Money App Review: Personal Capital
To App or Not To App - That is the question. And one I get a LOT!
In this blog, I’m going to tell you all about Personal Capital, one of my favorite money apps. Just to be completely transparent: as I’m writing this, I use BOTH Personal Capital AND Mint. I like each one for different reasons. I like to use Mint when I want to dig into my transactions. But, I login to Personal Capital every week during my Sunday Money Date to review my entire financial picture because I like their main dashboard better than Mint’s.
Now, let’s dig into the details of Personal Capital!
What is the Personal Capital Money App?
Personal Capital is an online and mobile-friendly application that helps you manage your money. Whether you want to review your weekly or monthly expenses across all of your checking accounts and credit cards, or if you want to use one of their dashboards or graphs to monitor your overall financial wellness and net worth, all of that and more is possible with Personal Capital.
How Does Personal Capital Work?
Personal Capital, like most other online money apps, connects to your bank accounts, credit card accounts, and other financial institutions and then imports your transactions into their application.
Once the transactions are imported, Personal Capital’s algorithm and machine learning reviews the transactions and automatically categorizes them into predefined categories. The system is super flexible and you can edit the categories or add your own if you like.
One of my favorite things about the app is the graphs available. Personal Capital allows you to look at your income and expenses graphically and then drill down to the underlying detailed transactions. I do love a pretty picture, lol! The default timeframe is ninety days, but you can edit that if you like and look at longer or shorter periods.
Personal Capital Pros and Cons
Every money app has Pros and Cons and Personal Capital is no different. Let’s take a look:
Personal Capital Pros
- See all of your money in one place, easily accessible from your computer or phone - for Free! (Well, sort of. See below.)
- A beautiful dashboard that displays your Net Worth right on the first page so you can keep an eye on your financial wealth and your financial health
- The ability to see trends in your income and expenses, but also to drill down and see the granular detail
- You are not REQUIRED to login and manage your account every day, or even every week as the system will import the last 90 days of transactions at any time
- The ability to categorize or recategorize your transactions
- If you decide to use them as your financial advisors, you do get a dedicated person, not whatever random person answers the phone
- You can purchase individual securities not just mutual funds and ETFs through their advisory services (not on your own though)
- You can import the value of your real estate via Zillow
Personal Capital Cons
- They really want you to let them manage your investments and they call quite a lot trying to entice you to let them do that
- You can’t pay bills through their money app
- You can’t buy or sell any investments through their app, only through their advisors
- They don’t track your credit score as Mint does
- They have pretty high minimum amounts and fees for the industry
Is Personal Capital Safe?
As I said in my Mint Review blog, any online application can be hacked. That is simply a fact of life on the internet.
With that said, all online applications spend millions and millions of dollars every year trying to keep your accounts safe from hackers. The last thing any financial type company needs is to have a hack splashed across the front pages of the news.
So, is Personal Capital safe? As safe as it can be. But, you should still take proactive steps like having difficult and unique passwords on your accounts and change those passwords routinely to keep your money as safe as possible.
Is Personal Capital Free?
You can use the Personal Capital money app for Free, and that’s what I do. There doesn’t seem to be any features of the money app that are behind a paywall of any sort.
However, that’s because their money app is the cookie they’re giving you hoping you’ll allow them to manage your investments for you.
Let’s talk about that.
How does Personal Capital Make Money?
What Personal Capital really wants to do is help you manage your investments. They make the bulk of their revenue through their managed advisory services.
Their management fee is just under 1% of the total value of your investments, .89% as of the date I’m writing this. Additionally, you have to have a minimum of $100,000 to open an investment account with them.
Their advisory fees may be adjusted periodically, so be sure to ask when speaking to one of their advisors what the current rates are.
While Personal Capital’s fees are a bit on the high end for the industry, it’s very normal for money advisors to charge a percentage of your total investments as their fee for their services.
Additionally, Personal Capital also runs specials such as six months of free advisory services for new investment accounts over $250,000.
As I’m writing this blog, they are running a special where if you transfer your checking and savings account to them, they will pay 2.6-2.7% interest on the money in those accounts. Right now, the average high-yield savings account is about 2%, so this is a pretty good deal. But, you can’t just move your checking and savings account, you have to move your investment accounts and you have to have a minimum of $100K. Because, again, their real reason for being is to charge you an annual fee to manage your investments, as that’s far more lucrative for them than just ads or affiliate sales (although there may be some of that, too.)
So, while the Personal Capital money app is free…they use it as a way to entice you into their managed investment services. And, hey, everybody’s gotta eat! Just make sure you know what the fees are and that you are comfortable paying them before you decide to let them manage any of your money.
Should You Use Personal Capital?
Like I said above, Personal Capital is one of my two favorite money apps, so in my humble opinion, yes, you should totally use them.
Having your entire financial life accessible through their website or mobile app allows you to quickly and easily keep an eye on your money. The entire reason to have a money app is to be able to spot trends in your income and expenses so that you can then manage those trends in whatever way you see fit. Using a money app such as Personal Capital not only allows you to do that, it allows you to do that in real time. Minute by minute, if you like!
What’s more, if you are one of those people who like to watch your money movement minute by minute, you can, but you don’t have to. Personal Capital will import you last 90 days of transactions. So, if you want you can login quarterly and still trends in your income and expenses and track your overall financial wellness and net worth.
And finally, using Personal Capital is super low commitment. If you decide you don’t like it, you can delete your account at any time and all imports will stop.
If you liked this blog, you should check these out!
**I am not a licensed financial advisor. I am a money expert and I offer education, tips, tricks and my opinions around money. You should consult a professional who understands your needs in order to make the best decisions for you! Additionally, some links in this blog may be affiliate links, which means if you click the link and buy the product I may earn a small commission - at NO COST to You! It’s one of the ways I keep the lights on around here so TYIA! 😉
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