Having a half-dozen open lines of credit, two brokerage accounts, a checking and savings, plus a few thousand dollars in student loans can be a lot to manage. Fortunately, innovative companies have made it possible to easily monitor all of your accounts in one location. Popular apps like Mint, Toshl Finance, and Daily Budget all aim to bring our accounts under one roof to make managing our finances simpler and more efficient. Although these platforms are all well-designed, I felt like they were missing something. I also wanted an app that could also help me trim my bills and save money too.
During my search for an all-in-one solution, I stumbled across the Empower app. And lo and behold, Empower was exactly what I was looking for. I downloaded the app and had all of my financial accounts linked in less than 10 minutes. After that, I was on my way. I still use Empower to this day and am continually impressed what Empower provides. And best of all, it’s all free! In my opinion, Empower has truly created a superior product accomplishes its mission – to help users save more, spend less, and live a better life.
What is Empower?
Empower is a money management app designed to help users cut back on excessive spending, take control of their finances, and make their money work harder for them.
Like I mentioned earlier, Empower isn’t the only app that allows users to view their entire financial picture in one place. But that doesn’t mean Empower is like all those other apps and tools. In fact, Empower separates itself from the pack by providing unique, personalized recommendations specifically based on each user’s individual lifestyle and financial situation. For instance, let’s say you have $10,000 sitting around in a savings account you’ve linked to Empower. The app will probably make you aware of the benefits of opening a high-yield savings account. Plus, Empower recommends trusted financial institutions that can help you maximize those “under the mattress” funds.
How Much Does Empower Cost?
Empower’s basic service is completely free! I recommend that newbies start with the basic product and link their personal accounts. That way they can begin tracking their spending and get a sampling of the personalized recommendations that Empower provides.
Empower also offers a more advanced version called Empower Premium. For $3.99 a month (or $35.99 a year if you sign up for a full year), you can upgrade to the premium service and gain access to the following features:
- Custom categories to track your transactions
- Unlimited SpendTrackers that allow you to cap specific spending categories
- Access to experts who can answer your personal finance question
To date, I haven’t tried the Empower Premium product since the free version has satisfied my money management needs.
Furthermore, I feel that the consultation services aren’t something I’d look to Empower for. In my view, the more sophisticated tools that Empower Premium offers could come in handy if you have complex business accounts, but the free version is probably more than enough to get the job done for the Average Joe!
How Does Empower Make Money?
As of today, Empower’s basic service is free to use and Empower Premium is less than $4 a month. In order to maintain free and/or low-cost services, Empower needs to make money in other ways. To do so, Empower makes personalized product and service recommendations. When a user signs up for a service with an Empower partner, that partner compensates Empower for the referral.
Let me give you an example. A few months ago, I received an alert that my Verizon bill could probably be reduced using a service called Bill Shark. Users won’t ever incur any out-of-pocket expenses with Bill Shark because Bill Shark takes its fee directly from the savings the secure for users. I went along with Empower’s suggestion and let Bill Shark get to work negotiating a lower phone bill on my behalf. In the end, Bill Shark was successful and reduced my bill by $25! Bill Shark took their one-time fee from the $25 and shared a portion of their fee with Empower in exchange for the referral. It was a win-win-win situation!
I should also mention that Empower makes transparency a top priority. Any time Empower stands to receive compensation for promoting a product or service, Empower clearly discloses that relationship to you.
Empower’s Finest Features
Empower offers a wide range of features, all of which are designed to help you spend less and save more. Here’s a quick look a few of the features I’ve found most useful while using the app:
Empower’s home screen provides a general snapshot of your spending for the current month. It also provides and easy-to-understand graph so you can visualize your spending and instantly determine if your spending is on target for the month.
Once you’ve linked your financial accounts, Empower will analyze those accounts and search for opportunities to save you money. Empower will try to find ways to reduce your recurring bills or subscriptions, help you find a better savings account, or suggest credit cards or personal loans that best suit your lifestyle and goals.
Empower’s AutoSave feature allows users to automate their savings by selecting a percentage of every paycheck that they want to set aside. All you need to do is set your percentage and confirm that Empower is correctly identifying which transactions are your paychecks and where you want to deposit your savings. Once you’re all set up you’ll be ready to build your savings, pay off debt, and grow your investments without ever lifting a finger.
Empower makes it possible to show off the app to friends and family without having to reveal any of your private financial information. All you need to do is turn on the “scrambler mode” and Empower will automatically jumble up all the numbers in your app so you can safeguard your information.
Empower displays all transactions from your linked accounts on one page. The app will automatically categorize your transactions so you can quickly identify your spending habits. Empower also gives users an option to export their transactions from the app by sending an email with an password-protected, encrypted CSV file.
Empower recognizes recurring bills and subscriptions and uses this information to send you reminders about due dates and alerts if you happen to miss a payment. These types of notifications are easy to control within the app which makes it incredibly easy to stay on top of your bills and expenses.
Empower generates reports that provide a collection of information derived from your financial activities. These reports are an excellent way for users to get a macro-level view of how money flows in and out of their accounts.
Originally, Empower was only available for Apple iOS devices but is now available to Android users. Currently, you cannot access your account via their website. While I can only speak to my experience while using an Apple device, both versions have been praised for the streamlined design and user-friendly interface.
Is Empower Right for You?
Empower is a one stop shop for all your financial accounts. At its most basic level, Empower provides users with an easily digestible snapshot of their finances that makes organizing your finances effortless. And if you put Empower’s more sophisticated features to use, you can accomplish even more!
If you’re merely looking for an app to aggregate all of your financial accounts and transactions, then Empower is one of many options that can get the job done. But what truly sets Empower apart from the competition is its personalized recommendations. So if you’re interested in finding ways to slash your spending and make your money work harder for you, then Empower should be your first choice.