access different areas of the app, like the daily tracking, transactions, income vs. expenses and savings account areas.
Passcode or Touch ID can be setup from the Main screen to improve security. In addition, your notification preferences can be adjusted from the bottom of this screen as well. Scroll down to check out everything available to you.
The Institutions screen is where all of your linked financial accounts are displayed, along with current dollar values. Accounts are broken out into Cash, Credit Debt and Other (i.e. Vanguard, Fidelity or other investment accounts). Use this screen to link additional accounts to your profile as well by clicking on the little plus icon on the top right.
The Transactions screen is your one-stop view of every dollar spent or received. All transactions are filtered by date and are searchable by the transaction’s description. Sort by most recent, highest to lowest (or vice versa) or “Outliers”, which are transactions that are outside of your normal spending habits. Transactions can also be filtered by spending, income or transfers.
Lastly, the Account screen provides details of your Clarity Money profile. Associate a picture to your profile from this screen, update your monthly income, change notification settings and adjust account details like your name, email and password.
Can Clarity Lower Your Bills?
Through their Bill Lowering Service, Clarity may be able to lower your monthly bills. They do this by reaching out to your financial institutions directly and applying any discounts or coupons that you may be entitled to – and that you probably did not know about.
If Clarity is able to lower your bills, they will charge you 33% of those savings annually. This means that you pocket 2/3 of those savings, which is cash that you wouldn’t have otherwise had.
And don’t worry – Clarity won’t sign you up for anything that requires a commitment without first communicating with you about the change.
What I Like About Clarity Money
Clarity’s app is like a personal assistant that comes with you everywhere you go. It is designed to provide (and improve) visibility into your financial standing. It’s not just a budgeting application.
Its purpose is to help you to save money, quickly and easily.
The interface is slick and clean. Slide the Main screen down to access many of the application’s most-used features. Use the docked nav system at the bottom of each screen to quickly switch between sections of the application. Once everything is setup, you won’t be doing much typing, which is nice for people on the go!
My favorite feature is the Daily Spending monitor. It’s far too easy to let those little expenses in life add up without much insight into where that money is actually going. Every day, the Clarity app keeps a tally of exactly how much you spent the day before.
Clarity also learns from your spending habits. Over time, the app recognizes how you spend money and will alert you to outliers (in the Transactions screen). This built-in intelligence helps to take the guess-work out of your finances.
The application gets smarter and smarter as you use it.
What I Don’t Like About Clarity Money
Truthfully, there is not much that I don’t like about this app. It is well-designed. The interface is easy to navigate and click through. But, you need to be comfortable with the security implications of using Clarity Money on your phone.
Not only are you connecting your financial to the Clarity app by providing usernames and passwords, but if your phone gets lost or stolen, security of your financial information becomes a primary concern. Luckily, Clarity Money provides an additional layer of security through your phone’s Touch ID capability if your phone gets into the wrong hands. Or at the very least, a passcode can be setup to prevent access to the application by anyone other than you. This is the nature of the game with financial apps.
In addition, Clarity Money only supports U.S. financial institutions at the moment, and is only available to iPhone users. Plans to expand on both are already in place.
You can download the app (for FREE)
here: Clarity Money
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