Comparing the Best AI Finance Apps

Next time you’re on the hunt for the best AI finance apps, here’s what to look for 💡

Blue background with the text "Comparing the Best AI Finance Apps." 

AI has taken wrangling your money to the next level.

Back in the day (*cough* fifteen years ago *cough*), digital money coaches could barely regurgitate the same advice to everyone. Now, AI helps apps automate, analyze, and personalize money advice.

But using AI doesn’t automatically make an app the BEST – polish a turd, and all you get is a shiny turd.

So, next time you’re on the hunt for the best AI finance apps, here’s what to look for:

They Fit Your Purpose

First up: not all money apps do the same thing.

Many bill themselves as one stop shops for all your finance needs (and rarely pull it off). Some specialize in areas like budgeting, investing, or crushing debt.

Finding your perfect app starts with knowing what you need:

  • Do you struggle with budgeting and expense tracking?
  • Does the thought of making investing decisions make your knees weak?
  • Do you want to puke when you see how much money you’ll need in retirement?

Answer these questions, and you’ll narrow down what you’re looking for.  

They Go Beyond the Basics

It’s not enough for AI finance apps to “employ AI” and have it just…sit there. Dozens of apps work just fine with no AI and still offer budgeting, credit monitoring, and other tools.

If an app really employs AI, it should do more.  

Take Cleo, for example.

Sure, she offers “standard fare” like expense tracking and setting budgets and spending limits. But she also learns from your past and future finances and uses that information to:

  • Identify potential problem areas
  • Personalize insights and recommendations
  • And build realistic (not idealistic) budgets and goals.

And don’t get us started on Haggle It, which uses AI to negotiate anything from rent payments to late bills. (Actually, do – it’s great!)

They Personalize Your Budget and Experience

And speaking of personalization!

If your digital money coach can’t personalize your budget, then…what good is it?

Few people earn an identical income, pay identical bills, and have identical hobbies. If an AI can’t understand that, it definitely shouldn’t be pawing through your finances.

And then there’s Cleo. She understands the value of a dollar – and she knows how to use it. After diving into your finances, she’ll make a one-of-a-kind budget so you can continue treating yourself and your weird pet rocks.

(But we’re not biased or anything.)

They Look to the Future

One beauty of AI is that it uses existing data to project into the future. Depending on their underlying function, AI finance apps should be able to learn from your past and ongoing finances to:

  • Help you save on bills
  • Estimate future incomes
  • Forecast investment returns
  • Prepare for inevitable financial emergencies
  • Alert you when you’re going to miss your goals

They Automate the Essentials

What’s the point of an AI and digital money coach marrying if they don’t automate the basics?

A proper AI app shouldn’t make you manually pay bills or transfer money to your savings each week. Some – hint, hint – go even further with round-up tools or “fines” for spending at no-no retailers.

But automation shouldn’t remove your ability to choose. Cleo makes doubly sure you never have to worry with Read-Only Mode, so she can’t touch your cash. (She’ll still roast it, though.)

They’re Easy to Access

Basic, but again, worth repeating: modern technology should be getting easier to use and access, not harder. Apps should be simple in design, intuitive in function, and break down information without making you break down.

In short: overly-complicated AI finance apps have no place in this world.

Frankly, neither do apps that restrict you to only iPhone or Android. In Cleo’s ideal world, everyone deserves the ability to check their balance in the car, at the register, or in a last-minute panic after hitting “Checkout” on Amazon.

(We understand if you feel differently.)

(But you’re wrong.)

They Don’t Skimp on Security

Any app that sticks its algorithms in your private finances should provide end-to-end protection. (Whether it’s accessing your accounts, spitting out hot takes, or paying your bills.) Any good digital money coach will employ the essentials:

  • Password protection
  • 256-bit encryption
  • Multi-factor authentication
  • Up-to-date algorithms and privacy practices

Oh, and forget about selling your data to third-party marketers. That’s just f***ing creepy. (Editor’s note: if F***ing isn’t acceptable, “hella” as an alternative.)

They Don’t Shaft You with Hidden Costs

Many great AI finance apps are free (though they may have hidden costs like selling your “anonymized” data). Other also-great apps charge a nominal fee for their services so they can afford bigger and better features.

But there’s a difference between a reasonable monthly fee and a bunch of predatory fees that yank cash from your unsuspecting hands. That’s not paying for a quality service. That’s called getting screwed.

They Offer a Big Bang for their Buck

Similarly, you should always consider what any fees you do pay get you.

Say that you find a fantastic AI finance app that offers a free and a paid version.

The free version offers the basics like budgeting, automatic saving, and chatting with a super-cool AI. That’s already a pretty sweet deal – a bit above standard fare for a below-standard price.

But you’re a greedy little budget-maker, and you want a little more.

So, you upgrade to the $5.99 per month plan that gets you perks like personalized goals, and cash advances (if you're eligible).. Better yet, this mysterious app is completely upfront about every dollar you spend before you spend it.

If those extra features are worth the ~$72 a year you spend to organize your finances, you’d be a fool not to go for it…right?

Bonus: They Roast You

You can find digital money coaches out there to help you get your s*** together with computerized confidence. Sure, banks have digital apps now, and you could go with them for an uninspiring run down on your finances.

But what if it could be practical and hilarious?

Cleo isn’t like your other apps.  

Yes, she’ll help you budget and save. But she’s smart, savvy, quick with a joke.

She’ll also let you know when you spent $500 at a shoe store this month – and hype you up when you save 15 cents a gallon by switching gas stations.

Rain or hail, roast or hype, she’s there for a good time and a long time.  

All you have to do is ask.

Enjoy this post? Give it a share or send it along to a friend. You never know, it could make a big difference. Big love. Cleo 💙

*The Cleo Plus subscription offers saving goals, hacks, challenges, APY on savings, credit score insights, and access to cash advances if eligible.

Still have questions? Find answers below.
What makes an AI finance app stand out from traditional finance apps?
How do I decide which finance app is the best fit for me?
Is it safe to trust an AI finance app with my personal financial data?
What is "Cleo," and how is she different from other finance apps?
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