Albert App Review: For Budgeting, Saving and Investing
Looking for a financial app that combines budgeting, savings, and investing? Want one that includes real human experts to help you make investment decisions? Then read on to find out more about Albert.
- Those who want an all-in-one app
- Low fees
- Advice from experts
If you’re overwhelmed by using multiple financial apps–one to manage your savings, one to manage your investing, and one for budgeting–you may want to cancel them all in favor of Albert. It’s a low-cost financial app that allows you to aggregate all your financial accounts in one place, establish a budget, begin saving money and paying off debt, and even provides human guided investment advice. What’s more, Albert charges lower monthly fees than most of the competition and offers more services in exchange. Even in today’s highly competitive financial market, that’s a hard combination to beat.
What is Albert?
Albert is a multifaceted financial app that helps you save money, aggregates all your accounts in one place for a 360 degree view of your financial life, lowers your bills, gives you financial help, develops a personalized financial plan, and even guides you in investing your money. In a real way, it’s like having three or four separate financial apps on a single platform.
Founded in 2015, Albert Investments, LLC is an SEC registered investment advisor. They don’t manage your investment portfolio for you – instead they offer a long list of assets to build your portfolio with.
But even before you get to the point of investing money, Albert is there to help you save your money so you can invest more. It monitors your budget to look for potential savings, and to let you know when you’re in danger of going over your spending limits.
Albert has a rating of 4.6 out of five stars among more than 54,000 iOS users on The App Store, and four out of five stars among well over 11,000 Android users on Google Play.
How Albert Works
Albert is a multifaceted financial app offering the following services:
Albert Genius gives you access to live human financial advisors who provide expert financial guidance. These experts rely on a combination of Albert’s algorithms and their own years of experience and then provide you with guidance to apply to your own circumstances.
They regularly work to review your bills, bank fees and unusual charges, and send you alerts. You’ll also be provided with helpful financial topics, covering everything from managing and paying off debt, student loans, using travel miles, finding the best insurance deals, investing, and even saving for short-term goals. On a practical basis, they’ll help you to find savings you’re missing, identify bills you’re overpaying, and show you how to accelerate debt payoff and save money automatically.
Signing up for Genius is the first step toward using the Albert app. You’ll then be able to ask financial experts any financial questions that are on your mind. And, when you sign up for Genius, you’ll begin earning an annual 0.25% bonus on your Albert Savings account.
This feature may be unique among financial apps. If you have a short-term need, Albert can provide you with a cash advance up to $100 against your next paycheck. When you make a request, they’ll send the money directly into your bank account. You repay the advance upon deposit of your next paycheck. If you have a higher income and other qualifications, the cash advance may be more than $100.
Even more impressive, there’s no credit check, no interest requirement, and no late fees. There are no fees for standard delivery, which will have the funds in your bank account within three days. But, if you prefer instant delivery, which will get you the funds in ten minutes or less, there is a delivery fee of $3.99 for Genius subscribers and $4.99 for all others.
You qualify for the program through direct deposit. Your income must have been consistent over the past two months and arrive at regular intervals. In addition, your bank account must have a positive balance.
Albert Savings analyzes your income and spending to find extra money for automatic savings. And, you’ll be earning annual cash bonuses along the way.
The service prepares you for emergencies by helping you build a rainy day fund. You can even establish accounts to save for other purposes. The app will find the money you can afford to save and then set it aside for that purpose.
Albert Savings uses a Smart Savings algorithm, in which you can expect to save between $25 and $100 per week. This is spread across several transactions ranging in size from $5 to $30. The app automatically initiates a transfer from your linked bank account to the Smart Savings account. They will not initiate a transfer if your bank account is determined to be too low. You can withdraw the funds in your savings at any time and without transaction fees.
Albert Savings comes with an annual bonus of 0.10% on your savings, but you can increase that to 0.25% when you also enable Genius.
Albert designs a custom portfolio for you that is made up of a mix of both U.S. and international funds. Along the way, you’ll get step-by-step guidance from their team of registered advisers (Portfolio by Genius).
Your portfolio will be diversified by stocks, bonds, and other holdings to both minimize costs and achieve adequate diversification. You will be asked a list of questions to personalize your portfolio. That helps Genius determine your risk tolerance, investment goals, and time horizon.
You can begin investing with as little as $1, set up automatic investing, and engage in commission-free trading. Since you’ll be provided with guided investing, no investment experience is necessary. Specific portfolios are created for your investment goals. They have conservative, moderate, and aggressive investment options.
If you want to manage your own investments, you can select those from the Albert list of curated funds. That will give you a choice of either self-directed investing or a managed option.
You’ll need to deposit funds into your investment account to begin. But you can also turn on auto-investing to schedule regular cash deposits.
Trade confirmations, monthly statements, tax documents, and even prospectuses and proxy documents are available through the app.
Albert Planning is designed to help you get the right insurance coverage for your financial situation and obligations. You can use this feature to find the right life insurance, car insurance, home and renter’s insurance. The app will search for discounts that give you the optimal level of coverage at the lowest premiums.
Tools and Insights
This is where Albert gets into budgeting. You’re able to view your bills, income, and remaining funds on the app. You can also tap into each to get more details. Albert categorizes every transaction to show you where your money goes. It gives you a checkup score to celebrate your achievements along with personalized suggestions to make improvements.
The app works to make sure you know where your spending is concentrated. For example, if you’ve recently gone to Starbucks a lot, Albert will alert you to what may be a potential budget buster. They’ll also alert you if any bills show a large, unexpected increase. That can let you know that either there’s some sort of overcharge, or it’s time to change providers. Albert analyzes your spending trends and expenses to find similar savings.
This is also the feature where Albert negotiates your bills. This is done through a partnership with Billshark. They’ll negotiate any bill you choose when you click the “Lower Bill” button on your app. They claim a 70% success rate in lowering cable, cell phone, and in-home service bills.
Albert has the capability to display the last three months of your budget, which includes your current month.
Financial Checkup Score: Albert provides a score of each major area of your finances that ranges from 0 to 100. The categories include savings and investments, your debt burden (which is calculated by your ratio of debt to income as well as the total amount of your credit card debt) insurance policies, and fees and rewards paid or earned through banking and credit cards. They’ll suggest actionable ways to improve your financial checkup score to help keep you moving forward in your finances.
Mobile App: Albert is available on Google Play for Android devices, 5.1 and up, as well as at The App Store for iOS devices, 10.0 and later. It’s compatible with nearly all iPhones, iPads, and iPod touch devices.
Albert referral program: Albert pays you $20 for every friend you refer who signs up for Albert Genius. Your friend receives a bonus just for signing up and staying subscribed. The friend must remain subscribed for a minimum of 90 days.
When you sign up with Albert, you’ll begin with Albert Genius, which you can have free for 30 days and cancel at any time. There is a subscription fee that can be paid either monthly or yearly. If you pay yearly, you’ll receive a thank you bonus deposited into your Albert Savings Account.
Albert does not have a set fee for the Genius program; you can pay whatever you think is fair for the service. However, there is a minimum charge of $4 per month to cover operating expenses. But they believe you’ll be willing to pay more when you see what the service can do.
How to Sign Up with Albert
You can sign up for the Albert app in about five minutes. Start by installing the app on your mobile device, then register your account using your email address and a password. You will also be required to set a secure four-digit pin to provide an extra layer of security.
Much like many robo-advisors, you’ll be asked a series of questions that will help Albert determine your financial needs and goals.
Next, you’ll connect your financial accounts to the app. That will include your primary checking account, as well as credit cards, loans, and other financial accounts. If your bank account isn’t one of the supported accounts on the app, you can enter the information manually. Like similar apps, you’ll need to provide credentials for any financial accounts you add.
You can even add your car or other property to the app. That gives Albert a more accurate assessment of your net worth and allows them to help you toward less expensive auto insurance.
To participate in Albert Investments, you must have a valid Social Security number and be a legal U.S. resident in one of the 50 states or Puerto Rico. You’ll also need to enable Albert Genius.
Learn More: The Best Finance Apps for Every Budget
Savings balances are covered by FDIC insurance for up to $250,000 per depositor. Meanwhile, investments on Albert are protected by SIPC insurance for up to $500,000 in cash and securities, including $250,000 in cash. However, SIPC insurance is available only to protect against broker failure. It will not cover losses that are the result of market activity or trading.
Your account is protected by a unique username and password. But for extra security, you can also enable Face ID, Touch ID or set up a PIN code as an extra step to access your account. In addition, Albert uses bank-level security, and they do not store your banking credentials in their system.
Albert Customer Service & Support
Like a lot of financial apps, Albert does not offer live phone support. If you have a customer service issue or need support, you’ll need to contact them either by text or by email through the website or the app.
- Aggregate all your financial accounts — You’ll be able to link your bank accounts, credit card and loan accounts, investments, and even your retirement accounts in one place.
- Begin investing with as little as $1 — That’s the minimum required to begin, and you can continuously fund your account through automatic investing.
- Low fees — You can fully participate in the Albert app for as little as $4 per month. That includes the Albert Genius program, as well as the savings and investment programs.
- Commission-free investing — There are no trading fees for the funds and stocks held in your account.
- Human guided investment advice — This is a departure from the standard robo-advisor model that relies entirely on algorithms.
- Earn bonuses on your Albert Savings — The minimum is 0.10% per year, but you can get 0.25% if you also sign up for Genius.
- Albert Instant — Gives you the ability to get a cost-free $100 advance against your next paycheck.
- Albert referral program — Get $20 for each friend you refer who remains in the program for at least 90 days; the friend also receives a bonus.
- No live customer service — Albert can only be contacted through email.
- No retirement investment option — Albert provides guidance for taxable investment accounts only.
Acorns comes the closest to Albert in the level of financial services it delivers. It doesn’t negotiate to lower your bills or provide direct human financial assistance. But it enables you to build savings—passively—through spending “round-ups.” That’s a method by which the app is attached to your primary spending account and rounds up each of your purchases to the nearest dollar, allocating the change to savings. That gives you the ability to save money on a completely passive basis.
But, as you save money, it’s invested through the Acorns robo-advisor. In that way, Acorns meets two essential needs for new investors: saving the money to invest, then providing professional management of the funds. Acorns has several plan levels, ranging from $1 to $3 per month. On an account of $5,000 or more, they charge an annual advisory fee of 0.25% of your balance.
Stash works similar to Acorns in that it gives you both the ability to save money and to invest it. Stash also uses the roundup method to accumulate savings but allows you to transfer money into your account in small increments, like $5. However, Stash doesn’t actually manage your money for you. Instead, they provide recommendations for investments for your account. You’ll be able to choose from over 250 exchange-traded funds and stocks. Stash offers three plan levels, ranging from $1 to $9 per month.
Robinhood should be your go-to choice if you are interested in self-directed investing, rather than savings accumulation and investment management. You can use the app to trade stocks, bonds, exchange-traded funds, and even cryptocurrencies in real-time. And even better, the app is free to use. There are no monthly or annual fees, and all investments can be traded commission-free. But you’ll need to be an experienced investor to use the app, as it is designed specifically for self-directed trading, as well as day trading.
Is Albert the Right Financial App for You?
Albert makes the most sense for someone who’s looking for a comprehensive financial app, one that will address virtually every corner of his or her financial existence. It’s also an excellent choice for anyone who is looking for human-guided investment advice. With the rise of robo-advisors, the human element of investing has been slowly disappearing. Albert is moving in the opposite direction of that trend.
Albert might not be a good choice if you’re looking for a dedicated app for a single aspect of your financial life. For example, if you’re only interested in budgeting or investing, you may be better served choosing an app that is dedicated solely to that purpose.
Unfortunately, personal financial management, including budgeting, saving money, and investing, are not taught in the school system. If you’re unfamiliar with any of these concepts and looking to improve your financial life, Albert is an excellent choice to help get you where you want to go. While it doesn’t necessarily go deep into every corner of your finances, it does address the big picture. If you’re just looking for a push forward, Albert can get you moving in the right direction.