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Updated on Friday, October 11, 2019
Moven is a money management app that aims to positively impact users spending and budget habits. Moven is not a bank — it partners with CBW Bank to offer users prepaid debit cards to hold deposits. If you’re looking for a decent interest rate, look elsewhere — Moven does not pay any interest. But if you’re looking for an app that could potentially help you alter your spending habits for the better, this app could be worth a closer look.
What does Moven offer?
The Moven app aims to learn your money habits and then nudge you towards better financial practices. You can use Moven through your existing bank account, or you can deposit money on the included prepaid debit card account. Either way, the Moven app tracks the way you spend across different categories like groceries, transportation and dining, via its Spending Meter functionality.
Every time you make a purchase, Moven shows you how you’re doing according to an automatically generated budget. If the Spending Meter is green, you’re meeting your financial goals. If it’s yellow, you are approaching your expected spending limits. If it’s red, you know you need to spend less. Moven also looks at your daily spending in general and will give you color-coded information on spending spikes throughout the month.
If you have short-term savings goals, Moven provides a feature called “Moven Stash” where you can put this money aside until you need it for rent, a road trip or whatever your goal may be. It won’t earn any interest.
Moven prepaid debit account
The Moven account comes with a prepaid debit card and the ability to issue checks, albeit electronically. Checks can be written for between $10 and $4,000. This account does not pay interest, but it is insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation up to the legal limit.
The most complicated part of this account is its loading limits. If you are getting your paycheck deposited directly into your Moven account, there is no limit on how much you can deposit at once. However, there are maximums — and minimums — on other methods of account funding.
When you initially open your account, you must deposit between $50 and $500. Every time you reload your card, you must add between $10 and $2,500 for Automated Clearing House (ACH) transfers other than paychecks that are deposited directly. If that ACH transfer is coming from another bank, it will be limited to $1,000. If you’re doing a card-to-card transfer, you must stay between $10 and $750. The maximum you can load through Moven in a month is $10,000 (again, direct deposit paychecks are an exception).
You may also choose to make deposits via cash at convenience stores in the MasterCard rePower network. Moven does not charge a fee for this type of deposit, but the MasterCard rePower location will. Your funds will be available immediately.
Finally, you can deposit checks via your phone using the Ingo app. The standard fee for cashing a check with Ingo is $5. Depending on how many checks you cash a month and the type of check (personal, payroll or government), fees for checks beyond $125 to $500 vary from 1% to 5%. If you can wait 10 days to access your funds, the fee will be waived.
Daily ATM withdrawals are capped at $500, while total daily spending is limited to $10,000. You will not run into any overdraft fees since Moven will not approve a purchase if there are insufficient funds in your account. It’s impossible to overdraw.
Moven budgeting and spending tools
To figure out if your Spending Meter should display green, yellow or red, Moven projects your spending. It does this by averaging your past spending by category. That means the longer you have your account, the more accurate the average will be. By the same token, the longer you use your account, the less impact a particularly good or bad month will have on your average.
In addition to the color-coded notifications and Moven’s algorithm that learns to predict your projected spending, the Stash feature allows you to budget. You can set expenses as milestones, whether they’re mundane things, such as a utility bill, or once-in-a-lifetime expenses, such as your best friend’s baby shower. By scheduling these, you can ensure you’ve budgeted for both expenses ahead of time.
How much does Moven cost?
Moven doesn’t charge many of the fees you usually see, such as maintenance or overdraft fees. But some of its fees are not as common elsewhere.
Let’s take the account closure fee, for example, which is not a fee you find on all checking accounts. You’ll pay $10 at Moven to shut your account.
While Moven doesn’t charge any ATM fees when you use the STAR network, you may incur a fee if you use an ATM outside of this network. The fee would be charged by the out-of-network ATM owner. The STAR network has over 40,000 surcharge-free ATMs across the country, so finding one might not be difficult.
Moven doesn’t charge to replace your card — at least not the first two times a year. If you lose your card more often than that, the fee is $4.99 for each subsequent incident. If you want expedited shipping on your replacement card, there is a $30 fee.
Moven is not a great account to use if you’re traveling internationally or to an area where U.S. dollars aren’t accepted. Moven has several fees on these transactions, and they can compound.
First, you’ll have to pay an EFT fee of 1% every time you use your Moven account outside of the U.S. If you’re using an international ATM, you’ll have to pay an additional 1% fee.
Regardless of how you’re accessing your Moven account, you will also have to pay a 3% currency exchange fee when you are charged in a currency different than U.S. dollars. That means that if you’re making an international transaction, the fees could be 1% if there’s no currency conversion. Otherwise, it’d be 4%.
Here’s a breakdown of Moven’s fees:
|ATM fees||None, unless charged by an out-of-network ATM owner|
|International ATM withdrawal fee||1%|
|Card replacement fee||2 free replacements per year; each subsequent replacement is $4.99|
|Paper statement fee*||$5|
|Expedited shipping on card replacement||$30|
|Account closure fee||$10|
|Currency conversion fee||3%|
The Moven mobile app experience
Moven’s mobile app is the entire reason to get an account. The app notifies you of where you stand with your money in real time, creating an immediate prompt that can help you modify your behavior. At any point, you can check your spending and see if you’re in red, yellow or green, curbing your purchases as necessary.
The app doesn’t just track the money in your Moven account, either. While one reason to link your personal banking account to Moven is to establish a funding source, another is that the app can track all of the spending on your linked accounts. It can also track credit card spending, though you cannot fund your Moven account with a credit card.
The app will split your expenditures into three categories: wants, needs and other. The wants category includes line items such as travel, dining and entertainment. Needs are things such as rent, utilities and health care expenses. In the other category, you’ll have miscellaneous line items such as gifts, business expenses and account transfers.
This gives you a holistic picture of your spending habits, income flow and how you can improve your money habits. In fact, you don’t have to open an account with Moven at all. You can use the app to track your spending with accounts you already have with other financial institutions — if you want to go that route.
As with other mobile-only apps, you don’t have a branch you can visit if you have any banking-related questions, so keep that in mind as you compare your options.
How to open a Moven account
To use Moven, you must be a U.S. citizen aged 18 or older with a Social Security number. You need a mobile device that runs on Android 4.1 or above, or iOS 8 or above.
While you can easily and quickly create your Moven profile via desktop, you will need to download the app via the App Store or Google Play to use all the features. If you do decide to use the account to track your spending in real time with the Spending Meter, it will take seven to 10 business days to receive your card.
If you need assistance during the process, you can get in touch with Moven via email or phone.
The pros and cons of Moven
- Immediate spending alerts serve as reminders to adjust your money habits
- You can link external accounts, potentially allowing you to track all your spending
- No maintenance, overdraft or domestic ATM fees charged by Moven
- Easy to open an account and use the app
- No interest
- Requirements for minimum and maximum deposits
- Numerous fees for international travelers
- Can deposit cash, but you will pay a fee
- Fee charged to close your account
Who should use Moven?
If you’re trying to change your spending habits, Moven can provide reinforcement. These behavioral goals are what would motivate the ideal user to download the app.
If you’re attempting to earn interest on your savings, access financial charting tools that allow you to incorporate your retirement savings or other investments or handle a lot of cash, this account is likely not a great fit for you.
This is even truer if you travel internationally regularly or you’re planning an extended stint abroad. While you’re outside the U.S., you will get hit with fees every time you spend money.
Moven isn’t a great place to grow your cash, but it can be a great way to modify undesirable spending habits in real time.