My post about ad-based free financial apps generated an email asking about products like Digit or Clarity Money that have bank and savings accounts inside the app as competitors. To be fair, we’ve looked at these products very carefully. Not only do we feel that they are not competitive to Cinch, but we truly believe they simply aren’t worth it. Also, it’s sort of a scary evolution of “free” financial apps.
They make money by selling access to you and your financial identity to lenders when they suggest a “partner” offering “Just for You!”.
But these embedded products step this up in a scary way – they have their own product they want you to use, like a checking or savings account, so they can make money from “owning” you that way. My advice is to AVOID these entirely since the value just isn’t there. It’s worth the effort to search for the best of the best just for you from the entire universe of financial product options, not just the one they’re offering. They want to capture you as a customer and have a financial incentive to do so and that makes zero sense in the context of you setting up your financial life. You don’t want to be owned by any bank or provider, so don’t sign up for it. It’s worth checking out these apps to see what other value you might find – for example, in how they track your spending – but don’t trust the ads or turn them into your bank. That would be a big mistake.