This AI penguin helps you set financial goals, create a budget, track your spending — for free.
Ever wish you had an assistant who monitored your transactions, found ways to cut down on spending and answered nearly any personal finance question? As it turns out, there’s an AI penguin for that. But you’ll need to allow access to your Facebook account and it doesn’t negotiate bills on your behalf.
Cassidy Horton is a writer for Finder, specializing in banking and investments. She has a Bachelor of Science in Public Relations and a Master of Business Administration from Georgia Southern University. Cassidy enjoys educating people about financial services, exploring the Pacific Northwest and watching endless reruns of The Office.
If you’re looking for a free AI assistant to help with an array of financial tasks, Charlie may be a good fit. This virtual penguin monitors spending, notifies you when account balances are low and can answer nearly every question imaginable about your financial accounts. But it exclusively uses Facebook Messenger and it can’t negotiate or pay bills on your behalf.
How does Charlie work?Charlie is a chat-based AI penguin that communicates with you through Facebook Messenger. Once you connect your bank or credit card account, Charlie analyzes your accounts and offers personalized alerts and recommendations. Charlie answers nearly any personal finance question instantly. It creates budgets, sets spending limits, identifies unwanted subscriptions, retrieves account balances, calculates spending categories, sets financial goals and more. Charlie supports over 14,000 financial institutions. It doesn’t negotiate bills or fees on your behalf, but it does partner with BillShark for these services.
How to sign up
Sign up for Charlie in five steps:
- Go to the official Charlie website and click Sign Up For Free.
- Sign in to Facebook Messenger. Click Get Started.
- Click Sign Me Up.
- Read Charlie’s permission policy then click Sounds Good.
- Connect your bank account or credit card and wait while Charlie analyzes your transactions.
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If you’re looking for an app that negotiates and pays bills on your behalf, check out our guide to budgeting for beginners.
How much does it cost?Charlie is 100% free. The company is self-funded and doesn’t offer any services that cost money.
Is Charlie safe to use?
Yes. Charlie uses the same 256-bit SSL encryption that banks use. It never stores login information and it never sells your personal data. Although Charlie has access to your financial information, it doesn’t have access to the money in those accounts.
Although Facebook Messenger is required,, Facebook won’t have access to your bank data or transactions. Earlier this year Facebook announced their commitment to increase end-to-end encryption for all their messaging apps, so only they can read you messages.
What are the pros and cons of Charlie?
- Free. Users don’t pay a dime to use Charlie.
- Simple setup process. Log in to Facebook, connect a bank account and begin chatting with Charlie.
- Saves time. Charlie can tell you everything from how much money you spent on Uber last month to how much you need to save per week for your next vacation.
- Ask questions 24/7. As soon as a question pops into your head, pull out your phone and chat with Charlie. It’s as easy as texting a friend.
- Sets financial goals. The AI penguin does more than just spout back financial information. It helps you create a budget and reach financial goals.
- Charlie uses Facebook. It’s not ideal for those without a Facebook account.
- Virtual assistant. You’re chatting with a robotic penguin about your personal finances. There’s no person to ask if you have other questions.
- Can’t perform actions on your behalf. Charlie identifies weak points in your personal finances, but you’re responsible for following through on its recommendations.