Albert App Review: An AllInOne Personal Finance Assistant

Budgeting, saving, investing, cash advances — most personal finance apps focus on one or two of these features. But the Albert app aims to be a one-stop-shop for all those financial services and more. Albert is an app that bears a lot of similarities to other money management apps like Digit, Qapital, or Clarity Money. Originally, the app focused on its automatic savings feature. But now it provides a large suite of tools to help you improve your finances including offering human investment advice, negotiating bills, and alerting you when you’ve been charged a bank fee or your bills have gone up.If you’re someone who could use a little extra help with getting your financial house in order, Albert could be an app that’s well worth downloading. Learn more about what the app has to offer in our full review below.

The Albert Corporation was founded by college friends Yinon Ravid and Andrzej Baraniak in 2015. In 2016, it raised $2.5 million in seed funding shortly after the app launched earlier that summer. Since its launch, Albert has continued to expand its options including now offering micro-investing through its Albert Investments arm. Albert Investments, LLC is an SEC Registered Investment Advisor.

Albert offers a robust suite of personal finance services and tools. These are some of the app’s core features.

Like other budgeting and personal finance apps, Albert has a built-in budgeting and financial tracking feature. The budgets are set using algorithms, but Albert’s has done a great job of simplifying it’s algorithm. It offers the following categories:Albert focuses its attention on the “Everything Else” category by giving you a free to spend number (and the amount of time the money will needs to last).The budget feature even allows users to adjust their budget if they have a variable income. The adjustments aren’t perfect, but they can make an inconsistent monthly income easier to manage.

If you have a W-2 job where you receive a paycheck, Albert will advance you up to $100 before your check arrives. This is a no-fee loan that’s perfect for getting through the last few days before you get paid.That said, this could reinforce a bad financial habit. It’s ideal to keep around a $1,000 buffer in your checking account all the time (or the amount of your largest bill). That way if you forget about some major bill (annual insurance costs for example), you can handle it without running out of money.Compare Albert with the other top cash advance apps on the market today.

Albert uses algorithms to “trick” users into saving money. It will transfer up to $100 per week out of your checking account to a savings account. You can transfer this money back to checking whenever you want. But the goal is to keep it growing.Users can also set up automatic transfers from checking accounts to savings accounts. Money in the Albert app savings account earns a low APY (currently 0.10% to 0.25%). 

Albert offers commission-free buying and selling of stocks. It also offers managed portfolios (or recommended portfolios). These investments are an after-tax brokerage account. That means they shouldn’t be your first choice for retirement savings. But they could be a great option for someone with 5-to-10-year savings goals.

Albert has also teamed up with BillShark to help users negotiate for lower rates on things like cable, internet, and insurance. According to Albert, BillShark helps its users to save an average of $250 per month. It should be noted, however, that BillShark will take a cut of the savings (40%).Learn more about BillShark in our full review of its bill negotiation services.

Ask a Genius is Albert’s premium option. With this, you can send financial questions and receive financial advice. Individuals with questions about debt repayment, how to buy a car, where to save money, etc. can get advice from a human. This service costs $4 per month minimum, though the default payment is $6 per month.

With so many features, Albert seems like it’s the personal finance assistant that can do it all. However, I noticed that Albert doesn’t currently offer many tools to help users address credit issues. It would be great for the app to direct those automated savings towards debt payoff goals rather than a savings account with a minimal yield.

The dramatic majority of Albert’s services are 100% free. However, Albert charges $4-$6 per month for the use of it’s Genius platform. The Genius platform gives you unlimited access to a human who can help answer questions tailored to your situation.I’ve long believed that the human element of money and finance is critical. And I applaud Albert’s introduction of humans into the world of apps. I think the Genius service will give many people a gentle shove in the right direction towards financial wellness.This isn’t a substitute for a comprehensive financial plan. But it’s a lot better than getting your advice from your neighbor’s best friend’s uncle. If you’re already paying for financial planning services, you won’t need to pay for Albert’s Genius feature. But other users who have specific financial questions may find that $5 per month is money well spent.

Albert has a ton of potential as a personal finance app. The “secret savings,” big picture budgets, and Financial Checkups are helpful and motivating. Albert helps users make financial wellness the easy choice. I especially like it for people who are focusing on the first steps of financial management.. But Albert won’t be a great solution for everyone. The low yields on the savings accounts and the taxable investment accounts aren’t ideal for people trying to aggressively save or invest.If you’re looking for a high-yield savings account, check out our list of the best options available today. And retirement savers should definitely read our recommendations for the best places to save for retirement. Finally, don’t forget to compare Albert with the other top money management apps of 2020.

Written by Investors Wallets

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