What is PocketGuard and how does it work?
PocketGuard is a budgeting app that syncs with your bank and credit accounts to help you manage your finances. You can view all of your accounts in one place, and PocketGuard can automatically update your actual income and latest transactions.
If you’re prone to overspending, the In My Pocket feature may help. It uses estimates of your income and expenses to offer an instant look at how much money you should be safe to spend. And you can take a deeper look with simple spending reports using your most recent transactions.
Transactions are organized as they come in, so you can see where your money is going. And having the latest data ensures your savings goals and budgets are always up to date. Users who want to add even more customization can upgrade to PocketGuard Plus, which unlocks extra features like custom categories and unlimited savings goals.
Sync accounts from thousands of institutions
PocketGuard is all about automation, and it starts with syncing your personal finance accounts. You can link accounts from thousands of institutions, including:
Connecting all of your accounts in one place gives you a look at your complete financial picture.
What’s more, with your accounts synced, PocketGuard can pull your up-to-date balance and transaction history. This lets the app update your budgets and savings goals to reflect your latest income and expense information.
Know how much you can spend with In My Pocket
Another way PocketGuard takes advantage of its account-syncing ability is its unique In My Pocket feature. With In My Pocket, you can see in one glance how much spending money you have at any given time. This can be especially useful for folks prone to impulse buys that break their budgets; instead of wondering if you can splurge, know for sure in seconds.
The number you get from the In My Pocket feature is based on an estimate of your income and expenses. To calculate it, PocketGuard looks at details about your recurring income, regular bills, and even your savings goals to tell you how much you have — and how much you’ll likely need in the coming weeks.
Organize expenses and see spending reports
As your transactions come in, PocketGuard assigns them categories to help organize your expenses — though you can edit them in case you don’t agree. The app then uses those categories to give you an overview of where your money is going, making it easy to see if you’re overspending in any given category. Customize it even further with personalized hashtags on purchases to group transactions across categories.
Build budgets and set savings goals
Of course, no personal finance app would be complete without the ability to build a budget. PocketGuard’s account syncing ensures you’re always working with the latest data, and you can build realistic budgets based on your actual account information.
Part of any good budgeting method is setting savings goals, and PocketGuard makes it simple. Name your goal and sync it to a linked bank account to get started. Monthly contributions to your savings goal can be included in the In My Pocket calculations to keep you on budget.
What could be improved
Must sync accounts in free version
One major downside of the free version of the PocketGuard app, especially when compared to similar apps, is that there are no manual options. Some apps allow you to manually add bank or credit card accounts if an institution isn’t supported or you don’t want to give the app access to your financial data. But PocketGuard makes you link a bank or credit account before you can even get into the app to explore.
If you’re willing to upgrade to the paid PocketGuard Plus, you do have more options for manual accounts. Plus users can add up to five “cash” accounts to track cash transactions or unsupported bank accounts. This also allows you to keep tabs on your ATM withdrawals with cash account transactions.
Free version has customization limits
As you’ve likely noticed by now, the regular PocketGuard app has a lot of limitations — like not being able to manually add accounts or transactions. Free users also won’t be able to create custom transaction categories or add multiple categories to a single transaction.
Savings goals are also limited for free users. The basic PocketGuard app limits users to one savings goal, while PocketGuard Plus users can create unlimited goals. And you’ll need to upgrade if you want to edit transaction dates or export your data. In other words, if you plan to use the app regularly and for more than one or two accounts, you may need to pay for the upgrade.
View more information: https://www.fool.com/the-ascent/personal-finance/pocketguard-review/