Shannon Terrell is a senior writer for Finder who has written over 400 personal finance guides. With a focus on investments and personal finance, she breaks down jargon-laden topics to help others make informed financial decisions. She studied communications and English literature at the University of Toronto.
What does Personal Capital offer?
Personal Capital offers three main services that help you analyze your finances, organize and manage your portfolio and maintain savings with no deposit requirements or transaction limits.
Personal Capital’s financial software can help you slice and dice your financial data for a clear picture of your spending and path to retirement. It offers up practical tools to calculate your net worth, identify hidden fees and recommend investment improvements. The best part? The software is free to use and available with just an email address and phone number.
The company’s wealth management service is for high-net-worth clients with at least $100,000 to invest to qualify. Investments are selected through a combination of investing algorithms and the expertise of human wealth managers based on a passive investing approach.
Instead of moving your money in and out of the stock market, it puts your funds in a variety of investments and waits for the market to grow as a whole. This is the hallmark of a diversified portfolio. The company offers features and levels of service that vary by investment level with annual management fees that range from 0.49% to 0.89%.
Cash savings account
Personal Capital Cash is an online savings account offering 0.05% APY with no deposit requirements or monthly fees. And unlike most other savings accounts, Cash doesn’t limit the transactions you can make monthly.
The account isn’t without its drawbacks. For example, you don’t get a debit card, which means you can’t access money through an ATMs — only ACH transfer. And unlike with most banks, your Cash account is spread among up to five banks. This could increase transit time if you need to make a deposit, withdrawal or transfer.
Who is it best for?
Personal Capital service offerings make it a practical choice for:
Hands-off investors. Passive investors looking for hands-off portfolio management may be interested in this company’s wealth management service.
Budget-conscious investors. Active investors looking to organize their finances with the perk of investment guidance can use its free financial software.
Savers. It doesn’t cost a dime to open a Personal Capital Cash savings account, and you can complete the application online.
This wealth management firm’s unique trio of services allows it to cater to both active and passive investors. Those looking to ditch the transaction limitations imposed by traditional savings accounts may be interested in the free Personal Capital Cash savings account, but its low 0.05% APY is far from competitive in the online saving sphere.
For passive investors with at least $100,000, Personal Capital’s portfolio management service offers customized portfolios, retirement plans, college savings accounts, tax-loss harvesting and more — all under the guidance of investing algorithms and human financial advisers.
And for active investors that can’t afford the $100,000 minimum deposit for Personal Capital’s portfolio management, the firm’s free financial software serves up a suite of practical tools for managing investments and finances.
How easy is it to use?
Signup for all accounts is simple, straightforward and easy to navigate. Apply online to access the platform’s financial dashboard with only an email address and phone number.
The platform itself features a clean, crisp design with drop-down menus to organize services, including banking charts, investing data, planning tools and information about its wealth management service. The platform’s tidy, intuitive design makes it easy to toggle between tools and tasks.
What tools does it provide?
Personal Capital’s financial dashboard is free to use and offers a host of tools to help you better understand your finances.
Net worth calculator
Put all of your financial accounts in one place: your checking, savings, investment and IRA accounts, as well as credit cards, mortgage and home equity loans. From that information, Personal Capital calculates your net worth and keeps it current.
Budgeting and cash flow analysis
Set monthly spending goals and track your spending and savings by date, category and merchant. You also get monthly summaries of your accounts to help you better understand how you spend your money.
Get insight into fees you’re paying for your mutual funds and retirement accounts:
Custodial fees. Charged for the safekeeping of your securities.
Inactivity fees. Charged if you haven’t had buy or sell activity in your account for a period of time.
12b-1 fees. Collected by a mutual fund for marketing and distribution costs.
Expense ratios. Fees charged annually by funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) for general expenses.
A tool combs through your portfolio and recommends improvements based on your financial goals. The result is a portfolio that fits your risk tolerance while maximizing your returns.
Your retirement may be many years in the future, but today’s spending and saving strategies will affect your ability to retire. Personal Capital helps you analyze your current financial habits and recommends changes to improve it.
Create education-oriented savings goals with the name of the student you’d like to budget for, followed by their birth year and education goal. A calculator factors in tuition, room, board and books to help you plan your savings in the years to come.
What can Personal Capital’s advisors help me with?
Personal Capital’s advisory services are only available to investors with portfolios of $100,000 or more. The process begins with an introductory meeting, where you discuss your investment goals with a registered financial adviser.
You then receive account management support to help you shift your assets to your new Personal Capital portfolio. The advisory team begins crafting your personalized investment strategy based on your short- and long-term goals.
The company’s portfolio management approach encompasses tax optimization, smart weighting, dynamic portfolio allocation and socially responsible investing options.
Pricing and fees
Both Personal Capital’s Cash savings account and financial software are free. For wealth management, the company charges an annual management fee of 0.49% to 0.89% that depends on how much you’ve invested.
Personal Capital’s portfolio management fees are on the pricey side. Both Betterment and Wealthfront charge just 0.25% for their passive investing services — although these software-only services don’t provide the personalized service of financial advisers.
Here’s how Personal Capital’s annual wealth management fees pan out.
First $1 million
First $3 million
Next $2 million
Next $5 million
$10 million or more
Personal Capital’s expense ratios hold up pretty well at a weighted average of 0.08%. For comparison, Wealthfront’s average is 0.08%, while Betterment’s is 0.12%.
What is Personal Capital?
Founded in 2009, Personal Capital is a wealth management company based in San Carlos, California. It boasts more than 1.6 million users and $6.5 billion in assets under management. It’s accredited by the Better Business Bureau and has no registered complaints on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
Personal Capital is a registered investment advisor with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Deposits in Personal Capital Cash savings accounts are spread across five institutions, allowing FDIC insurance for up to $1.25 million.
How does Personal Capital keep my money safe?
Personal Capital protects data submitted through its website with next-generation AES-256 encryption, multilayer key management and Elliptic-curve Diffie–Hellman (ECDH) key exchange. Each new device that accesses your account must be authenticated with Touch ID authentication for iPhone users and mobile-only PINs for iOS and Android devices.
The platform uses an Extended Validation SSL certificate, Online Certificate Status Protocol (OCSP) stapling and HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS) technology.
Personal Capital reviews and complaints
Personal Capital reviews are favorable overall. It’s an accredited business with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), which awards it an A rating based on internal criteria that includes years in business and response to customer complaints.
As of October 2020, personal Capital maintains an impressive TrustScore of 4.3 out of 5 based on 616 reviews on Trustpilot. The platform’s mobile app is similarly well received, scoring 4.4 out of 5 stars on Google Play after 12,808 reviews and 4.7 out of 5 stars in the Apple App Store after 26,853 reviews.
Investors on Reddit and Trustpilot speak highly of the platform’s financial tools, praising a clean user interface and intuitive design. A few reviews mention the occasional lapse in connectivity, but these complaints are few and far between. Others complain of being pestered to upgrade to paid financial services after signing up for the app.
Aliyyah Camp Publisher
Personal Capital is the only money management tool I’ve successfully used.
I’ve tried Mint and Well Fargo’s in-app tool. Mint required me to manually input too many details for a realistic picture of my finances. And Wells Fargo didn’t connect to accounts I have with other financial institutions.
What I like most about Personal Capital is the net worth graph. It gives me a high-level overview of how I’m tracking over time across my accounts. I don’t find the monthly budgeting tool helpful, because I have big expenses that sometimes cross over months. For example, if my rent clears on the first of April and then next month’s check clears on the last day of April, April’s budget looks like I overspent, while May’s budget looks like I have more cash flow.
With any of these money-management apps, you connect your accounts by logging in to each one through the app. Although logins are secure and Personal Capital doesn’t store your passwords, you may not be comfortable with a third-party app having that kind of access.
Pros and cons
Free tools. It’s free to use a robust suite of financial tools.
Unlimited transactions. Unlike many savings accounts, Personal Capital Cash doesn’t limit how often you can move money through it.
Well reviewed. The company maintains a solid reputation across multiple review platforms.
Mobile app. Access your accounts on the go on Android or iOS.
High portfolio minimum. You’ll need at least $100,000 to access portfolio management services.
Limited support. Customer service is available weekdays only.
Pressure to upgrade. Many customers mention multiple phone calls for financial advising services after signing up for an account.
How do I sign up?
The signup process depends on which account you’re signing up for.
Apply online in minutes for the Personal Capital Cash:
Visit the Personal Capital website and click Cash Management at the top of the page.
Click Open Your Account Now.
Enter your email and phone number, create a password and click Sign Up for Free Tools.
Enter your full name, residential address and click Continue.
Enter your date of birth, Social Security number and driver’s license or state ID number. Click Continue.
Review account details and submit your application.
Create an account in three steps:
Click Get Started.
Enter your email address and phone number.
Create a password and click Sign Up.
To apply for Personal Capital’s wealth management service, you must first create an account:
Click the Wealth Management tab from Personal Capital’s homepage.
Click Start Today.
Enter your email address and phone number. Create a password and click Sign Up.
Click Open an Account from your personal dashboard under the Wealth Management tab.
Enter the account information for the accounts you’d like Personal Capital to manage, including the name of the financial institution, account type and account number.
Upload a recent statement for each account you’ve added to help Personal Capital verify your accounts.
Personal Capital will suggest an account type that best fits your asset classes.
Wait for up to 48 hours for a review. Once your account is approved, authorized transfers are completed.
How do I contact Personal Capital support?
Touch base with Personal Capital by phone or email:
Phone. Call 855-855-8005 weekdays from 5 a.m. to 6 p.m. PT.
Email. Send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Compare with other robo-advisors
If you want to open an online savings account, analyze your finances or have your portfolio managed by a team of personal advisers, Personal Capital is worth considering. It’s free to open a savings account and sign up for its financial software, but expect frequent contact about upgrading to paid services.
Log in, click Profile and Settings and then Delete User Account. You’ll need to confirm your identity by entering your password, then type DELETE in all-caps to confirm the deletion.
No. You must transfer money to your linked account and set up direct deposit or bill pay there.
Transfers typically take one to two business days. However, deposits are held for up to three business days, and affiliated banks where your money is stored may require up to seven days before transferring money back into your account.
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