Hate logging into all your different credit card, bank, and investments accounts to check on bills, balances, and transactions? Online budgeting tools help solve this problem, and PowerWallet is one of the latest entries to the market.
PowerWallet does much of what other online budgeting tools do, but includes additional ways to save money with even more features on the horizon.
Here’s my review of PowerWallet and how it stacks up against other popular money management software.
PowerWallet Features and Tools
Signing up for a free account
Like many similar online budgeting tools, PowerWallet is free. Signing up takes only seconds by entering basic personal information.
The real benefit of using PowerWallet comes when you link your online accounts including bank, investment, credit card, and loan accounts.
Linking financial accounts
PowerWallet provides your complete financial picture in one place, but before that’s possible you’ll need to add your accounts.
Linking accounts to see all your information is easy. PowerWallet supports most major banks and other financial institutions, and adding them is as simple as searching for the service providers you want to add.
Once you find them, just enter your online account log in information. I was easily able to add my accounts for USAA Bank and American Express.
PowerWallet will then pull your transactions, allowing you to use the site’s other features. Accounts will automatically update so you can make financial decisions using the most up-to-date balances.
If you’re worried about identity theft from linking accounts, PowerWallet takes security seriously. It’s a “read-only” service, meaning that even if someone accesses your account, they can’t touch your money.
On PowerWallet’s Dashboard you’ll find a quick visual overview of your money, including your accounts, plans, transactions, and more.
Here’s what the dashboard looks like once you log in:
You can also easily access any other page right from the dashboard to see more detail.
Accounts and paying bills
Instead of going to each site to check balances and bills for your bank, credit card, and loan accounts, you can see them all on the Accounts page.
PowerWallet serves as a hub not only for bank accounts but for keeping track of bills, too.
Bills are listed along with due dates and minimum payments due. While you can’t pay bills directly though PowerWallet, you can click on “Pay my bill” and go directly to your bank’s website to send payment.
The dashboard shows your 10 most recent transactions, but you can view them all on the transactions page.
Head over to the transactions tab to see what you’ve spent lately or check on incoming deposits. PowerWallet automatically categorizes both income and expenses for everything pulled from linked accounts (although many of my transactions were labeled wrong when imported).
If PowerWallet puts a purchase in the wrong category, users can fix them manually with just a few clicks. PowerWallet should remember the correct selection for the future.
PowerWallet includes “Power Saver” offers next to transactions. These deals pop up in line with related purchases to let you know how you can save the next time you spend in the same category.
If you want to sort transactions, you can check on your spending as a whole, look at only credit card purchases, or get just a snapshot at bank account transactions.
Planning for the future
PowerWallet lets you create trackable spending and income plans on the Plan tab. Just select a category, enter a goal, and set the time period.
You don’t just have to guess what you’ve spent in the past. To make planning easier, PowerWallet will pull your past spending by category so you can see what you’ve spent in the past and make smart decisions for the future.
On the main Plan page, you’ll see how you’re doing on your current month’s goals:
You can always check in with your spending plans in the Dashboard, or opt for other notifications. PowerWallet can be set up to send you an email if you exceed a spending plan limit.
PowerWallet makes it easy to track your cash flow, an important financial metric to stay out of debt and build wealth. On the cash flow page, you can check if your current income and spending targets will put you in the red or the black at the end of the month.
You’ll see bill reminders in the PowerWallet Bill Calendar. Just like on the Accounts page, you can click a bill and go straight to the website of the account you’re looking to pay.
Avoding fees and damage to your credit is an important component to effective budgeting software.
PowerWallet features built-in alerts for large purchases, low balances, bill reminders, and when fees are charged. All alerts are customizable for dollar amounts and dates prior to bills.
Alerts will pop up on the PowerWallet dashboard and can also be emailed to you.
PowerWallet’s biggest advantage over some competitors is the money-saving deals.
My favorite feature is the “Power Saver” deals tailored to spending. Looking at deals personalized for me rather than having to sift through irrelevant ads is a plus, especially when there’s the potential to save money.
I also enjoyed viewing the “Perks” page, which had both free deals as well as aggregated, local daily deals. Instead of sorting through several emails from Groupon, Living Social, and others every day, I can unsubscribe and see all the offers right on PowerWallet instead.
PowerWallet also offers points when you complete certain actions, like adding new accounts and referring friends. While they’re still developing their points system, discounts and cash back will be tied into the rewards once their “PowerCard” is released.
I enjoyed clicking around PowerWallet’s easy to use interface and using all the options to analyze my finances.
PowerWallet feels a little rough around the edges compared to Mint, but the added features make up for any shortcomings. PowerWallet seems to have less ads than Mint, especially for services I’m not interested in.
I was disappointed PowerWallet doesn’t currently have a mobile app available to test, but they are planning to release one within the next few months. In the meantime, users can access a mobile version of their site from a smartphone.
Whether you’re looking back on the money you’ve spent or planning for the future, PowerWallet can help. Once additional features like a mobile app and the PowerCard with cash back are added, PowerWallet will become an even more valuable tool for managing your money in one place.
Published or updated February 27, 2013.