AT A GLANCE
Published or updated: May 6, 2014
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Most Americans don’t use the same banking institution for all of their financial accounts.
For that reason, it’s not always easy to keep tabs on all of your loans, credit cards, retirement accounts, pension plans, brokerage accounts, and other financial tools that may be housed in many different places.
If you find that you need help managing your accounts, Yodlee MoneyCenter might have the solution.
What is Yodlee MoneyCenter?
Simply put, Yodlee is an online money management software that can help you keep track of your finances and all of your accounts – no matter where they are. It’s completely free to use, and offers multiple tools to help you manage your accounts, view transactions, make payments all from a central location, and adjust and optimize your budget.
In addition to scrutinizing transactions on your checking and savings accounts, you can view portfolio gains/losses, check your net worth with a specialized calculator, view and change budget goals, pay your bills, and much more.
Creating an Account and Adding Your Information
Creating a Yodlee account is extremely simple and straightforward. You will need to select a user name and password, answer a few personal questions for security purposes, and you’re off!
Yodlee MoneyCenter allows you to upload accounts of any and every variety: checking, savings, investments, loans, 401k, pensions, credit cards, and any other account type you may have. You will need to enter your previously-existing online user name and password at each institution to properly add those accounts to your Yodlee account. As long as you can access your information online, you should have no issue adding your existing accounts.
I had 13 accounts to add, and it only took me about 20 minutes. Once your accounts are uploaded, you will easily be able to view transaction history for all of your accounts together, or just the ones you choose. Having all of this information at your fingertips will greatly benefit your ability to create a successful budget, and potentially prevent you from making any financial missteps due to disorganization.
Advantages of Yodlee
Because Yodlee MoneyCenter touts itself as a “one-stop shop” for nearly all of your financial needs, there isn’t much that can’t be done right from your dashboard. Features include:
1. Online Billpay
If you currently pay your bills online or by check, you may want to try the bill pay feature on the Yodlee MoneyCenter, which will allow you to take care of all of your bills in one place. You just choose where the funds will come from, where they are going, and when you would like the bill to be paid. You can do this each time bills are due, or schedule recurring payments.
2. Financial Calendar
The calendar feature allows you to see, day by day, all of your transactions that occurred on any particular day. When you click on a day, you see a breakdown of each transaction and on which account it took place. It also provides the balance for each account on that day. The calendar is a great way to see spending trends. For example, if you spend more in the beginning of the month, you will notice it in this area.
3. Budgeting Tools
The budgeting tools at Yodlee include a monthly budget goal tracker where you can see how much you spend in different categories and set up long-term financial goals for those budget categories. There’s also a specific goal savings tool, a cash flow analysis, and a credit card utilization chart. If all of these are used in conjunction with one another, they add up to one heck of a budget tracking program.
With all of this information at your disposal for free, you should have no reason to avoid putting your finances in order any longer.
Disadvantages of Yodlee
While Yodlee MoneyCenter is great for my needs, it is not without its flaws. Here are four issues I have with the software.
1. Categorization Issues
If you wish to view all of your transactions by category, you may have to re-organize them beforehand. For example, purchases made at a store like CVS or Walgreens may be categorized as “Pharmacy,” even if you were purchasing personal care products or something to drink. I also make many purchases from Amazon, which is categorized as “general merchandise” no matter what I purchase. I prefer to have my transactions categorized correctly for optimum budget adjustment, so I am forced to change the category that each transaction belongs. Although this is only a minor inconvenience, it can still be aggravating at times.
2. Budgeting Limitations
Another drawback that I noticed is the lack of a true budgeting template. Sure, Yodlee allows you to make a monthly budget by category and will let you know how you do in comparison to your intended goals, but there is much more that could be done as far as budgeting goes. Yodlee lacks other options such as spreadsheets or a spending plan that would improve the overall experience. More in-depth budgeting is not a complete necessity, but I would definitely like to see an improvement in this department.
This one isn’t unique to Yodlee, but with all third party websites that require private information, protection of your identity and personal information is paramount. Recent events with some websites go to show that despite the best encryption, security, and staff, it does not always ensure your protection. Even with all of the assurances in the world, things can go wrong.
4. Information Overload/Confusion
Typically, I would be the last one to complain about too much information at my fingertips, but I can see how users would be confused by the numerous reports on Yodlee and how they are laid out. There are multiple reports and breakdowns to choose from, and if you are new to the site or are easily confused, you might get overwhelmed. Once you familiarize yourself with the multiple reports however, they get easier to understand and make adjustments to. But at first glance, they may actually turn new users off.
For my needs, Yodlee MoneyCenter does the trick wonderfully. Some may be less than thrilled with the somewhat bland visuals, especially when compared to some of the “other guys” in the same niche (i.e. Mint, You Need a Budget (YNAB), and Mvelopes), but I don’t need colorful graphs to get the message.
Every feature offered by Yodlee MoneyCenter has a purpose, and if you are looking for a money management tool yourself, Yodlee could be the one for you. Based on my experience thus far, I will most likely be utilizing this service for years to come.
Have you ever used Yodlee MoneyCenter or a similar program to manage your money? If so, how has that experience worked for you?