Cleo App Review 2024 [Budgeting's Simple Now: Right or Not?]

Updated On: 07/22/2023
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Personal finance apps can be confusing, with numerous options vying for our attention.
The Cleo app has been making waves in this sea of apps with its unique approach to managing everyday finances.

This Cleo app review aims to shed light on the tool's features and determine if it makes budgeting as easy as it claims.

Being an observant member of the financial-tech space, I've come across my fair share of budgeting apps. However, few have piqued my interest quite like Cleo has.

Its conversational AI technology promises a user experience unlike any other. But does reality match expectations? Let’s dive in to find out!

What Is Cleo?

What Is Cleo?

At its core, Cleo is a comprehensive money management app that leverages the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and complex algorithms to track and analyze your spending habits.

Downloading and using the essential services of Cleo is entirely free. However, should you choose to maximize its potential, you can opt for a paid Cleo Plus subscription.

This opens doors to additional perks, including access to cash advances and tools for building credit.

Aimed primarily at tech-savvy Gen Z and younger millennial audiences, the app sports a bold design along with an intuitive chatbot interface that makes navigating your financial world easy as pie.

Just note: Cleo is not a bank, nor does it attempt to portray itself as one. FDIC insurance protections don't cover the funds stored in your Cleo Wallet or can earn interest.

What Does Cleo Do?

What Does Cleo Do?

Now you are introduced to Cleo. But what exactly does it do? This section will give you the tasks Cleo can do for you.

Creates Budget

One of the core functions of the Cleo app is its proficiency as a financial assistant. It provides simple and efficient avenues for budget creation and tracking.

You can either set your budgets manually or lean on the app's AI-powered recommendations for logical spending limits.

What's more? The app monitors your purchases, promptly sending alerts if you're dangerously close to pushing your budget over its limits.

Also, the versatility of Cleo allows you to set budgets specific to different time frames. Whether planning a weekend spree or an extensive holiday, Cleo ensures you avoid any financial hiccups.

Tracks Spending

Cleo offers comprehensive spending tracking at a basic level - you only need to link your bank account to gain access.

You can peep into your balance, explore various spending categories, and get an overall picture of your account status in one spot.

Perhaps this app is set apart because it facilitates an open conversation about your spending habits and budgets.

Ask away any questions, and Cleo uses the accrued data to provide relevant information, giving you a clear sense of where your money goes each month!

Saves Money Automatically

Cleo's free version does more than track spending - it analyzes this data to reveal hidden savings opportunities too!

There may be times when Cleo nudges users during frugal weeks to transfer cash into their linked savings account.

The beauty here lies in choice—users can decide which savings account the money goes towards, offering room for some strategic planning on investment or pursuing high-interest accounts!

Lets You Play Games

Who said finance couldn't be fun? A recent addition to Cleo's feature list is something they call The Cleo Game.

Targeted at trivia enthusiasts who love earning while they learn, it offers users weekly questions about their finances.

Whether it be saving strategies or wiser expenditure habits - understanding better ways of handling money becomes an enjoyable game here! The game opens every Saturday, with app notifications informing users when they're eligible to play.

Cleo awards a certain amount of money to a select number of players each week, potentially earning users $10 to $20 or more if they are lucky.

How Can You Start Using Cleo?

How Can You Start Using Cleo?

Jumping into the world of Cleo is surprisingly simple and doesn’t consume too much time.

Firstly, potential users need to connect their banking details to the app; this allows Cleo to analyze your spending patterns through its AI-imbued chatbot patiently.

Fear not, though, for your information is secure and used solely for crafting a personalized budget.

You can access Cleo through its mobile app or Facebook Messenger, according to your convenience. It's worth mentioning that the setup process is pretty quick and doesn’t involve much fuss.

Most central banks are supported on the platform; if your bank is the odd one out, you can request assistance from Cleo's dedicated support team.

What adds to Cleo’s charm is the ability to connect multiple bank accounts simultaneously.

All it takes are type-or-say-specific commands, making features like meticulous budgeting accessible at your fingertips.

While Cleo operates on a Freemium model, offering a suite of exciting features for free off the bat. I envisage many users might be tempted by Cleo's premium product - Cleo Plus - given the extra options available in that package.

What Is The Cleo's Subscription Plan?

What Is The Cleo's Subscription Plan?

Cleo offers two services: a free version to help you with basic budgeting and spending tracking and Cleo Plus, the premium subscription that unlocks additional features.

Cleo Plus comes for $5.99 per month (or approximately $72 annually). Here, we break down the standout features offered by Cleo Plus:

Cleo Clover

For starters, let's talk about Cleo Cover. This feature is an overdraft service exclusive for Cleo Plus members, allowing you to borrow up to $100 if you find yourself in a financial pinch.

The key highlight here is that no interest is charged on this loan – instead, users get 3 to 28 days to repay the borrowed amount.

Are you worried about any potential impact on your credit score? Fret not!

Cleo assures you that this service will not negatively affect your creditworthiness. As soon as you repay the loan, you can request another one immediately.

Cleo Daily Cash

Another primary perk of subscribing to Cleo Plus is access to Cleo Daily Cash - an instant cash-back feature for everyday spending.

Here’s how it works: You choose up to five preferred stores as "Money Makers." Every time you shop at these selected retailers, wait for cash-back rewards to roll into your Cleo Wallet.

This feature provides up to 7% cash back when purchases are made through sponsored links termed "Bigger Buys."

Completing tasks via 'Cleo Rewards' also earns users small monetary rewards deposited directly into their wallets.

While the money can be withdrawn and transferred back into your linked bank account within a few business days (4 in the U.S., 2 in the U.K.), it's irresistible for some users who love doubling up on these cashback rewards!

Still, while we're on this topic, it's worth noting that other apps like Drop also provide similar services free of charge.

Interest On Saving

The last feature worth highlighting is Interest On Savings, available exclusively for U.S.-based Cleo Plus members.

By upgrading your ordinary wallet into a savings account on the app after submitting some basic details and ID verifications, you can earn 1.5% interest!

To add icing on the cake, there's another fun way built right into the app called 'Round Ups'.

This feature automatically rounds off your purchase amounts, diverting spare change from transactions into your savings account.

Cleo manages all this through its partner Synapsefi, making saving money easier and incentivizing directly from within the app.

Should You Purchase Cleo's Subscription Plan?

Should You Purchase Cleo's Subscription Plan?

Is the Cleo Plus subscription worth it? It depends on your usage and what you seek in a financial management app.

Many banks today offer overdraft protection at no extra cost. So, if that's a primary reason for considering Cleo Plus, you might want to explore these zero-cost alternatives first.

Similarly, features like cash back and Big Buys, which Cleo provides to its subscribers, are already free through many apps. You can also consider credit cards that offer cash-back rewards.

To earn interest on savings, there are better-established platforms like high-interest savings accounts or wealth management platforms like UnifyMoney.

However, don't forget that Cleo continuously expands its horizon by adding innovative features to its suite.

The upcoming projects include an educational credit score platform and an investment platform that could be akin to Acorns’ spare change investing feature.

Quite intriguing indeed! Still not sure? Well, I'll dive deeper into these factors further down this review.

What Is Cleo Crusher?

What Is Cleo Crusher?

Expanding on its range of financial tools, Cleo offers another subscription tier called Cleo Crusher. This is priced at $9.99 per month and includes enticing features.

Aside from incorporating a system for checking credit scores and offering 'Daily Cash,' similar to what's available in the standard Cleo Plus, its main attraction is the unique 'Motherloan' feature.

This feature is essentially a quick $500 loan for eligible users with an APR of 23.99%, payable over six months.

However, bear in mind that the Motherloan isn't universal. Eligibility for it requires at least $400 in credit card balance and isn't accessible in every state.

Despite the apparent advantages, some users may find the monthly cost of $9.99 steep compared to the provided features.

Cleo User Reviews

Cleo User Reviews

James S. says, "As a freelancer juggling multiple gigs, Cleo has been a lifesaver. It's made me more mindful of my spending habits, and the chatbot feels more like a friendly financial advisor than a judgmental observer. The insights have helped me save up for my dream vacation in no time - 5 stars!"

Equally impressed, millennial mom Kelly R. shares, "Cleo takes budgeting off my overloaded plate by offering automated savings and budgeting suggestions.

Its credit-building tools are brilliant for someone like me trying to improve their financial standing. It's truly an app designed for my generation."

Cleo Alternatives

Cleo Alternatives

If you're searching for apps similar to Cleo, many options are worth exploring.

1. Mint: This fan-favorite money management tool excels at expense tracking and budgeting, offering a broad range of financial management tools — all free of charge.

2. YNAB (You Need A Budget): YNAB takes a proactive approach to budgeting. It helps users "give every dollar a job," making money management more intentional and less stressful.

3. PocketGuard: PocketGuard allows users to view multiple financial accounts in one place, making assessing their overall financial health easier.

4. EveryDollar: Designed by personal finance guru Dave Ramsey, EveryDollar is based on various proven money management principles.

Pros And Cons Of Cleo

Pros And Cons Of Cleo

My Verdict On Cleo App Review

Our Verdict On Cleo App Review

After thoroughly exploring the app, I find Cleo to be a decent addition to your financial toolset. But is it necessarily the best out there? That's debatable.

I genuinely appreciate its robust spending analysis features and its intent to simplify budgeting with an easy-to-digest approach. The appealing design and engaging chatbot interactions make Cleo an exciting tool for younger audiences, particularly those setting their first steps in personal finance management.

However, while Cleo has quite a few nifty tricks, it also has limitations. Numerous other apps in the market do what Cleo does and sometimes even offer additional features or perform tasks more efficiently.

Therefore, the verdict is simple: Cleo is good but not standalone. It would help if you considered it part of your budgeting app arsenal; however, try out others before finalizing which one to stick with.

FAQs About Cleo App

Is Cleo a bank?

No, Cleo is a money management app that offers tools for budgeting, spending tracking, and accessing cash advances or credit-building utilities.

Is using the essential services of Cleo free?

Yes, basic services offered by the Cleo app are available for free. It offers a paid subscription for access to expanded features.

Who are the primary users of the Cleo app?

Cleo targets Gen Z and young millennials as its primary user base due to its easy-to-use chatbot interface and bold design.

What is the Cleo app?

The Cleo app is an AI-driven money management tool designed with a modern interface to simplify budgeting and financial tracking.

Are funds stored in a Cleo Wallet covered by FDIC insurance?

No, funds stored in your Cleo Wallet are not covered under FDIC insurance or can earn any interest.

Conclusion

The Cleo app stands out in the saturated field of budgeting apps through its unique use of AI and user-friendly interface. Its appeal to a younger, more tech-focused demographic is clear, and its capabilities (especially with Cleo Plus) are robust.

However, it's essential to emphasize that Cleo isn't a bank, so funds aren't insured or interest-earning.

Therefore, while it could prove an excellent tool for tracking spending and managing budgets, it shouldn't replace your traditional banking arrangements. We hope this Cleo app review helps you to make your decision.

Michael Restiano

I support product content strategy for Salt Money. Additionally, I’m helping develop content strategy and processes to deliver quality work for our readers.

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