There has been a lot of good publicity surrounding Cleo since it first appeared back in 2016. The idea behind the app is to make it easier to save and understand where you are spending your money. And if you have recently taken out a short-term loan it can also help manage the payments by separating your outgoings into individual categories.
But can Cleo live up to its promise? And can it really help you manage your money? We investigate below to give you the full lowdown.
What is Cleo?
Cleo is an app that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to help you get to grips with your spending so you aren’t wasting money you cannot really afford. It is supposed to be quick and easy to use and can be downloaded on both iPhone and Android.
The Cleo website says there have been over 1 million downloads to date, with over 500 million transactions carried out via the app.
How does it work?
Once you give Cleo secure access to your account(s) it analyses your transaction history. The AI technology then reviews, calculates and focusses on interesting habits and spending trends while letting you keep track of budgets.
You also have the option to keep an eye on your balance, check latest transactions, manage direct debits and see how you have been spending by category. For example, it will split any subscriptions you have into one category, eating out into another, and so on.
What are the main features of Cleo?
Cleo features five main selling points which it hopes will win you over as a customer:
1. Voice activation
You can ask questions about your finances and Cleo will show you what you need to know. Use SMS or Facebook Messenger and in the near future, it will also include Google Assistant and Alexa.
2. Instant balance checks
If you need to know your balance in a hurry, simply open the app, ask Cleo to tell you your balance and you will be told straight away.
3. Budget limits
Once Cleo has analysed your spending it will suggest a budget based on your spending habits. But if you want to change it at any time, you are always in control and can do so very quickly.
4. Account breakdown
Rather than spending hours trawling through your transactions, because Cleo automatically categorises your spending, you can quickly see where most of your money is going.
It can even be shown in an easy to understand graph format, so you do not have to be an accountant to get your head around it.
5. Spending advice
Once the app knows where you are spending your money, it offers suggestions on where you can save it. The app will suggest better deals for any packages or subscriptions you frequently pay for, so you can decide whether to investigate further.
Is Cleo safe to use?
The safety aspect is vitally important, especially if you are giving permission to an app to view your personal account. However, Cleo can only view encrypted transactions using bank-level 256-bit encryption and other security services. This means no-one is able to touch your money apart from yourself.
Cleo also promises that the data is never stored on its servers, so that should remove the danger of your information being collected and sold onto third party companies.
For further security, Cleo says they will cover you up to £85,000, which is the same as the Financial Services Compensation Scheme and savings guarantee.
What is the Cleo Referral scheme?
If you introduce a friend, family member or loved one to Cleo and they decide to sign up, you will be rewarded with £5.
All you have to do is say ‘share’ to Cleo and it will send you a unique link. From there you can share it with Facebook Messenger, or post it to your timeline. If you prefer to just copy and paste it wherever you want you can do that too.
If the recipient clicks the link, you’ll be sent a message to tell you they have signed up. Once their bank account is connected you will be sent another message telling you to claim your £5.
To receive the money, simply set up a Cleo Wallet so it can be deposited inside. You can create one by saying ‘Cleo wallet’ which will start the process. If you already have one, then the money will automatically be placed inside.
Should I use Cleo?
Being able to see your bank account details in an instant will be helpful to many. It is also useful that the app will break down your spending so you can quickly see where all of your money is going each month.
The security measures in place should offer reassurance to new and existing users and ultimately the customer is always in control.
While Cleo cannot help with the movement of funds, it will prove helpful to those who need to keep on top of their finances at any point during the day so they can make an informed decision before parting with their money.