Geezeo.com is another one of a myriad of new personal finance sites that have popped up over the last year or two, along with competitors like Mint.com and Geezeo.com. We've already reviewed those other two services – now its time to take a look at Geezeo.
As part of keeping track of my family's finances, my wife and I need a way to keep track of our finances online. Ideally we should be able to keep an eye all of our accounts, regardless of what institution they're held at. We should be able to track balances, monitor big transactions, and be able check it from anywhere.
I signed up for Geezeo a few weeks ago, and here is what I found.
The first thing you notice when you come to Geezeo.com is that they've got a clean design, with a whimsical piggy bank mascot. The page has a black border across the top with site links, and then your main account area and activities area resides at the middle and bottom of the page. When you first login you'll be taken to a summary page that allows you to add accounts, view a list of your current accounts, spending trends graphs, spending and savings goals and your discussion groups. The design of the site is web 2.0 feeling, while not being over the top with lots of shiny buttons and other miscellaneous things you don't need.
The first thing I did after creating my account was to try and setup my 8 checking, savings and mortgage accounts that I wanted to track. The credit card account setups went pretty smoothly except for my American Express card, which took several minutes to sign in. In fairness that was probably an issue with the American Express site, not Geezeo.
Then I set up my main checking, savings and money market accounts which are all at the same bank. A couple of the accounts are actually under different sign-in names, which normally isn't an issue. I discovered, however, that at the time I signed up with Geezeo, they wouldn't allow more than one sign-in name for any one bank. So for now I had to manually enter the one rogue account into their system (a huge pain, and something I wanted to avoid). I talked with Geezeo support, and they admit that this is a problem, but say that they are working on a fix, and multiple sign-ins for one bank should be available soon. (Support was very responsive and helpful by the way.)
My home mortgage account was easy to setup as well – and was compatible with automatic updates, which was a surprise. Both Buxfer.com and Mint.com choked on that one. It makes it much easier when the account information updates automatically.
The 401k account had to be manually set up – but I only update this information every quarter or so anyway, so it isn't a huge deal.
Once all of our accounts were entered, we started looking around the site to see what some of the things we could do were. On their site they lay out some of the features of the software:
- Manage all your accounts (worked well for the most part)
- Mobile Access (not something we're concerned with)
- Painless budgeting (A definite plus)
- Create Goals (strong suit of the site)
- Join Groups
- Learn from Others
Geezeo, it seems can do a lot of the things the other personal finance softwares do, with the added benefit of active forums and groups to give the site a more social network feel to it. People supporting other people in their finance goals.
So where to start? Well, first let's look at viewing your accounts and editing tags.
When transactions are downloaded to Geezeo, they are automatically put into different categories so that you're able to track your expenses, and run queries on different income and expense areas. Previously I had gone into my transaction data and tagged all of the transactions in categories that made sense. The tagging schema was pretty easy to use, although a little confusing at first. A few of the transactions weren't tagged with the correct categories, but after making some corrections things looked pretty good.
When i looked a little further at my data I realized that somehow the system had entered duplicate transaction data for a couple of my accounts. Admittedly this may have been my fault when uploading the .ofx files for the accounts. When I looked, I couldn't find any way to delete or remove duplicate entries. This was a huge issue, one I'm waiting on an answer about from support.
In my opinion one of the strong points of Geezeo is it's budgeting tools. Once in the budget section you can choose different categories that you have previously tagged in your register, and setup a budget goal for each category. Each budget goal is represented on the page with a bright red button (if you've exceeded your goal) or by a bright green button if you've met or come under your goal. It is an effective way to keep on track, and see what areas you need help in.
Another area that Geezeo is strong in is the area of setting goals. Like the budgeting tool, you can set up savings or debt reduction goals. The tool is pretty flexible allowing you to set up a specific goal, and tell the system when it is met (for example: goal is met when account xyz has 1000 dollars in it). You can also see what other people are setting as their goals – and choose the same goals. That way you can track your progress against other users. I can see this being very helpful for those trying to get out of debt.
There are other tools that I haven't even begun to scratch the surface of, mainly the social network aspect of Geezeo. I can see how the support group type social aspect of the site could be useful for a lot of folks as well, and I'm sure I'll be checking that out more in the future.
With that said, here are a few pros and cons of Geezeo.com as I see it.
- Simple to setup most new accounts.
- Eye pleasing design.
- Budgets: Ability to track and stay within a budget in one or multiple areas.
- Ability to track debt and savings goals: track what you owe, or what you want to save.
- Problems in setting up accounts with some banks
- multiple logins not allowed with one bank
- limited options for investment and savings accounts: No simple way to setup 401k accounts or some other more advance savings options
- Clunky importing of data: Some data imports re-imported the same data as new transactions. No way to delete duplicates
CONCLUSION: So far in the three weeks I've been using Geezeo.com I have enjoyed using the software. The software gave us good feedback through its budgeting and goals tracking tools, and overall is a pleasure to use. On the negative side, the site still is in beta and sometimes it shows. From our clunky importing of .ofx data, to the problems with having multiple logins at the same bank, the experience left a little bit of a bad aftertase in my mouth.
I will recommend Geezeo.com to everyone out there with the caveat that you should be aware that the site is still in beta. Not everything will work as smooth as you might like. They are making improvements, however, and I expect things to get better.
If you'd like some other opinions, check out the further reviews of Geezeo.com below!
Geezeo.com – Money Confessions on Twitter
What money secrets do you keep? Geezeo Money Confessions
Chat, Chill, Pay the Bills
Geezeo – Check your bank account on the go
Geezeo.com – Social Networking & Personal Finance
Review – Geezeo Finance Management