When you aren’t keeping track of where your money is going, it’s easy to fall into unhealthy financial behaviors like overspending.
That’s why it can be helpful to use a budgeting app that gives you greater awareness of your spending habits.
Clarity Money is a personal finance app that not only tracks your spending, but also encourages you to save more of your hard-earned cash.
We’ve researched what this app has to offer and how it provides you with insight into your financial health. We’re laying out the pros and cons in this Clarity Money review so you can decide if this app is right for you.
What Is Clarity Money?
Clarity Money is a budgeting app created by venture capitalist and entrepreneur Adam Dell in 2016 and acquired by Goldman Sachs in 2018. It’s part of the banking giant’s Marcus by Goldman Sachs line of financial products.
Clarity Money is touted as an AI-powered tool that brings your finances together in one place. You link your bank accounts to the app, and it automatically categorizes your expenses to give you a holistic view of how you’re spending your money.
Different tiles in the app highlight different aspects of your finances. You can see a sum of how much you spent over the last few days and a list of your transactions. Another tile drills down on how much you’ve spent at particular merchants over a self-selected window of time — giving you an eye-opening look at how your trips to Starbucks add up.
After providing details about your income, the app will show you how much money you have left to spend in a given month. Clarity Money will also calculate how much you typically spend per week so you can stay on pace.
Other features of the Clarity Money app include:
Identifying recurring expenses: The app will alert you to repeated expenses, potentially highlighting unused subscriptions. Depending on the merchant, Clarity Money may also provide you with the information needed to cancel those unwanted expenses.
Prompted savings option: Users can open a free Marcus by Goldman Sachs high-yield online savings account directly from the app. Marcus is known for providing industry-leading interest rates for savings accounts. At the time of writing this article, the annual percentage yield (APY) was 1.05%.
Automated saving assistance: Select a savings goal and set up recurring deposits to your Marcus savings account.
Free credit score checks: Check your credit score once a month at no cost — and no hit to your score — via the VantageScore 3.0 powered by Experian.
Money alerts: Set push notifications for when you get paid, if your balance dips too low, whether you’re on track with your normal weekly spending or to alert you about upcoming bills.
How Does Clarity Money Work?
Clarity Money is a free app that you can download from the App Store or Google Play. You can also sign up to use Clarity Money from your desktop using the current version of Firefox, Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge or Safari.
In order to keep this service free, the app may present you with offers like signing up for an investment account through Acorns or applying for a personal loan through Even Financial. Clarity Money profits when users sign up for offers from their referral partners.
To get started using the app, you must link at least one of your financial accounts. Your main checking account would be an obvious choice, but you might want to include any savings, credit card, investment or loan accounts. Clarity Money has the ability to link accounts from over 9,000 U.S.-based financial institutions.
The app doesn’t allow you to manually enter account information, so you must link any account you want to have included.
Clarity Money keeps your sensitive financial information protected by using multi-level safeguards. Transmitted data and stored information are encrypted, and special authentication — like a PIN number, passcode, fingerprint or face ID, depending on your device — is required to open the app.
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The Pros and Cons of Clarity Money
Like many financial tools, Clarity Money has its benefits and its areas in which it is lacking.
On the positive side, Clarity Money gives you a good overall view of your spending. You can see at a glance where your money has been going and whether you’re on track to make it to the end of the month without overdrafting.
Clarity Money doesn’t just help you with budgeting. This app encourages you to save money by pointing out subscriptions set on autopay that you might want to cancel. It also makes it easy to open a high-yield online savings account and set up recurring deposits to move you closer to hitting your financial goals.
Clarity Money has a good reputation with a 4.7-star rating (out of five stars) from the App Store and a 4-star rating (out of five stars) from Google Play. Multiple users compliment the app’s well-designed interface.
On the flip side, a main critique of Clarity Money is that it does not allow users to add custom budget categories to better analyze their spending. For example, if you wanted to keep tabs on how much you spend on beauty products, you wouldn’t be able to because that spending would be lumped into the “shopping” category with other expenses like clothing and gifts.
Clarity Money has also received criticism for not letting users customize the interface so they can see the money management tile that’s of most interest to them when they first log in, rather than having to scroll down and find it.
It doesn’t allow you to input spending manually. It only tracks transactions from linked accounts, so you can’t factor in what you’ve spent using cash.
Who Is Clarity Money For?
Clarity Money can be a useful tool for people who want a simple way to see all their financial information in one place and keep tabs on their spending habits. It’s good for someone looking for more awareness of where their money is going so they can find ways to trim the fat from their budget.
Clarity Money is also a good money management app for someone who can’t or doesn’t want to invest in a paid app like YNAB (You Need a Budget) or Ramsey Plus.
If you don’t have a need for custom budget categories and you’re fine with only tracking spending from linked bank accounts, then give Clarity Money a try.
Feeling overwhelmed? Create a budget that works for you with our budgeting bootcamp!
Nicole Dow is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder.
This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.