Review of: Clink App
Reviewed by: Ruth Lyons
Last modified: June 26, 2018
Clink is a microsavings app that aims to help Millennials by making saving and investing simple. On the plus side, the service is totally free to use. The downside: Clink lacks a retirement account option, and there are easier-to-use services.
- New savers
- Mobile users
- No minimums
Built for Millennials, Clink associates saving and investing with fun and ease. Clink does this by connecting saving with shopping and dining activities. Going out to dinner or doing some online shopping? You can set a percentage of your bill that will be automatically added into your Clink account and invested in your stock portfolio.
Eyal Fruchtman, the founder and CEO, decided to create Clink because he saw a need for a saving and investing platform that would appeal to Millennials, the only demographic with a negative savings rate.
Clink polled twentysomethings and discovered a pattern:
- They think they don’t have enough money to save.
- They think they don’t understand enough about investing.
- They’re turned off by the minuscule return of bank savings accounts.
In addition according to Clink, Millennials were clear on what they did want:
- No minimum deposit to start.
- Ability to save small amounts monthly.
- Completely mobile app.
- No ongoing fees.
- Easy functionality.
Clink started in February 2014 and ran in beta for two years prior to its official launch in January 2016. While Clink is “for anyone who is looking to build a more financially secured future at any age,” the majority of current users are between 20 and 35 years old.
Clink App Fees & Features
|Mobile Access||iOS App, Android App|
|Promotions||Get $5 for Joining|
- Available Accounts — Individuals accounts only. Retirement accounts are not available.
- Flexible Investing Options — Schedule regular deposits into your Clink account, invest every time you dine or shop with your credit card, or both
- Touch ID Security – For Apple iOS devices that support it, you can log in with an added layer of security via your fingerprint.
Clink is currently available on iOS devices via iTunes and on Android devices via Google Play. Users can also register or login from their Facebook account.
Signing up for an account is quick and easy and can be done from the website or app.
To create a Clink account, download the app, enter your details, and link your checking account to the platform to start investing.
Linking your checking account to your Clink account allows you to determine how much money you would like to contribute to a diversified portfolio and how often.
The Clink scheduler allows you to pick what days you want to add money to your Clink account and determine the set amount. You can make changes to this setting at any time.
You choose to invest in two ways:
- Schedule a fixed dollar amount like $5 a week or $1 a day. Money is transferred from your checking account to your Clink account and invested in a diversified ETF-based portfolio based on a “Modern Portfolio Theory” (MPT) investing algorithm.
- Link your credit card and choose a fixed percentage that will define how much you set aside for savings every time you use your credit card to be added to your Clink account after transactions. For example, every time you dine out, 10% of the total spent would be calculated and transferred to your Clink account.
Clink App Alternatives
|Mobile Access||iOS App, Android App||iOS App, Apple Watch, Android App||iOS App, Android App|
|Promotions||Get $5 for Joining||Join Acorns for FREE||Get $5 from Stash Invest|
|Review||—||Read the Review||Read the Review|
Where Are Your Clink Funds Invested?
The money from your Clink account is placed into a portfolio of exchange-traded funds (ETFs). An ETF is an investment fund traded on the stock exchange and holds assets such as stocks, commodities, or bonds.
Clink manages your investment portfolio based on how aggressive or cautious you would like to be. Their algorithm applies a low-risk portfolio that’s right for you based on the Modern Portfolio Theory. The MPT is all about diversification and is the key to maximizing return with minimal risk; it emphasizes that risk is an inherent part of higher reward.
Clink uses bank-level security measures to protect your personal information. Clink does not store your personal information. Your banking credentials are used only once to authenticate and verify that the account belongs to you. All credit card information is stored by Envestnet, a leading provider of unified wealth management technology and services to investment advisors. If using an Apple iOS device and your device supports Touch ID you can enable it for more protection.
The investments you choose through Clink are held by the Apex Clearing Corporation, a brokerage and clearing firm. Actually, many brokerage firms are just a front end to Apex. Apex Clearing is a member of FINRA and SIPC.
To the user, Clink is completely free. So how do they offer their services for free? According to Eyal, they’ve raised $1.5 million to date to support research and development and are starting to discuss options with a few venture capitalists (VCs).
Additionally, the company is planning to make money by introducing a special savings feature in the second quarter of this year. It will allow users to save while actively buying with Clink’s online affiliates via a loyalty program.
“We plan to take a small part of the savings that would be mostly directed to a user’s Clink account as a cash back. For example, for every $100 spent on Amazon, $6 will be returned to the Clink user’s account and $1 will go to Clink as revenue.”
According to Clink’s filing with the SEC, it will most likely earn some fees from ETF sponsors.
Pros and Cons
- No Fees — Clink is free to use, really. There are no fees assessed to you as an account holder. And there are no transaction fees for getting in and out of the ETFs. But some of the ETFs Clink uses charge an annual fee.
- No Minimum Deposit — There is no minimum or maximum investment amount set for the credit card platform. If you utilize the Clink scheduler, the least amount you could invest on a continual basis is $1 biweekly.
- Makes Saving and Investing Effortless — You can automatically schedule funds to be added by selecting the amount and specific dates you would like to move money from your checking account into your Clink account. You can also schedule a percent of your spending (every time you shop or dine with your credit card) to be added to your Clink account after transactions.
- Doesn't Explain ETF Allocations — Doesn't explain the ETFs you are invested in and the possible risks of each of the five portfolio options.
- Returns Are Not Guaranteed — Keep in mind you are investing in the stock market and not a savings account. So it is possible to lose principal.
Clink is a free service that allows you to save and invest a portion of your money into a diversified portfolio. Since we initially reviewed their service, they have improved the user interface and seem like a more mature app.
From testing and reviewing all of the microsavings services we still believe Acorns is a better option. Keep in mind if you do use Clink it has the limitations of the other microsavings services in that it lacks a retirement account option.
Clink’s app should be used for short-term “rainy day fund” savings, such as emergency savings or saving toward a vacation. If you want to save toward retirement, we recommend one of the robo advisor services instead.
While other savings apps put your money in a low-interest savings account, Clink invests your money in exchange-traded funds (ETFs). As an investment choice, they are easy to trade, have a relatively low cost, and offer the opportunity to invest in a variety of assets. Many investors choose ETFs over mutual funds to create a proper asset allocation.
Clink is designed with busy Millennials in mind, who understand the importance of saving and investing but prefer simplicity and ease.