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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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APY

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Minimum deposit to open

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Fee$0 per month
Minimum deposit to open$0
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Review by


Cassidy Horton is a writer for Finder, specializing in banking and kids’ debit cards. She’s been featured on Legal Zoom, MSN, and Consolidated Credit and has a Bachelor of Science in Public Relations and a Master of Business Administration from Georgia Southern University. When not writing, you can find her 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 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.

How do I open a Cleo account?

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

  1. Go to the provider’s site and follow the steps to apply..
  2. Select Get started.
  3. Enter your Facebook messenger email and password and click Continue.
  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 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.

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 APY Minimum deposit to open ATMs Out-of-network ATM fee
Aspiration Spend & Save Account
Finder Rating: 3.8 / 5: ★★★★★
Aspiration Spend & Save Account
Up to 1.00%
$10
55,000 free in-network ATMs
$0
Deposits are fossil fuel-free and insured by the FDIC. Enjoy a spend and save combo account with unlimited cash back rewards and a $100 bonus when you spend $1,000 in your first 60 days.
Citibank® Account Package
Citibank® Account Package
0.50%
$0
No access to ATMs
$2.50
Earn a $300 bonus after opening new eligible checking and savings accounts and completing required activities.
HSBC Premier Checking
Finder Rating: 2.7 / 5: ★★★★★
HSBC Premier Checking
0.01%
$1
Free to use at all ATMs in the US
$0
Get a 3% cash bonus in the first six months (up to $600) or $450 welcome bonus when you open your account with qualifying activities. Must open HSBC Premier checking account through offer page by June 30, 2021, and set up qualifying direct deposits into the new account. Conditions apply. Deposit products are offered in the US by HSBC Bank USA, N.A. Member FDIC.
Chime Spending account
Finder Rating: 4.7 / 5: ★★★★★
Chime Spending account
N/A
$0
38,000 fee-free ATMs nationwide
$2.50
Get rid of fees with this financial app offering consumer-friendly accounts. Chime can also help you save easily and access your paycheck faster.
Axos Bank Essential Checking
Finder Rating: 5 / 5: ★★★★★
Axos Bank Essential Checking
N/A
$0
ATM fees reimbursed at any ATM nationwide
No fees. Unlimited domestic ATM fee reimbursements.
OnJuno
Finder Rating: 4.8 / 5: ★★★★★
OnJuno
Up to 2.15%
$0
more than 85,000 ATMs nationwide
$0
OnJuno embraces an open banking system for everyone, regardless of their age, location, or income.
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