Personal Capital Review

Posted by Kate on August 15, 2012

If you’re looking for an online service to keep track of your finances in one place, it might be worth considering Personal Capital.

I recently opened an account to check out Personal Capital and see how well it works.

Personal Capital Review

Personal Capital is a free service that puts all of your financial information in one place, giving you a complete view of your finances, income, and spending habits.

Personal Capital Features

  • Simple Dashboard: Personal Capital offers an easy dashboard interface for adding accounts and a similarly simple look at income and spending trends.
  • Personalization: Personal Capital asks you a few simple questions to help them personalize their financial advice just for you.
  • Investment Advice: For those of you looking for some investment commentary, Personal Capital offers a really clean checkup tool that displays your risks, domestic/international exposure and costs all in one place. The focus of the Personal Capital tool is a deeper analysis on your investments that the standard account aggregation that similar tools provide.

Personal Capital Details

Adding Accounts. I really liked the ease with which you can add accounts – similarly to Mint.com, Personal Capital offers icons of a number of popular banks and financial firms. Once you click on your bank, you use your user ID and password to add the account.

Adding Multiple Accounts from the Same Provider. One thing I found slightly annoying was the fact that I had to add my Citi checking account and credit card accounts separately. They all appear in one place in my Citi account so it would have been nice to have them all uploaded at the same time in Personal Capital.

Security. Security is always a concern when you’re giving away access to your financial accounts but Personal Capital says it uses military-level encryption and verification safeguards to protect your financial information.

Cost. The cost to use the online product is free. If you sign up for their investment management services (which are optional) the fees are between 0.75% and 0.95%.

Sign Up Bonus. Don’t forget, Personal Capital, offers a $10 sign-up bonus to try out their service.

Investment Advisors

While I was testing out the details and sign up process of Personal Capital, Madison was focusing on the advisor portion of the product. Here are her thoughts:

The place where Personal Capital appears to be separating themselves from Mint.com is that they are also a registered investment advisor and offer to hook you up with a financial advisor. In fact, after adding your accounts, you will get a follow up phone call in a week or so. The good news is that they only call one time, so if the answering machine picks up you don’t have to talk to anyone if you don’t want to. They won’t keep pestering you. If you do want to chat with the advisor, you can do so once you are logged into your account.

Since Personal Capital mentions that they offer financial advice for clients with a minimum of $100,000 in investment assets, I made sure to link accounts with at least $100,000 to see all that the services they offer. In fact, I actually signed up for two accounts so I could test it for readers. You won’t see the financial advisor pop up until you link accounts that total $100,000. However, the fee for investment management services is too high for my taste, so I’m passing on that option and just using the free services.

Personal Capital Overall

Overall, Personal Capital seems like a good way to organize your finances if you’re trying to get a high-level look at where you stand. However, if you’re already using Mint.com, I’m not sure this will have too much of a value-add for you, unless you want to go beyond a high level account view and focus on your investments. I also had trouble finding my 401k provider so I would like to see some more financial institutions added for the account management portion of the service.

Are you using Personal Capital? What do you think?

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