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Albert app logo

Albert app review: A complete budgeting and investing app

NYC Russ / Shutterstock

🗓️

Updated: November 29, 2023

Partners on this page provide us earnings.

3.8

Wise Reviews™

Commission and fees - 4

Budgeting tools - 3.5

Investing options - 3.5

Ease-of-use - 4

Albert is an all-in-one app that helps users save, spend, borrow, and invest. It's popular for its fee-free cash advance, and it also offers numerous tools to help you save money and budget. However, paying for its Genius plan might not be worth it for everyone.

3.8

Wise Reviews™

In recent years, there's been a rise of the “all-in-one” personal finance app. More companies are letting you invest, save, and spend your money from a single account. And nowadays, these apps are broadening their services to include features like cash-back rewards, cash advances, and budgeting help.

What is Albert?

Albert is a perfect example of an app that's a one-stop solution if you need a quick cash advance or help with budgeting. And it even offers guided investing and automatic saving tools to help keep your finances on track.

Our Albert app review covers all of its features, potential costs, and some other alternatives so you can make the best choice for your finances.

Pros

Pros

  • Offers fee-free cash advances up to $250

  • Variety of investing themes and portfolios are available

  • Supports fractional share investing

  • Several budgeting and saving tools to help you manage your spending

  • Albert Genius users get perks like cash-back rewards and fee-free AllPoint ATM withdrawals

Cons

Cons

  • Albert Genius costs at least $6 per month, which is steep if you don't invest much money or use all the app's features

  • It can take time to qualify for cash advances

  • Budgeting tools are more basic than budgeting-focused apps

  • Low APY for Albert Cash accounts

Albert app features

The Albert app has a little bit of everything to offer. Here's a breakdown of its main features, as well as what free versus paid subscription customers get.

Albert cash

Albert Cash is a mobile banking experience that Albert provides through Sutton Bank. It's the main account where you can save and invest from within Albert's ecosystem.

The account has $0 minimum funding requirements and no monthly maintenance fees. Some of the main perks include:

  • Getting paid up to two days early when you set up your paycheck through direct deposit
  • 55,000+ fee-free AllPoint ATMs (for Albert Genius subscribers)
  • Up to $250,000 in FDIC insurance
  • Cash back rewards on categories like gas, delivery, and groceries when you spend with you Albert debit card (for Genius subscribers)

Overall, this debit card and account is similar to options like Chime® and Varo that also provide fee-free options for managing your money online.

Cash advances

One of Albert's most popular features is its instant cash advance. The app spots you up to $250 in an interest-free cash advance to help hold you over until your next paycheck. There's no credit check requirement, late fees, or overdraft fees for Albert Cash either. However, Instant could charge overdrafts.

Eligibility for cash advance and your overall limit depends on several factors, including:

  • Income that has been direct deposited into your connected bank account
  • Receiving consistent income for the last two months from the same employer
  • Your connected bank account has been open for longer than two months and doesn't have a negative balance
  • You receive your recent paycheck on time and funds are still available 24 hours after payday

You can pay a small fee to get your cash advance instantly that varies based on your bank if you qualify. Alternatively, you can wait two to three days to receive your cash advance completely for free.

There are similar apps like Earnin and Floatme out there that also offer fee-free cash advances. And Chime also has its Chime SpotMe® feature that grants up to $200 to help you avoid overdraft fees.

Smart savings

Another useful feature of Albert is its Smart Savings tool, which Genius members can use. Smart Savings analyzes your income, recurring bills, and spending habits and then sets a bit of money aside each week to help you save more money. This is a similar concept microsaving apps like Oportun use to help you save consistently.

You can create specific goals for Smart Savings to work towards as well, like building your emergency fund or saving up for a car. And if you prefer setting up your own money-transfer schedule, you can disable Smart Savings.

Currently, Albert pays a 0.25% savings bonus for money in your savings account. This is a nice touch, although high-yield savings accounts like Aspiration and Current pay up to 5.00% and 4.00% APY respectively, so your savings might be better off elsewhere.

Albert investing

Since Albert is a bit of an all-in-on personal finance app, it's no surprise that it also helps you invest. Albert Genius customers can invest in individual stocks, classic portfolios like the S&P 500, or themes— like companies that promote sustainability. Alternatively, you can answer a few questions about your investing goals, timeframe, and risk tolerance and have Genius create a custom portfolio that suits you.

Themes like ESG investing, emerging markets, and women-led companies help users pick which stocks to invest in. As for the Genius portfolios, there's aggressive, moderate, and conservative options. And Albert supports fractional shares, so you can start investing with just $1.

To help you stay consistent, there's also an auto-invest option you can enable to invest money weekly, biweekly, or monthly. Overall, Albert Investing is similar to investing apps like Stash and Acorns that help you learn the ropes and build wealth overtime.

You still get way more control over your investments if you use an online stock broker and manage things yourself. And leading robo-advisors like Betterment and M1 have more portfolio variety and are better for investing larger amounts of money. But if you're using Albert for its saving and cash advance features, you could also use it to get started with investing.

Financial overview

The homepage of the Albert app provides a financial overview of how you're doing. You can also see upcoming bills, view recent expenses, and see how much money you've set aside. Expenses even get categorized automatically, just like you'd get with a budgeting app like YNAB.

But the best part of Albert's overview is that it provides alerts for unusual transactions, bill increases, and overdraft fees. It can also monitor and find unused subscriptions you might want to cancel like Rocket Money offers. And the app also partners with Billshark, a bill negotiation service that you can use to potentially lower bills like cable, internet, and your monthly phone plan.

Just one word of caution: apps that offer everything under the sun tend to do multiple things alright without excelling at just one thing. If budgeting is your main goal, you're much better off using standalone apps like YNAB, or PocketSmith. However, if you love the Albert ecosystem for its other features, there's nothing wrong with using it as a budgeting assistant.

Albert insurance

Saving, investing, and cash advances are Albert's core features. But the platform has also expanded to insurance. You can now look for more affordable life, car, and renters insurance through the app and get free quotes to compare prices.

This is just one more way Albert is working on expanding its services to touch every area of finance. It's similar to companies like SoFi, which also works with a network of insurance companies and banks to offer various services. It's a nice touch, although you can always search for insurance on your own or go through a broker.

Albert paid subscription: Genius

Genius is Albert's paid subscription plan that unlocks more money-saving features. It uses a pay-what-is-fair model that has a $8 monthly minimum, although you can choose to pay more if you want.

Genius' main feature is that you can text a team of “real financial experts” with common questions like:

  • How to create a budget
  • How much housing or rent you can afford
  • Tactics for improving your credit score
  • How much money you should have in your emergency fund
  • If you should invest or pay off debt

The company’s team of Genius members are “experts” and can answer all types of financial questions.

Other perks of Genius include fee-free AllPoint ATM withdrawals, access to Albert Investing, cash back rewards, and access Savings.

How much does the Albert app cost?

Albert is free to download, although to access most of the features, you’ll need to pay for the Genius subscription. Genius costs $8/month if you want to invest, ask its team of financial experts for advice, access Savings, and unlock perks like cash-back rewards.

Is the Albert App safe?

Cash in your Albert Cash account gets up to $250,000 in FDIC insurance through Sutton Bank. Furthermore, your Albert investments also get up to $500,000 in SIPC insurance. The app also works with Plaid to securely connect to your bank accounts. Plaid is the same technology many leading FinTech companies use.

Overall, these practices and insurance policies make the Albert app safe to use. Just note that SIPC insurance doesn't protect investments from loss and that your investments can lose value.

Is Albert legit?

Albert is a legitimate app. Albert Cash and Albert Savings accounts are held at FDIC-insured banks, including Sutton Bank, Coastal Community Bank, Axos Bank, and Wells Fargo, N.A. It also has SIPC insurance to cover the investing side of things, and it's one of the more popular cash advance apps out there.

That said, recent Albert Trustpilot reviews are fairly poor. However, many of the negative reviews stem from complaints about not being eligible for Albert's cash advance or having a low cash advance limit. This is the nature of all cash advance apps, and your eligibility depends on numerous factors, like account history and receiving regular direct deposits from an employer.

One other complaint several users report is Albert moving money into savings without them knowing. This is why it's important to disable the Smart Savings feature if you want complete control over your funds.

Customer service

You can contact Albert support by emailing support@albert.com or by using the contact support option within the app. Support is available 24/7.

Disclaimer:

Albert is not a bank. Banking services provided by Sutton Bank, Member FDIC. The Albert Mastercard® debit card is issued by Sutton Bank, Member FDIC, pursuant to a license by Mastercard International Incorporated. Download to see if you qualify for Albert Instant. Repay the advance with your next paycheck. Fees may apply. Early access to direct deposit funds may vary depending on the payer's deposit timing. Cash Back subject to terms. See app for details.

Banking services provided by Coastal Community Bank, Member FDIC. Albert Savings accounts are held for your benefit at FDIC-insured banks, including Coastal Community Bank, Axos Bank, and Wells Fargo, N.A.

All investments involve risk. Advisory services provided by Albert Investments, LLC. Securities products and services offered to self-directed investors through Albert Securities LLC, Member FINRA/SIPC.

Albert app alternatives

The Albert app is one of the more popular cash advance apps out there. It's also continually improved its app by offering new features, like investing and an insurance-finder tool.

However, some Albert alternatives might be superior depending on which area of personal finance is most important to you.

Chime

If you want a low-fee alternative to Albert that also has numerous features to help you spend and save, Chime is for you. Like Albert, you can qualify for Chime SpotMe® and borrow up to $200 without paying fees or worrying about a credit check. And Chime also lets you get paid up to two days early.

We like Chime as an alternative since its high-yield savings account currently pays 2.00% APY. This is significantly higher than Albert, making Chime a better option for parking extra cash.

Oportun

Like Albert, the Oportun app can automatically monitor your spending habits and income and then transfer money to help you reach your savings goals. But it goes one step further and puts money aside to ensure you have enough for major bills like rent, utilities, and insurance.

Oportun also lets you invest in a variety of portfolios of low-fee ETFs to match your investing goals. And it costs $5 per month to use the app, which is slightly more affordable than Albert Genius. However, Oportun doesn't offer cash advances like Albert does.

Brigit

Out of all the apps like Albert, Brigit is one of the closest competitors. It offers the same $250 fee-free cash advance to help you avoid overdraft fees and missing payments. And, like Albert, the app provides real-time alerts for upcoming bills and has some basic budgeting tools to help you save.

One difference between Albert and Brigit is that Brigit also has a credit building feature. All you have to do is open a credit builder account, set aside as little as $1 per month for a minimum payment, and you can gradually build your credit score.

The app also has a gigs section where you can find different side hustles to boost your income. Its main downside versus Albert is that Brigit costs $9.99 per month to unlock most features.

The bottom line

If you want a comprehensive solution for managing your finances and even investing, the Albert app could be for you. And it's one of the most popular cash advance apps thanks to its lack of fees and credit check.

Personally, I prefer using specialized apps and services rather than an all-in-one solution. For me, this means using apps to budget and investing through a brokerage account. But some people prefer that all-in-one solution, and that's what Albert is working toward.

Just be careful with forking over $8 per month for Genius if you don't use all the app's features. But if you need a helping hand with saving and investing, Albert has you covered.

Disclaimer- Paid non-client endorsement. See Apple App Store and Google Play reviews.View important disclosures.Investment advisory services offered by Stash Investments LLC, an SEC registered investment adviser. This material has been distributed for informational and educational purposes only, and is not intended as investment, legal, accounting, or tax advice. Investing involves risk.

¹For securities priced over $1,000, purchase of fractional shares start at $0.05.

²Debit Account Services provided by Green Dot Bank, Member FDIC and Stash Visa Debit Card issued by Green Dot Bank, Member FDIC. pursuant to a license from VISA U.S.A. Inc. Investment products and services provided by Stash Investments LLC, not Green Dot Bank, and are Not FDIC Insured, Not Bank Guaranteed, and May Lose Value" because the article mentions the debit card.

³You’ll also bear the standard fees and expenses reflected in the pricing of the ETFs in your account, plus fees for various ancillary services charged by Stash and the custodian.

⁴Other fees apply to the debit account. Please see Deposit Account Agreement for details.

⁵Stock-Back® is not sponsored or endorsed by Green Dot Bank, Green Dot Corporation, Visa U.S.A, or any of their respective affiliates, and none of the foregoing has any responsibility to fulfill any stock rewards earned through this program.

About our author

Tom Blake
Tom Blake, Staff Writer

Tom Blake is a personal finance blogger. His work has featured in Business Insider, Frugal Rules, MoneyCrashers, and a number of other financial blogs. When he’s not in Canada Tom lives as a digital nomad, writing from locales like Colombia and Dubai. You can connect with Tom at his blog This Online World.

Disclaimer

The content provided on Moneywise is information to help users become financially literate. It is neither tax nor legal advice, is not intended to be relied upon as a forecast, research or investment advice, and is not a recommendation, offer or solicitation to buy or sell any securities or to adopt any investment strategy. Tax, investment and all other decisions should be made, as appropriate, only with guidance from a qualified professional. We make no representation or warranty of any kind, either express or implied, with respect to the data provided, the timeliness thereof, the results to be obtained by the use thereof or any other matter.