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Meet Cleo review

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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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 Fee Service fee Platforms
Chime Spending account
$0
iOS,Android
When you use your Chime card, Chime rounds up your purchase to the nearest dollar and transfers the rounded amount to your Chime Savings account. Plus, you can opt in to automatically transfer 10% of each paycheck into savings.
Digit
Digit savings is a microsavings app that helps you avoid overdrafts and passively set aside cash for short-term goals.
Bright
Free or a 6-month subscription of $53.94 or annual subscription of $83.88 for the Premium package
Secure a Brighter financial future
Trim
$0
33%
PC,Mac
Trim analyzes spending and offers personalized advice to help you reach your goals.
Tiller Money
PC,Mac
Use Tiller Money to automate your budgeting spreadsheets and pay off debt.
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Compare up to 4 providers

If you’re looking for a budgeting app with different features, compare top accounts until you find one that suits your needs.

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