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Manilla Review – Get All Your Online Accounts & Bills in One Place

By David Bakke

manilla logoLooking to save money and de-clutter your life? It may be time to organize and streamline your financial picture, and the services offered by Manilla can help.

Personal finance can be a dull and tedious subject, but if you get all the information for your various accounts in one place, you can easily manage your finances and keep up with due dates. Manilla offers bill payment reminders and  stores all of your documents and statements.

How It Works

The Manilla website offers you the ability to manage all of your monthly bills from one location, and your information is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This provides you the convenience of not having to log into the many different accounts related to your monthly bills to view your balances or check due dates.

Additionally, with Manilla you can add other accounts related to your finances, such as airlines and travel accounts, magazine subscriptions, utility statements, investment accounts, and more. It also offers document storage for past billing statements, so if you ever need to research anything, all your information is conveniently available. Manilla also delivers email or text message alerts when your bills are coming due.

The services offered by Manilla can be quite beneficial to those whose finances need organizing – and best of all, it’s free.

manilla screenshot

The sign-up process for Manilla is simple and straightforward. Enter your full name along with your zip code, create a username and password, and answer two security questions. Once that’s complete, you can start linking the companies that send you bills to your account.

Manilla does most of the legwork for you. First, you must select your cell phone provider. You can choose from a list of carriers such as Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon, or add your own if you don’t see yours. You will need your login information for all your online accounts.

As you go through the setup process, if you have an account that you don’t see on Manilla, you can send a message requesting to have your payee added. If you want to add an account that you don’t have online access to, you can do so by creating a custom account. Just enter the name of the biller, the amount due, and how early before the due date you want to be reminded. In this case, data won’t be pulled from your billing account, you just receive a manual reminder from Manilla based on the information you enter. After you have linked at least six accounts, you have the option of entering your mobile number to receive SMS alerts, or you can download the Manilla app.

Once all your accounts have been added, you will have a customized dashboard with tabs for accounts, documents, and reminders. Under the “Accounts” tab you can review all the accounts you’ve added. The “Documents” tab is where you find your billing statements, and the “Reminders” tab is for any pending accounts that may be due.

You also get a clear view of all your financial accounts, broken down by category. You can’t pay your bills through Manilla, as it’s not a payment processor, but there is a convenient “Pay Your Bill” tab under each of your accounts that sends you directly to your payee’s website for a streamlined bill-paying process.

Key Features

  • User Friendly Interface. Once you get your account completely set up, you don’t need to worry about remembering all your different passwords for different accounts. Just log in to Manilla and you have instant access to all your monthly services and accounts – including bank accounts and credit cards, monthly bills and services, airline rewards and loyalty programs, daily deal coupons, and magazine subscriptions.
  • Alerts and Reminders. Set up a customized alert through your account or let Manilla do the work – it will send you reminders for payment dates on all your monthly bills. If you customize your alert, you can choose how soon before your bill is due that you’ll receive your reminder.
  • Document Storage. Manila stores your monthly billing statements for you, so researching an item is quick and easy. You can keep them on Manilla as long as you want, or download them to your personal computer if needed.
  • No-Cost Accounts. All services offered by Manilla are 100% free, which means there’s no need to input any credit card information. It will never try to sell you anything either. Manilla is free for consumers because it charges a small fee to its business partners to deliver statements and bills to its customers There is no advertising whatsoever with Manilla.
  • Referral Program. After you link at least three accounts, you qualify for Manilla’s referral program. For any friend you refer that signs up, you get a $5 Amazon gift card.

now there's manilla

Advantages

  1. Superior Customer Service. If you have a question, you can  call support from 10am to 6pm (EST), Monday through Friday, or send an email. You can also chat live with a customer service representative during phone support business hours.
  2. Safety. You may be leery about having all of your online account log in information located on one website. However, Manilla takes data security very seriously, and takes significant steps to protect your information. The site uses SSL 256-bit encryption, and is verified by TRUSTe, VeriSign, and McAfee.
  3. Convenience. Manilla offers a mobile app that you can use to manage your account from your smartphone.
  4. Financial Organization. One obstacle that prevents many of us from effectively managing our finances is being disorganized. With Manilla, you can have all your financial accounts viewable in one place.
  5. Customized Reminders. When you pay your bills online, you may notice that some banks process payments from certain billers slower than others. If you need more lead time to pay a bill, you can customize when you receive your alert for any of your accounts.

Disadvantages

  1. Only Online Accounts Can Be Accessed. Manilla is limited due to the fact that if you don’t have online access to your accounts, you can’t fully utilize its services. You can manually add an offline account through the Custom Account feature and receive a reminder to pay it, but it won’t pull data from your account directly.
  2. Setup Is Time-Consuming. Unless you remember every single one of your usernames and passwords for all of your online accounts, the setup process can be quite time-consuming. I received quite a few error messages and had to go back to my billing websites several times to verify log in information.
  3. No Budgets or Graphs. Manilla is commonly compared to Mint, another personal finance organization website. While Manilla offers features that Mint does not (such as document storage), it doesn’t offer some of the popular features found on Mint, such as budgeting tools and graphs.
  4. Some Accounts Automatically Switch to Paperless Billing. If you have online access to certain accounts but also prefer to receive a paper statement, once you link to Manilla, you’ll be automatically switched to paperless billing. This could be an issue if you rely on receiving paper statements as a reminder. This applies to bills with AT&T, Comcast, Citibank, and DIRECTV, among others.

Final Word

If you access your accounts online quite often and know all of your usernames and passwords, signing up for Manilla is easy and simple. However, if you’re like me and don’t have easy access to this information, creating an account can be a bit more time consuming. However, once your accounts are all successfully linked, Manilla is a great way to keep your finances organized, and with text message or email reminders, you should never miss paying a monthly bill again.

Have you had any personal experience with Manilla?

David Bakke
David started his own personal finance blog, YourFinances101, in June of 2009 and published his first book on ways to save more and spend less called "Don't Be A Mule..." Since then he has been a regular contributor for Money Crashers. He lives just outside Atlanta, GA and most all of his free time is taken up by his amazing three year old son, Nicholas.

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Comments

  • http://www.facebook.com/ivanov.anton.a Anton A. Ivanov

    Comparing Manila with Mint is the first thing that came to my mind as well. After reading your review, I would have to say that Mint sounds like a better deal, since I would rather take the ability to create budgets and track financial goals over the ability to store previous financial statements. But perhaps I will give this a try in the future.

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