The Bottom Line: Empower app helps you manage your money with a personalized financial coach in your pocket to help you earn, save and spend more wisely.
Banking app for managing money
AT A GLANCE
- $6 per month, 30 day free trial
- Interest checking account
- Automated savings
- Personalized coach
Manage your entire account from your phone
Pros & Cons
All of the above features sound great but consider these pros and cons before signing up.
You’ve already known for a while now there are lots of online and mobile banks that offer high rates and low fees.
Maybe you’ve even signed up for them and really like what the bank has to offer.
Given that, seeing another financial app pop onto the scene may not make you take pause like before. They’re all the same right?
However, Empower isn’t like many other apps currently out there.
It helps you with many money-related tasks like budgeting, banking and even offering personalized financial recommendations to improve your situation.
For example, Empower can help you save money on your regular expenses.
While it sounds like it’s like many of the features you see elsewhere, the hype could be worth it.
That’s because it offers an all-in-one solution for those who want both banking and budgeting features in one app.
Before deciding, read our Empower online review to see whether it’s the right choice for you.
Minimum Deposit: $0
Fees: $6 /month
Promotion: 30 day free trial
What is Empower app?
Empower started off as an app that works much like an AI-powered financial assistant, helping you analyze your spending and making recommendations to improve your finances.
Since 2018, it’s branched into banking, offering a checking account and a savings feature.
Accounts that were opened before January 1st, 2020 were provided by Evolve Bank & Trust, an FDIC member.
Current accounts are provided by nbkc bank, which is also a member of the FDIC and founded in 1999.
Like online-based financial institutions, Empower doesn’t have any physical branches.
Empower Checking Account
Empower’s checking account like many other online banking accounts doesn’t have a minimum balance requirement and there is no minimum deposit amount to open an account.
Right now, the account offers 0.25% APY, which is fairly competitive against other online counterparts but it’s still higher than what you can find at traditional banking institutions.
The account comes with a free Visa debit card and you can use it outside the U.S.
Although Empower doesn’t charge you a foreign transaction fee, Visa does at 1%, much lower than the traditional 3% from credit card companies.
With the debit card, you can freeze and unfreeze it right from the app with a simple swipe of your finger.
You also have access to the MoneyPass© network with over 32,000 ATMs across the U.S.
If you do use an ATM outside of the MoneyPass network, Empower won’t charge you but the ATM owner might.
Empower does reimburse ATM fees up to $10 each time, up to three times per month.
That means if you were charged $3 on two separate trips to the ATM, you will be reimbursed $6.
Empower doesn’t charge to have your debit card replaced, nor overdraft or non sufficient payment fees.
However, in order to access their full suite of features, you’ll need to fork over $6 each month.
These features include having access to a human financial coach, budgeting tools and more.
However, users can use these features for the first 30 days for free before the monthly fee kicks in.
Empower Autosave Feature
Empower’s Autosave feature is basically the app’s automatic savings option.
The idea behind the feature is that you set a certain amount to be set aside, like helping you with your short term goals.
To use this feature, you need to link a checking account and tell the app the dollar amount you want to save each week.
Afterwards, that amount is automatically transferred to a separate account which you can access whenever you want.
In addition, Empower also adjusts the amount saved based on your current financial situation.
Meaning, if the app sees that your expenses have been higher, it’ll set aside less and more if it detects you have extra cash lying around.
The APY is the same as the checking account at 0.25% APY and your deposits are insured by the FDIC up to $250,000.
In addition to the checking account and savings feature, here’s what you can expect from the Empower app.
Connect Outside Accounts
Part of being able to analyze your finances is giving the app access to your important financial accounts.
This is especially more important if you have multiple accounts (including banking, loans and investments) across many different financial institutions.
Empower lets you connect your outside accounts within the app so that you can see all your accounts in one place.
The app supports more than 10,000 U.S. institutions including credit card issuers, banks, brokers, lenders and 401k accounts. There are simple instructions on how you can do so.
That means if you want to track your finances and make it easier to take advantage of the other features, then linking your accounts is a good idea.
All you have to do is to log into the app and see these accounts in one place.
Empower offers you the opportunity to see an overview of your financial habits, with charts and graphs to see visually what’s going on.
It also offers monthly reports that summarizes your expenses and income, giving you the chance to see where your money is going.
This report can help you reflect on what else you can improve with your finances.
Intuitive Budgeting Tools
The app allows you to create a budget that’s based on what you spend and hopefully one you’ll stick with.
Empower classifies expenses automatically and you can customize it however you want.
However, if you’re just starting out or aren’t sure how to create a realistic budget, the app will suggest categories and monthly limits based on your income. You can use that for a while and adjust as needed.
There are also notifications and reminders that are timely, helping you with various things such as making sure you’re within your budget.
For example, it’ll send you a notification when you’re about to overspend or if you’re way below your budget for the month.
Managing Debts Automatically
If you have loans or debts you’re paying off, connect those accounts to the app. That way you can see quickly at a glance what you owe, plus the due dates for each payment.
To help you even further, you can set up autopay from within your app, so that you minimize your chances of missing a payment.
Empower offers up to a $150 cash advance and won’t charge you any late fees or interest. T
o determine your eligibility, the app will look at factors such as your bank account activity and history, plus your average monthly direct deposit instead of conducting a credit check.
If approved, you’ll see the cash advance in your Empower checking account and pay it back on your upcoming direct deposit.
Expert Financial Recommendations
Empower offers personalized recommendations using automated technology so that you can save money. It’ll populate a list of your subscriptions for you so that you can see what’s not being used and cancel them.
The app also looks at your regular expenses like internet and phone bills to find better deals for you. If it does, then you can even ask Empower to negotiate to lower your bills on your behalf.
There are also human financial coaches on call via live chat inside the app. You can ask questions related to your finances and the coach will make personalized recommendations based on your individual situation.
Let’s say you want to talk about whether you can afford to buy a house. The coach can walk through your financial situation including your debt-to-income ratio and a goal for a down payment to help you figure out the feasibility of home ownership.
Empower vs. Competitors
Empower offers a lot of powerful features packed into a simple to use app.
Users will love that it offers customizable budgeting features, the ability to see all your accounts in one place, a checking account with a fairly competitive rate and more.
Plus, many other financial institutions don’t always offer free ATM reimbursements, which is a perk.
For those seeking a tool that helps them with their finances, having access to human financial coaches and a feature that helps you negotiate bills is a great asset to have.
While you do need to pay a $6 monthly fee, it might be worth it if you can reap at least $72 or more worth of savings.
You can sign up for 30 days and opt out if you decide that it’s not for you.
Empower app helps you manage your money with a personalized financial coach in your pocket to help you earn, save and spend more wisely.
- Editor Rating
- Rated 4 stars
- Empower Finance
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