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Updated on Monday, December 16, 2019
Albert is a money management app that acts as a concierge for your finances. Unlike other apps that solely focus on one specific money management tool, like building a budget or ramping up savings, Albert takes a more holistic approach.
Not all apps are worth the download, though. While Albert can certainly be a useful money management tool, it does have its drawbacks.
What is the Albert app?
Albert offers three core money management features in its free version: savings automation, budgeting and the chance to lower your bills.
Albert automates savings
With its Smart Savings tool, Albert analyzes your income and spending habits over time, and finds dollars you can afford to save here and there. It moves money for you gradually, stashing it in a digital wallet account included in the app.
With the free subscription to Albert, you’ll get one free Smart Savings deposit in Albert’s digital wallet per week. If you want more control, Albert also enables you to save a set amount on a weekly basis. Funds in your Albert savings are available for withdrawal for free at any time.
While Albert’s digital wallet does not pay any interest, the app will reward you with an annual bonus of 0.25%. The bonus is paid out as 25 cents per every $100 you have saved over the course of a year, and is paid at the beginning of each month. If your bonus is less than 5 cents, it will rollover that bonus to the next month until you reach a bonus amount over 5 cents.
The funds in your Albert savings account are held at accounts at partner banks, which provide Federal Deposit Insurance Corp (FDIC) insurance up to the legal limit.
Albert helps you budget
Albert has a budgeting feature that automatically generates a personalized monthly budget made up of four components: income, recurring bills, savings and everything else. You can track your budget on Albert with visuals like pie charts, and the app will send you push notifications to alert you to excessive spending or bill due dates.
Within the budgeting feature is a financial health checkup score to help you gauge how you’re doing financially overall, taking into consideration aspects of your financial life. The score ranges from 0 to 100, and is calculated by examining at your account data across four categories:
- Savings and investments: The score takes into account your balances in the savings and investing portions of the Albert app, as well as your linked checking account.
- Debt burden: Determined by your ratio of total credit card debt to income.
- Insurance: Takes into account the insurance policies you own.
- Fees and rewards: Factors in what you pay in banking and credit card fees.
Albert can negotiate lower bills for you
Through a partnership with bill negotiating company Billshark, Albert also gives you the option to negotiate lower monthly bills for expenses like cable, phone and internet. When Albert identifies a bill it might be able to lower, it will alert you to it. From there, you can sign in, provide a few details about the bill and then negotiations will start.
It is worth noting that if Billshark successfully lowers your bill, it takes 40% of your savings as a fee.
Albert’s fees and additional features
Albert’s premium service, Albert Genius, offers a bunch of added features, as well as guidance from financial experts. Albert charges fees under a “pay what you think is fair” model, although there is a minimum of $4 per month. You get access to a micro-investing account (more below), plus these three account enhancements:
- Ask for advice: You can ask Genius for tailored advice on a number of financial topics, like credit card debt, student loans, travel rewards, insurance, savings and investing.
- Smart Savings: Instead of being limited to one Smart Savings transaction a week, you’ll get access to multiple Smart Savings transactions per week.
- Increased savings bonus: You’ll receive an increased annual bonus of 1% on your savings.
The highlight of the Genius upgrade is the micro-investing account, Albert Investments. You get a custom investment portfolio crafted by Albert’s financial analysts, as well as guidance from its team of financial advisors.
Albert Investments requires a minimum investment of $1, and features commission-free trades and automatic investing. Albert Investments also offers a self-managed investing option.
Advantages of the Albert app
- Provides a full toolbox of features to help you manage almost every aspect of your financial life, from saving and budgeting to investing and lowering bills.
- Albert’s savings, budgeting and investing algorithms can take much of the grunt work out of money management.
- The financial health checkup score provides a simple, top-level view of your finances.
Downsides of the Albert app
- The 0.25% annual bonus added to your savings is minimal compared to the interest you can earn on savings in many other online savings accounts listed on our site.
- For non-Genius users, the Smart Savings tool that automatically saves money for you based on your spending habits is limited to just one savings transaction per week.
Albert vs. other money management apps
Albert operates in the same vein as many other budgeting and money management apps, like Cleo, Mint and Qapital. However, Albert stands out with a number of differentiating features that actually provide value. Those features include its Investments tool, automatic Smart Savings feature, partnership with BillShark, added savings bonus and checkup score.
By incorporating financial wellness scores with the ability to ask real, financial experts for guidance on a range of topics, Albert seems more committed than its competitors to actually helping you learn the skills associated with money management, and offers a holistic view of your finances. As opposed to simply doing the hard work for you — like many other money management apps promise — it seems that the goal of Albert is to help you grow your savings, while also teaching the tricks of the trade and incorporating financial literacy.
Is Albert right for you?
If you’re looking to really build up your savings, it’s best to look elsewhere; you’ll be able to find much better savings accounts listed on our site that offer more interest than the 0.25% annual bonus doled out by Albert. However, if you’re on the hunt for a money management app that gives you a holistic view of your finances, helps you strengthen your savings muscle and gives you access to actual financial advisors, Albert may be worth a download.