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Updated on Thursday, September 12, 2019
Clarity Money aims to bring transparency and simplicity to your money management habits. The app and its few features are relatively simple, which can be a plus for those who don’t need all the bells and whistles of other apps.
It includes standard budgeting tools, including a spending breakdown by month or by merchant. It has the added perk of identifying recurring subscriptions, so you can more easily spot areas where you can cut costs. Plus, Clarity itself doesn’t cost a cent to open or maintain.
Clarity Money isn’t quite a one-stop shop for finance management, though. A Clarity account merely allows you to view all of your financial accounts, rather than consolidating checking, savings and investment accounts in one place — and if that’s what you’re looking for, you won’t find it here.
Nevertheless, Clarity is a great tool for decluttering and demystifying your finances. Learn more about its easy-to-use features below.
How does Clarity Money work?
To get started, you must link at least one account from a supported institution, such including Chase Bank, Wells Fargo or USAA — in fact, over 9,000 institutions are available to link to your Clarity Money account. Plus, there’s no limit to the number of external accounts you can link to the app.
As a Marcus by Goldman Sachs brand, Clarity Money also offers the ability to open a Marcus Online Savings Account — which consistently offers one of the best online savings account rates in the industry.
Once you’ve linked at least one account, Clarity will display the available balances and transactions associated with those accounts. This includes savings and checking accounts, credit cards, investments and loans. That way, you have a more holistic view of your finances all in one place.
The app tracks your spending and displays it in a few different ways. Each transaction can be categorized under a label like bills, entertainment or travel, which you can edit at any time to best fit your preferences. Then, you can see which categories you might be spending more or less in.
You can also sort your spending by merchant and by timeframe. For example, you can see how much you spent on Lyft within the past year. You can also sort to see a more complete history of your spending month over month. This view includes both line and pie charts (shown above) that compare your income to your spending, providing more insight and visibility to your spending habits.
Additionally, Clarity highlights any recurring expenses, such as monthly bills and subscription services that you’ve signed up for. Clarity lists them, and can even help you cancel many recurring memberships or accounts right from the app itself. Even if that option isn’t available for a certain expense, the feature still allows you to more easily keep an eye on recurring expenses and cancel any useless or outdated ones manually.
To help you stay on top of your finances, rather than just giving you just a passive overview, the app enables a handful of useful notifications. For example, it can send reminders whenever a credit card payment is due if you link a credit card to your account. It can also notify you if you’re spending more (or less) than normal or are on track with your monthly budget. You can also set up notifications for paycheck deposits and low balances.
Clarity Money fees and fine print
Clarity Money is free to use, without any monthly or usage fees. The Marcus Online Savings account also has no fees. There is no minimum deposit required to open either account.
Note that the app itself is solely for organizing and tracking your budgets. It’s neither a checking nor a savings account, so it does not include a debit card or earn interest on any balance. Only the separate Marcus Online Savings Account earns interest at 1.05% annual percentage yield.
As of July 2020
All rates expressed in annual percentage yield (APY) unless otherwise stated.
Opening a Clarity Money account
You can open an account either online or through the app, which you can download from the App Store or Google Play. You’ll need to provide an email address to open an account. Once your account is created, you’ll need to link at least one supported external account to gain access to the app’s features.
Additionally, you can open a Marcus Online Savings Account directly within the Clarity Money app via the Marcus Savings tab. To open an Online Savings Account, you must link an eligible checking or savings account and verify your email address.
Who is Clarity Money best for?
This app is best for folks looking for a truly simple approach to getting a grip on their finances. The app allows you to organize and track your finances in one place, leaving room for personalization based on your organizational preferences. Additionally, the app’s simplicity can be good for those who can get distracted or overwhelmed by other features, like a new debit card or complex earnings systems.
That said, this app won’t be good for people who want to consolidate all of their financial dealings in one place. Clarity Money isn’t a checking, savings and investment account all in one — it simply displays all of your existing accounts in one place. Still, if you have all of your accounts in separate places but just need an easier interface to get a better look at them all, this app may be worth considering.