Please note: As of August 2021, Charlie has shut down operations and merged with Chime, a new platform which continues to strive for better customer service in the world of online personal finance. This Hi Charlie review has been lightly edited, but reflects the services that Charlie used to provide.
A 2016 study into nationwide spending and saving habits has shown that a whopping 47% of Americans do not have enough money saved to cover a $400 emergency.
While you may actively avoid big purchases, it’s the little things that really add up at the end of the month, like your daily coffee, weekly takeouts, laundry expenses, etc.
How does Hi Charlie help?
We spend money every day without thinking about it. Charlie is a personal finance app that helps you identify problem areas where you might be overspending by analyzing your accounts and daily expenses.
With the proper guidance and tracking, there may be more money left over as the month rolls to an end. Even if you can find a small amount of savings, Charlie can be a great way to help consumers manage monthly budgets.
All you need to do is connect your Charlie account to your bank accounts and you’re good to go. You can connect your:
- Checking account
- Savings account
- Credit card account
- Investment account
Set a certain task or goal for Charlie and he’ll help you achieve it (provided you follow his advice).
What is Charlie?
Charlie is a complex AI chat-bot built using complex mathematical algorithms and machine-learning technology, allowing this cute penguin to interact with the user and give surprisingly beneficial financial advice.
Founded in 2016 by Ilian Georgiev, Ivo Parashkevov, and Rob Luedeman, the Charlie financial app was built upon the idea that people don’t like to manage their finances, but they need to have a better understanding of their spending habits..
As of 2019, Charlie was available as a text-based chatbot that you could access through your Facebook account.
Getting Started with Charlie
When you go to Charlie’s website, it prompts you with two options, Facebook Messenger or your phone number.
After choosing one or the other, you will be taken to a chat where Charlie will initiate a conversation with you. You will be prompted you to connect your bank account to Charlie in order to officially get started.
Talk to Charlie on Facebook Messenger
If you opt for Facebook Messenger, you will be redirected to the messenger app.
Charlie will greet you and introduce itself. You can find template questions for most of the queries you may have.
After you start chatting with Charlie, you will be provided with a link to a pop-up window where you can choose your bank and connect it to Charlie.
Once you have officially connected your financial accounts to Charlie, it will start analyzing everything, from your monthly statements to your spending patterns.
Once the assessment is complete, Charlie offers some well-rounded advice on your financial practices.
Setting goals, tasks, and reminders with Charlie
At this point, you can ask Charlie to set financial goals (like retirement goals), tasks or reminders to manage your finances better. Keep in mind that Charlie is only an advisory penguin.
The Charlie app doesn’t have any authoritative control over your financial institution or credit cards. You’ll have to do everything by yourself.
Say Hi Charlie! Using SMS
If you opt to give your phone number, Hi Charlie will initiate a conversation with you via text.
Your messages will be subject to standard SMS charges as you will be using your carrier’s SMS service.
- Overlay of all your Accounts: Charlie summarizes the details of all your account balances and creates detailed infographics based on your spending patterns and expenses.
- Constant Advice: Charlie provides constant advice, drawing from your buying and spending behavior. It identifies patterns and develops solutions based on them. The information is then delivered to the user as financial advice.
- Tracking and Reminders: Charlie keeps track of all your accounts and activities. If you have set a certain financial goal, it’ll keep working on it till you say otherwise.
Signing up for Charlie
Signing up for Charlie is simple:
- Go to Charlie’s website.
- Click on ‘Get Started’ and choose either Facebook Messenger or enter your 10-digit phone number.
- Once you have been redirected to the chat, connect your accounts to Charlie and you’re good to go!
Who is Charlie?
Charlie is perfect for anyone looking to manage their finances.
By keeping track of small expenses that cause financial problems and hurdles in the long run, Charlie helps you reduce these redundancies and better organize, and manage your finances.
Is Charlie legit?
Charlie is 100% legit. He doesn’t have the ability to access your accounts. He can just analyze your spending habit, do some number crunching, and show you ways to save money.
This is probably why most reviews for Charlie are positive.
Most user reviews indicate a great experience because Charlie boasts an incredibly streamlined process, from start to finish. The only relatively bad reviews are mostly about how this mobile app could be improved to provide a more positive experience.
While the team at Charlie has tried to address most queries in their FAQ section, there are a few things they haven’t really been clear on, such as:
- Charlie is 100% free for everyone. However, there are charges for premium services and add-ons. But for most new customers, this is a great service at a great price (free).
- Charlie does not use your information for anything other than analysis.
- At times, Charlie gives users outbound links to third-party sites.
- Dig deep enough into their process and you’ll find that contrary to what they claim, Charlie does share your data with third-party sites. These sites help Charlie conduct the financial analyses required to give financial advice. While current users can’t call Charlie out on that because they’ve agreed to the Terms & Conditions, new users should be wary of this
- Easy to Use: There’s no complicated process and there’s no budgeting app to take up space on your phone.
- Instant Replies: Charlie will always give you instantaneous replies because the AI develops results in real-time.
- User-friendly: Charlie is programmed to sound like a friend rather than a professional.
- No Control: Charlie has no actual control over your finances or access to your investment accounts. it can only advise you to control them.
Our review of Hi! Charlie wouldn’t be complete without pointing out a few downsides.
- Limited Conversational Abilities: While Charlie will understand most of what you ask from it, it won’t understand spelling mistakes or improper nomenclature. It may not understand certain sentences or words so you have to make sure you chat with Charlie in complete sentences.
- SMS Charges: Your text messages will be subject to the SMS charges imposed by your phone’s service provider.
Wrapping up our Charlie review
Our Hi Charlie review found the little penguin to be a pretty great virtual friend. He’s cute and helps you organize your finances so you don’t have to stress over them.
Charlie offers a safe, reliable, and efficient solution to your real-time financial challenges – the personal, financial advisor you’ve been looking for – and you can fit him in your pocket!
So give it a go – you just might end up saving enough for that vacation you’ve been dreaming about the last three years!