- Review: PowerWallet
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The budgeting platform field is starting to get crowded but there is a relative newcomer to the pack. It’s called PowerWallet, and it seems to be coming on strong and drawing attention. It’s a online money management tool that’s simple enough for everyone.
PowerWallet may or may not be the right budgeting platform for you, but the variety of such platforms is proving there’s a money management system available for whatever your needs are.
If you’re looking for a very simple, but safe, money and budgeting service, PowerWallet could be perfect for you!
What is PowerWallet?
PowerWallet came into existence in 2012, though the idea for the application was actually hatched in 2008. It was the brainchild of Howard Dvorkin, a man with decades of financial expertise.
He saw the way people (especially families) were struggling with the poor economy of the Great Recession, and decided to create an easy to use application that would benefit ordinary people.
He teamed up with Bob Sullivan, who’s also something of a financial expert but more from the technical side. The two put together a budgeting program in the mold of Mint.com, and other budgeting platforms.
PowerWallet describes itself as an “invaluable, personal financial planning tool. It’s a program to help everyday people rebuild and secure their finances not just during a time of economic crisis, but for years to come”.
How Does PowerWallet Work?
PowerWallet has established a single platform from which you can manage your bank accounts, investment accounts, expenses, cash flow, and budgeting.
It’s easy to sign up — all you need is to provide your email address, create a password, enter your ZIP code, and you’re in. You can start adding accounts immediately, and no fees are required.
It works with a four-step process:
- Add all your accounts in one central place.
- Create budgets & track your spending.
- Set up bill alerts & never pay late fees again.
- Gain personal financial insight & meet your goals.
The system analyzes your expenses and shows how you’re spending your money, which enables you to create a workable budget. Once your budget is established, the platform will alert you in the event you go over budget. It will also make recommendations that will keep you on track with your overall financial plan.
The service also provides a calendar that will show your daily activities, as well as provide you with reminders of upcoming bills that need to be paid.
Bonus Feature: Discounts! Based on your interests and spending patterns, PowerWallet will also alert you to discounts that are available based on your specific financial needs. Some are offered directly through the site, and offer printable coupons. Since your spending patterns are evident, it will be able to offer discounts that you can use, rather than a bunch of bogus offers for products and services you don’t need.
PowerWallet is also set up for mobile applications. You can access the platform from your smartphone’s browser, and it is preparing to release an app for both iPhone and Android.
If you are interested in a steady stream of financially relevant articles, PowerWallet has its own blog, called PowerBlog.
Though the articles typically don’t deal specifically with issues related to PowerWallet itself, they can provide topics that can help engage you in personal finance. That can be important if you’re new to the concept of budgeting and need both additional incentives and information.
Security is a major concern today, and there would naturally be a strong desire to be certain that a platform that contains all of your financial information is completely safe and secure. Security is therefore built into the system.
PowerWallet it is a read-only product and doesn’t store any of your data, while it uses 256-bit SSL encryption. In addition, no one can transfer or remove funds. The system is monitored by security powerhouses such as McAfee, VeriSign and Truste, and offers maximum protection against a variety of threats including identity theft, viruses and spyware.
Also, PowerWallet vows it will not sell or distribute your personal and confidential information “at any time, for any reason”.
Drawbacks to PowerWallet
Overall the platform is easy to use and easy to navigate. It seems to live up to its promises of being a one-stop site for all of your financial management needs. Still, there are couple of issues you might be concerned about.
The platform was established only last year, which could be a bit of a concern considering the amount of financial information that you’ll be trusting to the site. Though it isn’t apparent, there can be glitches in the system that will come out as time goes on.
This is more personal preference than anything else. I tend to prefer systems that have some miles behind them, that way it‘s had time to make mistakes, and then straighten them out. A year or so in existence just seems a little bit lean to me.
The other concern is that the site is simple, as in really simple. From a user standpoint, that is a major advantage. However, it doesn’t seem it’s possible to get all the information you might need.
For example, I found nothing on the site that indicated any kind of fee structure. And when I entered my question in the search bar, it took me to a series of about a half a dozen articles that have nothing to do with PowerWallet fees.
My final conclusion is that there are no fees, based on the fact that the site does not specifically mention any, and on the fact that I have not been charged as a result of signing up. Still, it’s a bit of a tough way to learn something so basic.
But overall, PowerWallet looks like it’s a winning addition to the growing cast of financial management platforms.
Have you used PowerWallet? What was you experience?