I've tried several savings apps over the years. I'm pretty familiar with the process, and blasé when it comes to surrendering my information to them. The Albert app, which is similar to Clarity and Mint, seems to be on the more secure end of the spectrum. I chose to log in with TouchID on my iPhone, and any time my phone went to sleep, or I switched to a different screen, I was asked to log in again with my thumbprint.What I Used It For:
My main goals were to save more aggressively in an everyday way — not for investing purposes, but to tighten up my budget and put money away for a few events in the coming year (a family vacation and trip for a friend's birthday in the coming year). After setup is complete, Albert will also give you suggestions for goals, in addition to ones you can set yourself. The order you put those goals in (by dragging them up or down on the home slide of the app), will dictate how aggressively Albert saves toward each.How Much I Saved:
By the end of my trial, I had saved $146, including non-automated deposits I made myself now and then. That number isn't huge, but it is something — and I preferred Albert's more conscientious goal withdrawals to Digit's much more aggressive ones. I want have a little more control over the amounts of money leaving my bank account, and the amounts deducted ranged from $1 to $9.Final Verdict:
Albert has a much
better level of accuracy guessing than other apps do. In the past, I've had to categorize every single expense, which sucked. Albert may not get every single expense right (about three were miscategorized over the month and a half I used it); but when it doesn't, it usually leave the category blank for you to fill in. Expenses like bills are not factored in the same way as drinks, which I liked, and those expenses could be marked as recurring and viewed in a separate screen. As those recurring payments — subscriptions, loan payments, rent — are processed throughout the month, Albert marks them as "Paid," so you can see which have gone through yet.
One issue with Albert is that you may not be able (or may not choose) to sync all of your financial apps and services — such as investment and retirement accounts — with theirs. As a result, though, Albert's assessment of my savings situation and the financial health score they gave me (users are rated on a scale of 0 to 100) is off.
Based on Albert's assessment of your score and your needs, you are sent on "missions" that give you information. (For example, one recent mission was about the Equifax data breach
.) I haven't tried out this function yet, as I already crunched the numbers of how much I'd need to save toward my friend's birthday trip, but it does seem like a useful, targeted option that I'd like to try out in the future.
Overall, if I wanted to save more aggressively, I might go with another app, or use Albert in conjunction with that app. But for a clear picture of where my spending is going, access to advice and suggestions for where to improve, I'll definitely stick with Albert.