Across many posts I have written about Yodlee being my favorite personal finance tool. I track my net worth using Yodlee, I track my budget and spending through Yodlee money center. Way more than what mint.com offers. I have also experimented with a few other financial accounting tools like quicken online.
My main problem with them is I can’t fully trust them. I covered this suspicion in detail with my Credit Sesame review post.
Why I use Yodlee Money Center?
There are many reasons, for the sake of keeping this post to a readable length, I will just stick to a few.
1. Money Center has been around for over 10 years. Thus, you can definitely count on the products and services they offer. In fact, it’s a lot older than Mint.com, which has just been released around 2009. With old age comes wisdom and we generally tend to trust the old guy. Because of its long history, they have developed a fine collection of tools for tracking your personal finance information.
2. Big financial institutions use Yodlee money center tool for giving value added service to their customers in terms of portfolio management. Bank Of America, Fidelity and American Express are customers of Yodlee that I know of. There are many more. With big names, come the best practices. Yodlee goes through yearly mandatory audit control. If Yodlee is hacked many of these companies would be in serious trouble. and, thinking about this makes me feel most secure with Yodlee than any one else.
3. When you use sites like Yodlee, Mint, Thrive or Quicken, you practically hand over your online account access to them. Security naturally, should be your utmost concern. A combination of firewalls, encrypted database storage, intrusion-detection, traffic monitoring, network data protection via SSL, and yearly third-party audits and inspections already makes Yodlee money center service secure enough.
4. Yodlee has widest list of financial accounts. Out of my 20 odd accounts, Yodlee has 19. Mint, on the other hand gave up at 15. I have a bank, a mutual fund and an insurance account in India. Yodlee lists them perfectly. Where as, every other tools fail.
Yodlee Money Center Review
The following section covers the aspects of Money Center in detail.
How long did it take me to sign up? Less than 10 minutes. Money Center secures log-in by asking you to create a username and password. It also requires you to answer three security questions and select an image that will appear every time you log on. There’s the secret phrase and image only you can identify. Hopefully, that lessens phishing. The process, nevertheless, is so easy and convenient, making Yodlee a friendly tool.
You might complain about its interface, It was much worse last year, prior to their interface uplift. Personally I don’t care, I am a value person rather than looks person. Value attracts me more than the look. Post interface uplift it looks much better though.
Everything is properly laid out for you. Your net worth, payments, expenses chart of last one month. Last few financial transactions, reminders and alerts.
Linking Account in Yodlee
You can type in the name of your financial institution, select it from a list, or browse the most popular institutions by category; banks, credit card companies, investment loan firms etc. Type in your user ID and password, click Link Account, and you’re set. Almost any type of online account can be linked
- Real-Estate Accounts (updated automatically)
- airline and hotel rewards programs
- even web-mail accounts and online news providers
Right now, the website supports over 10,000 various accounts, from credit cards to investments, banks, and loans. The update is, of course, real time. This ensures all the information found on the website is correct. It has more International accounts support than any of the other competitors mentioned above.
Once within 24 hours all your linked accounts gets updated with data pull from the individual accounts. You can update your data on-demand as well.
Budgeting with Yodlee
If you find it difficult to create and control your budget, then most definitely this is the tool that you’ve been looking for. Yodlee allows you to not only develop a budget but also save some cash. You can create a savings goal, as well as compare both your actual spending and budget.
You can view your spending by category for the current month and view your spending patterns over the past six months. After reviewing your spending, you can set budget goals and enable budget alerts. Budget goals can be set for individual categories and/or for total income, expenses, and transfers.
The Set Budget Goals page also displays your monthly total spending against your monthly total income. You can receive alerts when you approach an established budget threshold for a specific category and receive weekly or monthly budget status reports.
You can choose to receive budget status reports weekly and/or monthly. Budget status reports contain the amount you have spent in each category compared to your budget target for all “included” categories.
You can also choose to be notified when the total amount spent/earned in any category comes within a particular percentage or threshold of your desired budget goal.
Note: Yodlee Money center stores all financial account data for last 12 months.
Honestly, I haven’t been using their budget tool much. For us the thing that work best is setting aside 50% of income as soon as they hit checking account. We spend rest 50% freely without thinking much about budget. Even with some unexpected expenses, we never went out of money and trapped into saving yet.
You can share some accounts
This is one of the things I love about Yodlee Money Center. You can share some of your financial information to key people, such as your wife and tax accountant. It definitely reduces plenty of calls and e-mails, as well as promotes better collaboration and communication. Again, I haven’t shared my accounts with anyone yet. I show Yodlee to my wife when we are sitting together on the couch. Didn’t really have to share with her. although I am open to it.
You can view your spending report
Do you want to make yourself feel guilty about that luxurious shopping spree? The Expense Analysis Chart report provides a pie chart and a tabular representation of your expenses broken down by category.
The Cash Flow Analysis Chart report provides a graphic representation of your income versus expenses over a specified period.
Basically, the spending report section is very useful for your research in to your spending habit. You should get enough inspiration by looking at the past mistakes you made.
Net Worth statement
I diligently track the progress of my net worth, at least once a month. It is the total of all your assets linked to your Yodlee account, min us all the liabilities listed there. Refer to this article about how I track my net worth using Yodlee.
It tracks your investment portfolio including individual stocks, funds, treasuries and CDs. Various reports can be generated from portfolio manager including reporting by asset class, market, performance etc. I don’t really use this feature as Fidelity, Merrill Lynch and T. Rowe price have better analysis tools than what Yodlee has. But I need to logon to each of them individually.
I sincerely hope that Yodlee put some more focus on developing better portfolio management tool.
Hopefully, you don’t miss out on your bills
As I’ve always mentioned, paying bills shouldn’t be so stressful. You can just automate as many of them as possible, and you can surely free yourself from the burden of paying. Nevertheless, even the mere act of paying online or through your phone gets out of your mind once in a while.
Simply put, it’s still very important to be notified when it’s time to settle your dues. Fortunately, Yodlee lets you do that and, you can already set up bill reminders. The bill pay section also has a graphical calendar that illustrates when financial events (such as bill payments) occur in a month.
I won’t say Yodlee should be your main choice as tracking tool. However, based on experience, I don’t think you’ll regret this either.
You may get lost in Yodlee, till date I haven’t gone over all the features/pages. Each time I log in, I find something new, something more interesting in Money Center. You may need a lot of clicks to even add a new account. Money center is a data mine. Although you can customize the data any way you want, still Mint or quicken do provide better ease through their simplicity. Yodlee tried answering these long known gaps in their upgrade (still in beta!).
As a new Yodlee user, you may get lost within reports and charts, thank god, they have ‘help’ feature in every page now. I’d recommend Yodlee Money Center for people who are more concerned with quality, safety and security than with site’s ease of use or look-and-feel. While mint.com is a compact camera, Yodlee is a grand SLR which only operates in manual mode.
Very nice review SB! I’ve used Mint, but never had a chance to try out Yodlee. Yodlee was one of the first to provide account consolidation and has been around much longer than Mint.
I do have a question on portfolios. Does Yodlee also compute annualized returns?
Yes, they are around for more than 10 years. Reliability and experience is their forte. I used Mint and discontinued, reasons explained in the post itself. Its a question what you want between, good health and better clothing.
The portfolio manager with performance view does provide return, both absolute and percentage. But that’s on cost basis not annualized. I see your point though.
Jeremy Leipzig says
The Yodlee 2.0 Adobe Flex interface with “apps” has been something of a fiasco, such that they have had to retitle it “Beta”. The concept probably sounded good in meetings but was simply not substantial enough to be of value, and the interface is unacceptably slow.
Meanwhile they authentication handshakes the app must perform with umpteen different websites is very klugdey and prone to failure. This is not really Yodlee’s fault, simply because a lot these sites have not designed services to accomodate aggregators, so Yodlee must rely on screenscraping and the like. I am still a faithful Yodlee user but I would like to see improvements, and maybe a change of leadership.
Thanks for this technical insight. You mean change the leadership because the app didn’t come out good?
Jeremy Leipzig says
Yes, I think they need to make things more open for people to do their own thing outside the Adobe Flex sandbox, and they need to develop more apps for mobile devices. This has to come from the top down.
Well I am concerned about my portfolio, I check on my computer and I am happy with it. If their mobile apps causing trouble to their business, then the board of directors would take appropriate action. But, it’s beyond the scope of this article.
Jai Catalano says
How does it compare to Mint? Maybe I should switch over.
use it and see. I stopped using Mint. As I said its health vs. clothing difference. What you want?
Newlyweds on a Budget says
I hadn’t heard of them before! I’ll have to look into it
Its so amazing, they are so successful and have been around for more than 11 years. Where as Mint appeared just a couple of years ago and is so famous. Clearly a lack of marketing effort.
Marissa @ Thirty Six Months says
I love Wave, but Ill look into this as well. I wonder if it works with Canadian banks.
If all my Indian banks and brokerages can appear, I can say fairly confidently that Canadian account should have no problem in linking from Yodlee.
Edward Antrobus says
Mint, Payoff.com, etc. All of these sites have the same problem in common for me. They assume that all of your accounts HAVE online access. Not all of mine do. Like a credit card that went into collections during my dark period. Or the $3000 hospital bill that I am making payments on. I don’t see a big point in only tracking some of my accounts online when others have to be tracked off-line.
Then there is my wife’s HSA. Apparently, Chase’s login system is so Byzantine that only actual people are able to navigate. Chase shows up in various systems, but I’ve never seen anybody successfully connect to it.
My Chase Freedom credit card shows up absolutely fine. Yes, my HSA doesn’t show up either. It has to do with employer supported HSA not being part of mainstream systems. My employer 401(k) shows up just fine.
Few things like this can be dealt with creating manual accounts. Just add an account balance on the manual account. I update it every quarter manually and make it equal as the real account balance.
Edward Antrobus` says
Well, if you can create manual accounts, I guess Yodlee has a leg up on the competition.
I did find out today, however, that my student loan does NOT support aggregator software. Payoff got me locked out of my own account.
It seems that Yodlee has some similarities to Mint. I used Mint before and gave up because it seemed like a lot of work. 🙂 I honestly never even heard of Yodlee before.
Its about habit Aloysa. Believe me blogging is 100 times more complicated than using these sites. Do you use Bank of America, American express and Fidelity for any of your financial need?
SB, I use Yodlee. in fact I started after you mentioned it sometime last summer, haven’t explored yet kind of lost here. I should try setting up some bill pays on it. Thanks for the detail. God bless you
Great to know that I started influencing some decision 🙂 Thanks Diego your comments always gives me pleasure. Let me know if you need any help with Yodlee.
subhorup dasgupta says
Congratulations, SB! You are on my list of recipients of the Versatile Blogger Award. You may want to check out how this works and whether I had anything nice to say about you at the award post at http://subhorup.blogspot.com/2012/01/versatile-blogger-award-2012.html
Thank you Shubhorup! I am honored with the badge and your kind words.
Elizabeth @ Broke Professionals says
LOVE THIS. I’ve heard of some of the comparison products you mentioned, like Mint, but not about Yodlee. I really like the pie-chart capabilities to track your spending. My credit card does that, but doesn’t always assign purchases to the right categories.
Its amazing people didn’t even heard the name. They are used in almost all major banks. Mint is just a new kid on the block!
Roshawn @ Watson Inc says
This is good to know. I’ve gone back and foward with the tools that I use. Lately, I’ve been keeping it simple, but this one seems to have some promise.
That’s right, they are not new and very reliable. You have to overcome initial troubles though.
Paul @ The Frugal Toad says
Nice review SB, I have not heard of Yodlee before. I am currently using Mint as well as Quicken, I’ll have to check out Yodlee.
I’ve used Yodlee for a long time but the latest upgrade has me completely lost. I can barely find the dashboard anymore and it sure doesn’t look like what is shown here. I am in the process of changing to something that makes sense.
Go to time machine menu and click the latest version, you’ll see the screens as I shown on this article.
Can you print annual reports for taxes on Yodlee? I just found out that I can’t on Mint.
Unfortunately you can’t even on Yodlee. There must be some kind of restrictions placed by fed.
Thanks for your reply, so helpful. Nice to find a place where I can leave a question and actually get a real answer!!!
You made my day Sara! Thanks
I’m very surprised that only 12 months of data will be saved.
My current bank does the same thing.
How can this not be a big issue?
Does Mint also have this restriction?
I would love to get rid of Quicken, but I need ALL my history.
Pablo, I just checked my Yodlee account again, it does in fact shows me data more than 12 months. My checking account details went to 2009. I believe they retrieve data as far back as your financial institution stores. Sorry for the confusion. I’ll do the correction.
Thanks for your effort. I’m going to bite the bullet then and give Yodlee a go!
sure, let me know in case you need more info
Many expenses are uncategorized or incorrectly catergorized. How can I manually identify/change the category for these expenses so that they will be correctly categorized in the future?
This help page may be of help
Excellent Review!! Really amazed. And all your blogs are simply superb.
I am into financial development side from Mid-Nov. This forum is really good and i am speeceless.
We are gonna implement yodlee-api-sdk for our customers. Soon will bringout our yodlee-driven-financial-app. Thanks once again for the information. SB.Really you rocked !!!
are you, by any chance, a Yodlee employee?
Hello SB, not definitely. But we have signed an NDA with yodlee to do a financial app and to communicate with yodlee using their API. 🙂
In otherwords, we are big into yodlee apps and our domain gonna use yodlee 🙂
Yodlee User says
Hmm, I wondered if you were an employee as well. Your review is a too positive. Yodlee may be powerful, but the interface makes it completely unusable. It is frustratingly slow, clunky when it does load, counter-intuitive, and broken in several places. Budgeting doesn’t work. It incorrectly designates some expenses as fixed or variable and leaves the rest un-categorized. There is no way to change an expense from fixed to variable or add other expenses as fixed or variable. Don’t expect to go to other users via the forum for help. It is also completely broken…for me. As a whole, the experience is very unprofessional and makes me feel like Moneycenter is unmaintained.
Rikas Basheer says
Hi, I just looked at Yodlee. Is there a way you can change the transaction dates of the synced bank transactions? This is to get the income of the current month being deposited towards the end of the previous month changed so that my budget, spending actually reflects those for the current month…
I’ve used Yodlee since almost its inception and can’t imagine how I would manage without it. One of my kids recently moved to Vancouver. Can she access Yodlee directly there? With both US and Canadian accounts? Or does she need to use the platform Yodlee designed for RBC??
Thanks (nice site; nice review)