Are you constantly having trouble keeping track of your finances? Does tracking your active subscriptions seem too tedious? Do you fall prey to unhealthy spending behaviors and make bad financial decisions? If your answer to the above questions was a resounding yes, then you might be in dire need of a personal finance app like Clarity Money.
Clarity Money is one of the most popular management apps out there. Founded in 2016, it acquired a fan following for its ease of use and functionality. In 2018, Goldman Sachs acquired it for a whopping $100 million. While Clarity Money continued its successful run for a couple of years, it eventually was shut down. This decision came on the back of Goldman Sachs deciding to direct their efforts at creating a financial service of their own called Marcus.
Keeping this in mind, this article will take you through the features that Clarity Money had to offer and compare them against what Marcus by Goldman Sachs brings to the table.
What is Clarity Money?
Created by venture capitalist Adam Dell, Clarity Money is an AI-powered financial aid that aims to bring all your personal finances under one platform. All you need to do is link your bank accounts to the app. The process is rather simple and will only take a couple of minutes at best. They’re compatible with over 9,000 financial establishments from across the country.
Once you link your bank account, you’ll see multiple tabs displaying relevant information like accounts, transactions, and settings. By analyzing your spending patterns, Clarity Money’s proprietary AI suggests ways to cut back on overspending. This allows users to take charge and make smart financial decisions.
Clarity Money App: Pros
Now that we’ve understood how Clarity Money works, here’s a detailed look at its various features:
Balances and transactions
This is the first information that you’ll come across once your login details are authenticated and accounts are linked. The app displays your current account balances, investment portfolio, credit card details, and debt. Your recent transactions show up in the next section.
The addition to this rather standard feature is the inclusion of logos of the brands and companies that you’ve sent or received money from. This subtle visual cue makes it easier to process information for an average consumer.
Reminders and graphics
Reminder widgets come in handy, ensuring that you don’t miss out on an important deadline. Yet another useful feature is infographics that depict your cumulative income against the money you’re spending within a specified time period. This gives you an idea of whether your spending pattern is healthy or not.
Integration of investment platforms like Acorns
One of the ways that Clarity Money makes money is by tie-ins with investment apps like Acorn. They end up getting a commission on every user that signs up. This integration means that you can view your current settings, making the whole process of investment seem seamless. But to make changes in your portfolio, you need to make changes on the Acorns app.
Budgeting is one of the most popular features of this personal financing app. Clarity Money gives you the chance to set up spending caps across different categories like shopping or entertainment.
You’ll be alerted once your spendings cross the specified amount. In addition to this, you can also track how much money you’ve spent on a specific retailer over the course of a week, month, or year.
Another cool feature on offer is the “Anything you’d like to cancel” widget. Here, you can look through your active subscriptions and cancel them if it isn’t of any use to you anymore. Log into your Clarity Money app, head to the cancellation widget, select the service you wish to terminate, and submit a form.
That’s how simple it is. This holds true for popular services like Spotify or Hulu. But, in some cases, you might be redirected to the Contact Us section of a company’s web page.
Credit Score checks
Via its tie-in with VantageScore 3.0, the Clarity Money app lets you check your credit score once a month for no additional cost. This will in no way impact your credit score.
You can enable push notifications to send you a quick message in instances like:
- For when you receive a payment
- When your account balance is dangerously low
- Any upcoming bills and pending payments
- If your weekly spendings coincide with your budget
Additional benefits: Clarity Money savings
Clarity Money users can create a custom online savings account. You get to pick the account from where the money will be redirected towards the savings account. For instance, you can decide to put aside $15 every week from your primary account to get the latest iPhone or go backpacking through Asia.
Unlike in a conventional bank, the app does not charge you to keep your savings account active. You have unrestricted access to the funds at all times, unlike in a fixed deposit. The annual percentage yield was an unheralded 1.05%. Meanwhile, Marcus by Goldman Sachs upped this number to 1.35%.
Clarity Money App – Cons
While Clarity Money has many useful features, it’s received flak for its lack of options to customize the app. It doesn’t allow you to attach budget categories of your own.
You’ll need to stick to the preset configurations. For instance, if you’d like to create a new category for, let’s say, “gym equipment,” the app doesn’t let you do that. This custom category would instead be merged along with a broader category like “Shopping.”
The same applies to moving blocks on the money management tile. You’ll need to scroll all the way down to access the details of a specific brand or company of your interest. But, if integrations like Acorns aren’t of any use to you, you can delete them.
On the other hand, manual inputs are not allowed since the app only tracks recent transactions from the accounts you’ve linked.
Marcus by Goldman Sachs
Having understood the merits and demerits of Clarity Money, the next obvious step is taking a closer look at its replacement, Marcus by Goldman Sachs. How does this relatively new service stack up against the original?
Similar to Clarity Money, Marcus lets its users connect their bank accounts. The app provides a detailed description of a consumer’s spending habits, savings, and investment options.
On the other hand, the budgeting tools that were a hit among the users of the Clarity Money seem to have been removed. This could be a deal-breaker for users that were dependent on the app to cut down on their spendings.
But, the platform is cleverly designed and is easy to use. Bank details get linked up in no time at all thanks to the use of a similar interface as its predecessor. The global giant will be hoping that the familiarity would convince the users of Clarity Money to continue with Marcus.
If you aren’t admittedly happy with Marcus, here are a couple of other options worth considering:
This app’s overall look and feel is fairly reminiscent of the beloved personal finance app, Clarity Money. The first dashboard gives you a break-up of all your accounts with the current balances.
But, unlike Marcus by Goldman Sachs, it does house the budgeting tool. A line graph showing your spending pattern is placed smack in the center to make you think twice before making another hasty purchase.
The only real drawback of this elegantly designed app is getting your account linked up. Instead of letting you integrate the account onto the app directly, it redirects you to the bank’s web page. You’ll need to authenticate the sign-in in order to finish the set-up process.
While the process isn’t all that tedious, it might be a bit taxing for users of Clarity Money or Marcus.
The app’s design allows users to know how much money remains from the allocated budget. While the app is fairly simple to use, it makes use of a third-party service called Finicity to track your finances. So, you’ll need to get on board with the terms and conditions before getting started on PocketGuard.
Clarity Money was nothing short of a trailblazer in the personal finance space. It became a raging hit owing to its large number of highly useful features. This included linking up multiple bank accounts at once, tracking finances, and analyzing spending patterns. In addition, users could earn interest on an online savings account thanks to its unique savings program.
The shutdown of Clarity Money by Goldman Sachs is sure to leave an unfillable void in the market space. Its replacement, Marcus, might be a sleeker alternative, but this comes at the cost of omitting some key features like budgeting. As it stands, the newly improved version of Mint might be the closest one might get to replacing a trusted app like Clarity Money.