With so many personal finance tools out there today, it’s easy to get overwhelmed about which one is best to use.
While all of them claim to help you improve your finances, they all work in slightly different ways. This is a good thing, because it means you have plenty of choices to try and see which one works best for your personal situation.
However, there are various motives and reasons why a service might recommend a certain financial product or service to you, with a common reason being business-related.
Luckily, there’s Cinch Financial, a new tool in town that provides truly unbiased financial advice and recommendations to help you make the best decisions possible.
What is Cinch Financial?
Cinch is a personal finance service that only makes money by charging its users a low monthly subscription fee.
Cinch is different because it doesn’t make money by sharing your personal information with other companies or recommending certain products to you that you may not even need. Cinch only earns money through the $4.99/month fee charged to app users if you continue using the service after a 90-day free trial.
Cinch has been around for a few years, however after realizing their product could be made to serve users better, they pulled the old tools off the market and went back to the drawing board.
If you were a Cinch user in the past, you’ll be delighted at all of the changes they’ve made since the first version came out in 2015.
The old version relied on customers to tell Cinch what their financial goals were and what types of products they were interested in. The site would compare all of the companies, brands, products, and rates before giving users a short list to choose from.
Now, the company still compares thousands of products to find the exact best match for every individual user, but they’ve taken a bit of the control away from users, which is actually a good thing, and here’s why. Most of us aren’t as financially savvy as we think. For example, we might think we need a new credit card to help us consolidate and pay off debt on other credit cards. But, that may not always be the case, as Cinch found out through their research and by watching user data from the first release in 2015.
What they found was the most users weren’t making as much financial progress as they could have been. Instead of using their new credit wisely to help pay off debt, they ended up racking up more debt instead.
The new version of Cinch makes recommendations for you that will actually work to improve your finances. Don’t worry, you’ll still get the final say about which advice to follow!
Getting Started with Cinch
When you sign up for Cinch, you’ll be asked a few questions about your demographics and finances. These are pretty basic questions, so you don’t have to worry about having all of your financial information or paperwork handy when you sign up. In fact, they say the signup process only takes about three minutes to complete!
Part of the sign up and on-boarding process does ask for your permission to pull your credit report (but it’s only a soft inquiry so it has no impact on your score), plus they also ask you to connect your bank account to the app. This way they can see what’s going on with your finances from a combination of your credit report and your bank account.
Currently Cinch is in a closed Beta, which means you have to have an invitation to access the app. But, you can sign up for their waiting list here. Then, you’ll be notified by email as soon as the app is available for you to use.
How Cinch Works
Unlike most personal finance tools that ask for access to your checking account, Cinch isn’t focused on pulling all of your individual transactions and categorizing them for you. Instead, they like to give you the big picture of your finances by analyzing four main areas:
- Spending Flow
- Debt and Credit
- Rainy Day Fund
Today, Cinch has the capability to look at your current insurance policies for term life insurance and car insurance. They’ll make recommendations about if you have enough insurance, too much insurance, or if they think you are overpaying with your current policies.
This is similar to a cash flow analysis. Instead of categorizing your spending, Cinch just looks at the general amount of money flowing in and out of your linked checking account each month. They’ll make recommendations about what to do with any extra cash coming in, as well as giving you a warning if they notice your spending is increasing over time.
Debt and Credit
Cinch will give you the numbers for your total debt (excluding credit cards), and your credit card debt total separately. They also view your historical data to see if your debt is increasing or decreasing over time.
Linking your credit cards to Cinch provides even more data about this section to help you with the best recommendations for getting out of debt.
Rainy Day Fund
This is what Cinch calls your emergency fund, checking account buffer, or cash on hand. They encourage users to build liquid savings, as well as calculating the current buffer in your checking account based on your average monthly income and expenses.
After viewing these four sections on the dashboard, Cinch will give you prioritized advice about how to improve each section. The most important advice is listed at the top, but users are free to work on any of the items listed in whatever order they choose.
Clicking on each item will give more information about it, as well as some options for what to do.
For example, if Cinch wants to help you pay off credit card debt, it may give you two choices to either take out a personal loan, or get a low rate credit card. After the user selects which option they prefer, Cinch compares thousands of rates and products to find the best match based on your financial data.
The recommendations will be listed and you make the final decision about which one to choose. Only after you’ve chosen does Cinch tell you which company is offering the product. They feel that the terms are more important than which company is offering the product you’ve chosen.
The Future of Cinch
Currently Cinch doesn’t have the capability for you to apply for a loan or credit card, or buy new insurance directly through the tool. But, they do offer step-by-step instructions, and a to-do list that must be completed in order to help you implement their recommendation.
In the future, Cinch plans to have the functionality for users to apply for new loans, insurance, and more directly within the Cinch experience, and in some cases, Cinch can even apply on your behalf!
They also plan to expand their insurance section to cover health insurance, umbrella insurance, and more.
Cinch Could Be Your Next Go-To App
For consumers who want an easy financial app that looks out for their best interests, Cinch could be revolutionary. It gives you a look at the big picture of your finances, and helps you implement advice to improve where you need it most.
The benefits of using Cinch far outweigh the $4.99 monthly fee, especially when you know that you’re getting recommendations tailored to your specific financial situation.
Save Money Using a Robot
How would you like to save money without having to do much effort? Well, now you can.
There is a free tool called Trim which will cancel your unused subscriptions, find you cash back, and renegotiate your bills for you. All you do is sign up, connect an account and their robotic assistant will email you ways that you can save money.