A lesson I learned early in life was not to judge a book by it’s cover. Yodlee is an excellent online budget tool that is certainly more serious than it sounds. In fact, you might already have used it because in addition to Yodlee MoneyCenter being a free online budgeting tool, Yodlee was the software behind the popular, user-friendly Mint.com until they were purchased by Intuit. And if that wasn’t enough it also powers over 150 top financial institutions and portals, including thirty-two of the top fifty U.S. banks. Very very impressive wouldn’t you say?
Starting from the beginning, signing up for a Yodlee account is easy. After a few security questions and a confirmation email, you’re ready to login. Immediately following your login, you land on the following dashboard:
Right away, you notice seven options at your fingertips, with another four tabs located at the top.
- Link Account – Yodlee works with over 10,000 financial accounts so linking them shouldn’t be a problem. Each account takes less than a minute to add and on the rare chance you’re account cannot be linked, send an email and it should be added soon.
- Account Balances – Track all of your account balances including, checking, savings, investing and many more.
- View Net Worth – You certainly don’t want to see mine because it’s over $100,000 in the red but if it helps you sleep at night, check out the “view net worth” tab for a calculation of how much you’re worth.
- Track Spending – Follow your spending in categories like gas, groceries, restaurants and more.
- Create Budget – One of the most important steps of any personal finance mission, this area of Yodlee will allow you to create a budget that you can hopefully follow.
- Set Alerts – If you’re constantly surprised with large credit card bills, high utility charges and unexpected bank fees, you can set Yodlee alerts to receive emails when they post.
- Real Estate Center- Detailed analysis of your home’s value and any other real estate property you might own.
Some pretty straightforward stuff right? Well adding to the basics, Yodlee has a tab dedicated to BillPay, where you can schedule payments from your accounts to your merchants free of charge. Adding a payee is simple and this is what the basic search box for a payee looks like.
If you’re looking for a flashy, easy on the eyes website, Yodlee is not going to be for you. Online budgeting software like Mint.com does a better job in graphics but if you’re looking for pure raw data, look no further than Yodlee. Yodlee MoneyCenter puts more into its ideas than its wrapping paper. That doesn’t have to be a bad thing because most of us would choose brains over beauty, right?
One reviewer gives you a great synopsis of just what Yodlee is all about:
“After checking out Mint yesterday, I was surprised by how much more robust Yodlee is. It isn’t as pretty to look at it [however]. My guess is that they keep it sparse so their corporate customers can customize it with their own logos. As with Mint, it was very easy to import data for my accounts. In addition to banks and credit cards, it can read pull from loans, investment accounts, even Gmail and PayPal.”
There are some smart cookies behind Yodlee, which was introduced about ten years ago. While they are based in Redwood City, CA, they have a European presence and a growing India operation as well. Although you won’t find much in the way of financial advice, calculators and added-value tools, Yodlee is my easy choice for best money management tool available today. Simple, sweet, and to the point.
When you take into account all of the power Yodlee has behind it’s name you need to check it out. If you’re not already using the software somewhere else, visit www.Yodlee.com and give them a try. Yodlee a fool not to (I’m so sorry for that).
Published or updated March 14, 2013.