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There are a million and one personal finance apps out there.
Some will help you to come up with a budget, while others will keep track of your investments for you.
Today I discovered the swiss army knife of personal finance apps, Empower Finance.
Empower Finance can help you to track your finances, find savings in your budget, cancel unused services or even help you to track your credit usage. Let's take a look.
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Empower Finance was launched as an iOS only app in May of 2017, co-founded by Warren Hogarth. Hogarth had spent over 7 years as a partner with Sequoia, which backed a number of top fintech startups including Square, Stripe, Prosper, Klarna, FutureAdvisor, and SunRun.
Empower was started with the idea to be the “one app on your homescreen that consumers use to manage their money” according to Hogarth. They want you to be able to see where you’re spending your money, send an alert if you’re spending too much in pre-configured categories, initiate automated banking transfers to save money, save money on insurance and more.
Empower was recommended by Forbes, Time Magazine, and Apple as “Best Tech Apps To Help You Save, Invest, And Manage Your Finances” and “New Apps We Love”, so it's getting some love from media.
In short, Empower is the free financial app on your phone that connects all your financial accounts, then helps you track money and discover hidden savings.
To get started linking your accounts, you can open your FREE account here:
Empower Gives A Financial Snapshot
When you first login to your account you'll get a quick snapshot of your financial life. You'll see account balances across bank, credit, loan and retirement account types. You can link over 10k U.S. bank, credit card, loan, investment, and 401(k) accounts to Empower.
Your spending will be categorized automatically by Empower's machine learning technology. If their system can't categorize spending you can do it yourself, and the app will learn over time how to categorize new spending types.
You can also review your spending with custom reports, and create or assign your own categories if you're a premium subscriber. (Free subscribers aren't able to add their own categories, but for most that should be fine.
Empower Spending Tracker
They say that if you want to get control of your finances, the first thing you have to do is figure out where your money is going. Empower helps you to do that, and then helps you to set limits and budgets in order to make a plan.
As a free user you're limited to the categories that are pre-set in the app, but if you move to the premium app service, you an set up an unlimited number of “SpendTrackers”.
Empower can also send reminders about bills that are coming due so that you don't forget.
The whole idea is to always have an eye on your spending, and to always know how much you can spend.
Automated Savings Deposits
Once you've linked your accounts, Empower can initiate automated savings transfers from one account (your checking?) to another (your savings?).
There are other apps out there that have their own linked savings account, like Qapital, Dobot or Rize Money, but with Empower you don't need to sign up for a new account. Their automated savings tool will transfer money between your already existing accounts.
For example, in my account I can setup an automated transfer for my emergency fund to save $25 once a week from my existing TCF checking to my Capital One 360 savings account. I can then set it with a goal of $500, $1000 or whatever I choose.
Once you set it up Empower will automatically transfer money for you, and your savings account will start to grow!
Empower Savings Checkup Tool
Empower can also help you to find savings that you might not have thought of trying to find.
The “Empower Savings Checkup” will analyze your accounts for savings and will attempt to improve your bottom line by renegotiating your bills for you, switching to a better insurance plan, canceling unwanted subscriptions or even finding you a savings account with a higher rate of interest.
Empower wants to streamline your finances, get rid of the things you don't need, and optimize the things you do need.
Empower users save $230 on average by renegotiating their bills, and $460 for switching to a better insurance plan. That's not too shabby!
Empower Credit Tracker
It's important to stay on top of your credit situation, to always know how much you've spent on your credit cards or other lines of credit.
Empower Finance will help you to protect your credit score by monitoring your credit utilization. It will make sure you stay under recommended credit utilization amounts of 30% of your credit limits, and give you an alert if you go over.
In this day and age it pays to ensure that any app or financial tool that you're using is secure, and uses bank grade encryption.
Empower uses bank-grade security measures like AES 256-bit encryption, multi-factor authentication, PIN code, and Touch ID to protect your account.
Your personal information is fully encrypted using SSL as well.
So rest assured that your information is safe with Empower.
What Does It Cost To Use Empower Finance?
Empower is FREE to use for the basic iOS or Android app.
Empower also offers an “Empower Premium” membership via monthly or yearly subscriptions. Empower Premium subscription fees are 3.99/month or 35.99/year.
What do you get with the premium membership?
- Ability to create custom categories: With the premium subscription you can add as many custom categories as you want to get as granular as you want on your tracking.
- Set up unlimited SpendTrackers: Setup as many SpendTrackers as you want, to stay on top of your finances.
- Chat with an expert: Have personal finance questions? With the subcription you have access to “Empower Experts” who can answer your questions.
So when all is said and done the basic app and most of the functionality are free. That's a great deal. If you want to supercharge your experience, there is a small fee, and you can always try the premium membership for free for a month to see if it adds value.
Empower Helps You To Track And Save
Empower Finance is the one app to rule them all when it comes to your financial accounts.
Empower gives you a nice overview of your finances in their dashboard, and gives you as much or as little granular detail and reporting as you'd like.
Beyond that Empower can help you to find savings by negotiating your bills, finding better accounts, or alerting you to overspending in certain areas.
If you're looking for an app that you can use to aggregate all of your accounts and transactions, and help you to find some savings along the way, Empower will get the job done.