10 Personal Finance Apps For Millennials

Written by Leela Sanikop
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Millennials are savvy consumers of technology, but the big banks have done a terrible job of building products for them, according to the maker of a personal finance app for millennials. Here are 10 personal finance apps that have filled the gap. Where available, we’ve provided user ratings based on Apple App Store user reviews. The number next to the star reflects how many reviews the app has had.


Acorns

Description: Investing was for the wealthy. Now it’s time for everyone. Acorns claims to help users save and invest small amounts regularly into their own diversified portfolio, starting with spare change. The app claims to have 1 million users.

Features:

  • Invest your spare change into a diversified portfolio of ETFs of over 7,000 stocks and bonds automatically.
  • Easily invest more with recurring investments.
  • Watch your progress.
  • SIPC Protected – up to $500,000 is protected against fraud so your money is secure.
  • Access to an online personal finance publication, Grow Magazine.
  • Withdraw anytime at no charge.

Price: Acorns costs $1 per month for accounts investing less than $5,000. After $5,000, the fee switches to 0.25 percent per year.

Forbes: “The app makes investing effortless.”

ABC News: “If you set aside just $5 every couple of days you would have set aside $1,000 in a year.”

Wired: “Acorns simplified the often tedious and complex process of investing.”

US News: “Acorns offers a unique solution to overcoming the mental barrier: ‘I just don’t have enough money to be investing.’”

Robinhood

Description: Free stock trading. Instead of paying up to $10 for every trade, people can buy and sell stocks on Robinhood with a free download on iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. View market data in real-time, build a personalized watchlist and place trades with a few taps.

Features:

  • Free trading refers to $0 commissions for Robinhood Financial self-directed individual cash or margin brokerage accounts trade U.S. listed securities via mobile devices.
  • SEC & FINRA regulatory fees may apply
  • Access market data and quotes in real-time
  • Build a personalized stock watchlist with historical market data and detailed charts
  • Track your portfolio through our Notification Center widget
  • Protects securities customers of its members up to $500,000.

“Our investors are saying ‘we haven’t ever seen a finance company that’s managed to grow like an internet company,’” Robinhood co-founder Baiju Bhatt told Telecrunch. Robinhood has 2 million active users, up from 1 million in October, and it’s now adding around 140,000 accounts per month. That’s more accounts than E*TRADE added in all of 2016.

Stash Invest

Description: Stash describes itself as investing made easy.

Features:

  • Protected up to $500,000.
  • Invest as little as $5 to start and gradually build your investments on Stash.
  • Withdraw your money at any time.
  • Buy fractional shares of exchange-traded funds so you can invest just the amount of money you can afford.
  • Learn how to invest with Stash with educational content that will help you develop smarter financial habits. The app provides simple savings and investment tips so that you can learn how to invest with greater confidence.
  • Choose recurring automatic investment schedule and Auto-Stash will deposit cash into your account or invest it directly into pre-selected funds in your portfolio.

Price: Stash Invest is free for the first month. After that, it’s a $1 monthly fee. There are no charges for deposits or withdrawals, commissions or trading fees. When your account reaches $5,000, there’s a flat fee of 0.25 percent per year.

Financial firms are working to overcome the myth that “you have to be rich to invest,” said Brandon Kreig, CEO of Stash, in a USA Today interview.

Stash offers a “Clean & Green” portfolio that invests in solar, wind and other renewable energy companies.

Arielle O’Shea, analyst with personal finance website NerdWallet, described Stash as one of the best apps for beginning investors.

Learn

Description: Learn by Rubicoin is a free app that teaches you how to invest in the stock market with easy-to-understand, jargon-free, bite-sized lessons.

Features:

  • There are no quizzes or spreadsheets, just 40 lessons of original content designed to teach you the fundamental principles of investing in the stock market. Each lesson can be read in less than a minute and you are in control of when you learn.
  • Audio lessons have been recorded and embedded within the app so that you can also listen along with or without text.

One of Ireland’s largest fintech companies, Rubicoin has backers in the U.S. that include investment advice group the Motley Fool.

“There is no reason why new or inexperienced investors cannot be guided and coached to buy stocks in the brands they believe in and help shape their financial futures today,” said Rubicoin’s founder and CEO Emmet Savage, in a Silicon Republic interview. “Just buying one share in a company you love sets a lifelong pattern that can turn into a secure future. ”

Cheddar

Rating N/A

Description: A unique and live approach to news in technology, media, and entertainment. Cheddar is broadcast daily from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange with exclusive CEO and founder interviews, and profiles of technologies and companies transforming our lives.

Features with subscription:

  • Daily weekday updates from the stock exchange floor.
  • Exclusive interviews.
  • Company and startup profiles of companies you care about like Facebook, Uber, Airbnb, and Snapchat.
  • Business advice from experts and founders.

Price: Pay $2.99 a month with a 30-day free trial, renewing monthly or $29.99 a year with a 30-day free trial, renewing annually.

Cheddar bills itself as a “post-cable” financial news network for millennials, and claims to reach an audience of 1 million-plus live viewers daily, through distribution on Twitter, Dish Network’s Sling TV, Amazon Channels, Facebook and its own apps, among others, according to Variety.

In addition to the NYSE’s trading floor, Cheddar broadcasts live from the White House lawn and briefing room in Washington, D.C. and at locations around the world. It plans to start broadcasting from Los Angeles later in 2017.

Clarity Money

Description: Featured by Apple as one of the 2017 “New Apps We Love,” Clarity is a personal financial advocate. Clarity Money uses data science and machine learning to analyze your personal finances and help you make smarter decisions with your money. This free app will help you save money, plan your budget, track your spending, protect your credit score, lower your bills and manage all of your accounts in one place.

Features:

  • Stop unwanted accounts and subscriptions from charging you.
  • Find you better credit card deals based on spending habits.
  • Cancel and lower your bills.
  • Create savings account.
  • Transfer money between your bank accounts.
  • Generate your credit score for free.

Clarity Money uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to identify actions its users can take to save money. After downloading the app and linking up checking and credit card accounts, the app makes suggestions for subscriptions they can cancel, bills they can try to lower and refinancing options that might be available, Telecrunch reported:

The key value prop comes from reducing the friction associated with taking action on one’s finances. That means not only educating users about what’s happening with their money, but also enabling users to unsubscribe from services or take advantage of affiliate offers with a single click.

Clarity has saved users an average of $300 by helping them cancel subscriptions.

 

Digit

Description: Digit is a way to save money. Every day, Digit checks users’ spending habits and moves money from their checking account to their digit account, if they can afford it. Users can withdraw their money any time. Fast Company named Digit the second most innovative company in finance in 2017.

Features:

  • Digit saves money based on income and spending.
  • Digit allows unlimited transfers and has no account minimums.
  • Every three months Digit automatically pays a 1 percent savings bonus.
  • All funds held within Digit are held at FDIC-insured banks and insured up to a balance of $250,000.

Price: Digit is free to try. After a trial period, a monthly subscription costs $2.99 and can be canceled anytime.

Users complained on social media earlier this year after Digit emailed users to notify them of the fee change, and a spike in traffic caused the app to crash, CNN reported:

Digit has grown popular among millennials in the past 18 months for making saving not only effortless, but also (somewhat) fun, with engaging GIFs in its regular text updates about your checking account balance and how much you’ve saved. The service deducts small amounts from your checking account a couple times a week based on your spending habits. The money then goes into a separate Digit account that you can then transfer to a bank whenever you’re ready to make a withdrawal.

Mint

Description: Mint is a free money manager and financial tracker app from the makers of TurboTax that brings together your bank accounts, credit cards, bills and investments. You can see what you’re spending, where you can save money, stay on top of bill paying and keep track of your credit score.

Features:

  • See everything in one place
  • Manage bills and money together
  • Save time and money
  • Budget better
  • Be smart about your credit score
  • Say goodbye to late fees
  • Stay secure

What others are saying:

  • Time Magazine: The 50 best apps of the year 2016
  • Nerd Wallet: Financial Fitness
  • Wired: Best Apps for Budgeting your cash (2014)
  • Money Magazine: Best Finance tool for budgeting (2014)

SprinkleBit

Rating N/A

Description: SprinkleBit lets you learn to trade stocks for free and helps you make investment decisions by letting your friends and industry experts help you navigate the markets. There is no commission when you share the motivation behind your trades. You can learn how to trade, follow top investors, and invest for the future from an intuitive social investing platform.

Features:

  • Value Prediction Index stock and investor rating
  • $0 Commision (when sharing)
  • 5,000 SprinkleBucks for virtual/paper trading
  • Investing education
  • Your own investor/trader profile
  • Activity feed
  • Leaderboard
  • Portfolio
  • Watchlist
  • Chat
  • Market news

SprinkleBit is a social investing network and community started with the idea that crowdsourcing and technology can help people make better investment decisions, according to Benzinga. Its customers are tech savvy millennials looking for new ways to invest and manage their money, but there’s diversity among its users:

SprinkleBit’s most unique feature is its Value Prediction Index (VPI). The VPI algorithm uses recent stock trades made through SprinkleBit to score each stock based on whether the user community thinks its price will increase.

Matador

Rating N/A

Description: Matador is a free download that allows people to buy and sell stocks free of commissions. Matador enables you to make and share investments, become inspired by fellow traders and learn more about the stock market.

Features:

  • Buy and sell
  • Sharing your trades
  • Follow the community
  • Open accounts
  • Immediate funding
  • Portfolio

Here’s more on how Matador describes itself:

Until now, finance has been a black box, where nobody sees what anyone else is doing. It’s a sport played in the dark, a poker game in which you’ve never seen a professional play a hand. We’ve set out with a goal to change that.

We are addressing this lack of transparency by creating a Venmo-like social feed within a commission-free trading app. Matador open-sources the investment idea process, allowing users to share real portfolio information as well as verified trades. Essentially, we’re creating a whole new ecosystem by taking a transaction and turning it into an experience. We’re putting a face on the (stock) ticker.

The big banks have done a terrible job of building products around millennials. Social and zero-cost models are must-haves with this demographic. The app is super intuitive. Above all, simplicity wins here.

Matador made news this week when it announced that it has formed a brokerage partnership to expand its platform, Finance Magnates reported. Matador will offer brokerage services through T3 Securities, Inc., a registered SEC broker-dealer that operates as an introducing broker, offering services to retail and institutional customers. Through Matador, T3 will provide its users with mobile trading technology.

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