Top 5 Personal Finance Apps and Tools to Watch in 2022
Every year, as part of my weekly column, I end up reviewing dozens of personal finance apps and tools. 2021 was no exception to this as I continued to discover new services in a variety of fields. Amazingly, for as many apps as I’ve explored, I’m still often surprised to find how many offer something unique or are just plain awesome. With that in mind, I’m excited to once again offer my list of the top personal finance apps and tools for 2022.
As I did last year, this time around I’m putting an emphasis not only on products I’ve enjoyed using but also on startups/platforms I think are deserving of attention for their growth potential. So, without further ado, let’s jump into the list.
When I first encountered the PointCard, I pretty much scoffed at the idea of a debit with an annual fee. However, upon seeing that the company had raised $46.5 million, I gave the card another look and ultimately decided to give it a shot. Sure enough, once I had the chance to see how the perks worked in practice, I became a fan. Now, as we start 2022, Point has just switched banking providers and promises more updates in the coming months.
There are a lot of aspects of PointCard that I’ve come to enjoy. First, points earned can easily be converted to cash at any time and pretty much instantly. Second, while we’re on the topic of rewards, I’ve seen a ton of value from the “Streak” promotions they’ve done, allowing cardholders to earn up to 3,000 bonus points for making at least one purchase a day for a set number of days in a row. Granted, these purchases do need to total at least $200, but some strategic spending easily makes this worth it. Plus, the card refunds ATM fees (in the form of points), which makes it exceptionally useful.
As for what’s ahead for Point, they’ve already offered a bit of a preview as initial details about their PointCard Titan have been revealed. The apparent charge card will offer premium rewards and benefits while also commanding a premium annual fee of $399. Funny enough, as I recently wrote about, I’m a bit skeptical about this product just as I was the initial debit card. Perhaps they’ll prove me wrong once again but, either way, I definitely still think Point deserves a spot on this list as one to watch.
Last year, I put the prize-linked banking account platform Yotta on my list of apps to watch. Sure enough, the FinTech had a big year, rolling out a number of new features, raising a $13.2 million Series A, etc. Yet, during 2021, I actually discovered a seemingly similar but actually significantly different prized-linked account that I may actually slightly prefer to Yotta: PrizePool.
In my head-to-head comparison of the two platforms, I noted that Yotta’s weekly contests operate in a manner more akin to a lottery while PrizePool’s were more like raffles. That difference means that customers will at least win something every week with PrizePool… even if it’s just more tickets for the following week’s contest. On top of that, the account does currently offer a 0.30% APY “savings bonus,” which is well above the national average.
Looking ahead, PrizePool currently has a least two new products in the works. The first is a debit card that will enable customers to earn bonus tickets and potentially see their purchases reimbursed. Elsewhere, a crypto savings account feature is also teased in the app. Although both additions have open waitlists at the moment, it’s not quite clear when they might officially arrive. Hopefully they will arrive in 2022 and propel PrizePool forward.
The next two apps on my list are actually ones I haven’t had a chance to write a full review of yet but have been impressed with or interested by enough to include. Up first is Peak Money. At first glance, Peak looks like a straightforward automated savings app. However, after unlocking its premium features, it shows some really creative twists.
With Peak, users can create various savings goals and arrange to make regular contributions toward that goal. While this is hardly a new concept, Peak’s sleek app and fun graphics add some flavor to the basic idea. Peak Premium then builds on these aspects by giving users access to clever auto-save Action ideas to help them set even more money aside. These include such formulas as saving 10% of your purchase amount anytime you eat out (with the app monitoring your linked cards to find applicable transactions). Of course, customers can also create custom Actions in this vein.
To be sure, there are plenty of apps like Peak, yet I don’t think any quite package themselves the way Peak Money does. On top of that, it seems as though the startup has a smart and innovative team behind it that will hopefully inject some new ideas and features into the product. This one could be a bit of a dark horse, but I think it definitely shows potential.
Another service I’ve had a chance to try but have yet to fully review is Cred.ai. Admittedly, part of the reason I haven’t yet written up my complete thoughts on the product is because I’m not 100% sure how it works. But, the basic idea is that the company’s unicorn card functions like a debit card but helps customers build credit by reporting a credit limit on your report.
There’s a lot about Cred.ai that makes it clear they are chasing a younger demographic. For one, their unicorn card is made of metal — which is all the rage among those who like to “flex.” Elsewhere, the app is filled with vibrant colors, patterns, and even video content that make it stand out. Of course, there’s also the service’s functionality, which focuses on helping consumers build up their credit without exposing them to the risks of debt.
Like I said, I do still have a few questions about Cred.ai but it’s clear that this startup is going places. I actually first heard about the product when YouTuber Philip DeFranco announced his investment in the company. With the current credit system continuing to be a point of contention, I fully expect that Cred.ai and offerings like it will prove to be big disruptors in 2022 and beyond.
It’s been a while since I initially reviewed One Finance but, in that time, the app has managed to roll out several new features. In fact, while we’re on the topic of credit-building services, One happened to add such a product as well. Beyond that, the account continues to offer some clever features — not to mention some impressive APY.
Once again, One Finance is an app that looks deceptively simple yet has some profoundly useful quirks. For example, their Pockets feature can not only be used to help customers set money aside for goals but can also be used to create cash envelopes-style budgets. To that latter point, users can even select which Pocket they want to pay from when using their debit card. Meanwhile, as I mentioned, One also has some great APYs, offering up to 1% on regular savings and up to 3% on “Auto-Save” funds such as direct deposit and debit card round-up savings.
Overall, I have to say that One does a lot of things right. Furthermore, as someone who loves seeing products evolve for the better, it’s been fascinating to see the app continually innovate. In turn, putting them on my list of apps to watch in 2022 was a simple decision.
Even if 2021 wasn’t the best of years in the grand scheme of things, it turned out to be an incredible year for FinTech. Indeed, the past year introduced me to plenty of great new apps, saw continued improvements to some old favorites, and even saw the resurrection of some others! So, in addition to keeping an eye on these five apps in particular, stay tuned as I bring you many more personal finance tool reviews throughout 2022.
Originally published at Dyer News.