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Meet Cleo review

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Meet the AI friend you can chat to about your finances.

Cleo is an AI program that helps you gain control of your finances by monitoring your spending and saving habits. But it requires access to your bank account and you’ll pay $5.99 a month for premium features like salary advances.

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Details

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Minimum deposit to open$0

Expert review

Cassidy Horton

Review by


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.

Expert review

Cleo is an artificially intelligent bot that helps you stay in control of your finances. Through the mobile app, you can create a budget, schedule upcoming bills, save money and more. Anytime you have a question about your finances, simply open the app and ask Cleo. It will tell you anything from your current account balance to whether you can afford to eat out tonight.

But if you’re already a pro budgeter, or don’t like the idea of giving up your bank logins, this financial solution might not be a fit.

How does Cleo work?

Cleo‘s creators strongly believe in the power of new technologies to help us manage finances better. Since its launch in 2016 Cleo has grown exponentially, currently helping 400,000+ US users have a clearer and more positive relationship with their budgeting. In the future, Cleo has plans to let you send money to friends, make investments and keep track of your credit score.

By providing Cleo with your online banking login, it’s able to securely analyze your transaction data. It uses the information to chat with you on Facebook Messenger or in the app, where you can ask it to:

  • Set and keep track of daily, weekly or monthly budgets.
  • Check your direct debits.
  • View your balance.
  • Check latest transactions
  • View your spending habits split up into categories.

How to sign up

Sign up for Cleo on your mobile phone using these steps:

  1. Download the official Cleo app from the Apple Store or Google Play.
  2. Open the app and click I’m new here.
  3. Enter your name and email and click Sign up.
  4. Click Open my email, then Log in to Cleo.
  5. Select any notifications you want to receive, including overdraft alerts, upcoming bills and direct deposits and then click Let’s do it.
  6. Click Sign up now and log in to your bank account using your username and password.

Once you sign up, you can buy a Cleo Plus subscription by typing Cleo Plus into the chatbox. The bot will then walk you through the subscription process.

How much does it cost?

Cleo offers a free plan and a paid plan:

Plan and packagesMonthly priceFeatures
CleoFree
  • Get advice on spending and saving habits
  • Create a budget
  • Set spending limits
  • Save money manually or automatically using Cleo Wallet
Cleo Plus$5.99Everything in the Cleo plan, plus:
  • Salary advance up to $100
  • Up to 7% cash back when you shop at certain stores like Nike, Airbnb and Starbucks
  • 2% interest on Cleo Wallet savings

If you have a Cleo Plus subscription, you’ll pay for it every month using the debit or credit card that’s linked to your account.

What are the pros and cons of Cleo?

Pros

  • Fast sign-up process. It takes less than two minutes to sign up for Cleo.
  • Easy to use. Contact Cleo from the Messenger app at any time.
  • Intelligent insights. Get instant insights into your budget and spending.
  • Advanced features. Cleo Plus members can get up to 7% cash back on rotating purchases and salary advances up to $100.
  • Additional protection for your money. Cleo is so confident in your safety that they pledge to cover you up to $250,000 for any security breaches.

Cons

  • $5.99 monthly fee. If you want to take advantage of the free salary advance and cashback offers, you’ll need to buy a Plus subscription.
  • Not for those who actively budget. Cleo may not be useful for people who are already in the habit of saving.
  • Access to financial information. You’re required to give Cleo access to your bank account information.

Case study: Dawn’s experience – April 2019

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Dawn Daniels
Associate Editor

The Cleo app might be a good choice for people who have trouble staying on top of their finances. But as someone who always knows what’s in my account, I didn’t find it particularly useful. It’s made me much more aware of how much I spend eating out, but sometimes it can be a bit of a nuisance. It’ll message me at random times to let me know how much I’ve spent this month in certain categories, and I wish it would only display financial information when I ask it to.

It’s also not great at categorizing expenses — it’s marked a money order as “eating out” a few times now. Overall, it keeps me up-to-date on my account balance, which is nice, but the features aren’t as advanced as I’d hoped.

Is Cleo safe to use?

Cleo gains read-only access to your account, meaning it can only view encrypted transactions — it can’t move money into or out of your account.

Your credentials will never be stored on Cleo‘s servers, and the company uses bank-level bank-level encryption to keep your data safe.

Compare checking accounts to connect to Cleo

Name Product Minimum deposit to open ATMs Out-of-network ATM fee
HSBC Advance Checking
$0
Surcharge-free HSBC ATMs nationally and internationally, plus up to four rebates a month for using non-HSBC ATMs in all US states except New York
Get up to $270 (max. $50 per month) for eligible new customers who open an HSBC Advance checking account. Conditions apply. Deposit products are offered in the US by HSBC Bank USA, N.A. Member FDIC.
Chase Total Checking
$0
Access to 16,000 ATMs and nearly 4,900 branches nationwide
$2.50
Get a $200 bonus when you open a new Chase Total Checking account and set up direct deposit within 60 days of opening your account. Chase's simplest checking account is easy to use and gives you access to 16,000 ATMs and nearly 4,900 branches. Available online nationwide except in Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico.
BBVA Free Checking
$25
1,000 fee-free ATMs across the country
$3
Pay a $0 monthly service charge and get free access to BBVA ATMs.
Chime Spending account
$0
38,000 fee-free ATMs nationwide
$2.50
Linked checking and savings accounts from a mobile-first bank that’s light on fees.
Citibank® Account Package
Citibank® Account Package
$0
No access to ATMs
$2.50
Earn a $400 bonus after opening new eligible checking and savings accounts and completing required activities.
Chase Premier Plus Checking
$0
Access to 16,000 ATMs and nearly 4,900 branches nationwide
$2.50
Get a $300 signup bonus as a new Chase checking customer when you open a Chase Premier Plus Checking account and set up direct deposit. Available online nationwide except in Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico.
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