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There are a lot of personal finance apps on the market and so many of them are great.
Personal finance apps are all created to help individuals manage their money better.
I’m here to tell you about Charlie, which is a little different from your regular financial app.
For one thing, Charlie isn’t an app at all!
Charlie is basically a cute, money saving penguin robot that you chat with via Facebook Messenger or text.
He’s designed to be your BFF (Best Financial Friend). By talking with Charlie, you’ll put yourself on a better path of financial stability.
In this review I’ll tell you more about Charlie, how Charlie works, how to get started and whether or not Charlie is worth talking to.
This adorable, money saving penguin is all about helping you improve your finances. Charlie was created so that its users could stop worrying about money and have someone else do the worrying for them.
Plus Charlie allows you to manage your finances with a simple text or through Facebook Messenger. Other than the Facebook Messenger app, there are no applications or downloads needed to use Charlie.
Charlie will help you avoid things like late fees and hidden fees, manage daily transactions, find you different ways to save, score you extra deals and overall improve your financial health and boost your bank account.
As a form of artificial intelligence, Charlie uses algorithms to track your spending and money habits. He can tell you how much you are spending on going out, shopping, bills and even taxes.
After assessing your habits, Charlie will come up with ways to help you get on better financial footing and will always ask your approval before he does anything first.
Since his launch, Charlie has helped hundreds of thousands of people in every state. On average he has helped people save $80 a week and has helped people pay down nearly $50 million in credit card debt.
Getting Started With Charlie
Communicate Via Text or Facebook Messenger
Getting started with Charlie is super easy and absolutely FREE. You can choose to either use your Facebook Messenger app to communicate with Charlie or you can text him as you would a friend.
I chose texting and the only thing required was my phone number. Within seconds of submitting your number, you’ll receive a text from Charlie introducing himself and asking you to confirm your number with a simple “Yes” or “Stop” to cancel.
When you reply“Yes” Charlie will be thrilled to start working with you! He’ll tell you his name and ask for yours. You can tell him your first name only or even a nickname, he doesn’t need your full name at all.
From there Charlie will gush about how excited he is to watch over your accounts and ask you how he can help you.
Here are a few examples of what you can text Charlie so he can better assist you:
- “Track” to track your specific spending habits
- “Save” for help with savings
- “Cut” for help reducing bills
- “Balance” to help monitor all of your account balances
Connecting Your Bank Account(s)
Once you send him a text, Charlie will let you know the many banks and credit card companies he is partnered with. He will also assure you that your information is totally safe, but you can ask him about “Security” if you feel unsure.
Charlie will send you a link to connect with your banking. You’ll login in as you usually would with your bank account online.
Charlie does not store this data, so rest assured that your privacy and data are protected and safely stored with your bank only.
You can connect multiple accounts so that Charlie can track your spending habits on a full scale, which will save you the hassle of needing to login to every account when you want to see something.
I only connected one account, but syncing with my bank took less than a minute, though Charlie does say the process could take up to 20 minutes, depending on the banking institution.
After linking your account, Charlie will confirm the data came through and automatically give you an account balance and inform you of some ideas he has of helping you out.
He’ll usually ask you before bombarding you with information if he has found something interesting he would like to share.
How to Utilize Charlie’s Full Potential
Communicating With Charlie
It is actually really fun texting with Charlie. He communicates like a friend, complete with emojis, but probably responds better and faster than a live person.
Texting Charlie is very simple to do. Whenever you want to know something, you can send him a quick message and get a response in seconds.
Charlie will always send you a friendly text to see how he can help you each day or if there’s anything you would like him to track or look into.
Or he may do some number crunching in the background and text you if he has something helpful to share. Charlie is always looking for little tidbits he can share with you, so you really get the sense that he’s working hard to improve your finances.
What To Ask Charlie
Remember, Charlie’s purpose is to guard your accounts so that you can reach your full financial potential. When using Charlie, keep your money goals in mind when you ask him questions.
Charlie can send you alerts about unusual account activity, recent expenses, spending for the month, total cash balances and total credit balances.
He can also break down your spending habits and let you know on average how much you spend each month and on what. For example he might tell you that you spend nearly $100 a month on eating out.
If you are looking to budget yourself more, you can tell Charlie that you only want to spend $50 on eating out each month and he will alert you to when you are getting close to spending this amount.
Helpful Things To Text:
- “Transactions” – Charlie will give you a list of all the money going in and out of your accounts (all accounts), so no need to login to multiple sites
- “Alerts” – Will let you set up alerts with Charlie, like when your credit card bill is due
- “Deposits” – Charlie tells you about recent deposits into your account. Sometimes he’ll even send you an alert about money deposited even if you didn’t ask
- “Check Credit Score” – Charlie will let you know where you can check your credit score for free
- “Save $500 for Vacation by June” – He’ll look at your income and let you know how much to save each week before your trip
- “How much do I spend on groceries on average?” – Seeing this amount always shocks me and I’ve asked Charlie to alert me if my monthly spend is approaching $300
- “What Are My Alerts?” or “Update Alerts” – Charlie will list your alerts and you can modify as needed
- “Help Me Pay Off Debt” – Charlie will come up with a payment schedule based on the date/time you want to get out of debt
Benefits of Charlie
Charlie’s friendly and constant presence makes managing your money fun. His alerts give you financial peace of mind and help keep you on track with your goals.
With Charlie around you are less likely to encounter little surprises, like hidden fees, and are less likely to overspend or miss a bill payment.
One really cool perk of Charlie is that he’ll search around for ways to save you on the services or subscriptions you pay for.
For example he could save you money on your monthly phone bill, cable bill or even insurance. Keep in mind that you don’t actually have to change anything, but it is nice to know that you have options.
Pros and Cons of Charlie
- FREE to use
- No downloads or subscription required, just text or chat on Facebook Messenger
- Convenient, no need to log in to multiple accounts to get information. Just text Charlie and an overview with come up, complete with helpful charts
- Real advice that produces results
- Fast communication and response from Charlie
- Charlie is always looking for ways you can save, cut back, and more
- Set up alerts and budget tracking
- Everything all in one place, at the tip of your fingers
- Can cancel any time by just texting or messaging “Delete”
- Charlie could get some of your budgeting wrong as he can’t differentiate too well between a store like Walmart versus Aldi’s. He may say your groceries are costing you only $100 a month at Aldi’s but if you also grocery shop at Walmart, it won’t fall into that “grocery” category
- If text messaging Charlie, data charges/rates will apply based on your phone plan. I have unlimited texting so I wasn’t worried about texting Charlie regularly
- Definitely geared toward a younger generation that prefers the convenience of texting or using Facebook
- Since Charlie isn’t an app, it is easy to forget you are using him (unless you have alerts set up). Just make sure to save him as Charli Penguin in your phone so you aren’t surprised when a text comes in
Is Charlie Worth Chatting With?
Honestly, I struggled to find a con with using Charlie as his convenience far outweighs any cons. He’s just so easy to use and he’s only helping you with tracking your money. There’s absolutely no pressure or push to using him.
Since Charlie isn’t an app, you don’t have to worry about “opening” him every day to track your expenses. You can tell Charlie to alert you once a week about your expenses and he will do just that.
Plus, I don’t ever get the sense that Charlie is being pushy or annoying. His texts are so friendly and often you can respond with a simple yes or no. I’ve also ignored Charlie and he’s never been offended by it.
For anyone looking to budget their finances without worrying about spreadsheets or crunching numbers in a totally easy way, then Charlie is definitely for you.
He does all the hard work so you don’t have to and I’ve found the information he provides to be very accurate.
The company does plan on offering a subscription service for Charlie in the future, that will offer some special add-ons and premium features, but the basic version of Charlie will always remain free.
Other Options Similar to Charlie
Keep in mind that Charlie is totally different from other finance tracking options since he isn’t an app.
But if an application is more your thing, here are a few options to check out if you need some help tracking your spending and money habits.
- Digit – Earn $5 when you sign up. Digit tracks income and spending and suggests a savings plan
- Trim – Tracks your spending habits across multiple accounts, this app is the most similar to Charlie
- Mint – this isn’t a money saving app, but a budgeting app that you can use to track all of your expenses
- Spendee – Full service financial app. Check out our review here
I think Charlie is great tool for anyone looking to get their finances in order. Charlie is easy to use and I think a great option for younger people or for those that don’t want to bombard their phone with a bunch of different apps.
With a few alerts, Charlie can help put your financial worries in the background so you can focus on other things. All the while, Charlie will have you covered so that you stay on track with your goals.
Personally, I have found Charlie worth trying out and like his updates and reminders. Keep in mind you can “Delete” him at any time and all the information he has tracked will be erased.
Let me know in the comments below if this friendly Penguin is helping you save more money or if you think he is worth checking out and talking to.
Thanks for reading and happy frugaling!