Does financial app Wally really help your wallet?

by Jill Jaracz
Share
More
Does financial app Wally really help your wallet?

The Good

  • Choose between linked bank accounts or manual versions
  • Insights offer multiple visuals of finances
  • Interesting features like lists and multiple currencies

The Bad

  • User experience can be puzzling and frustrating
  • Level of granularity doesn’t always make sense
  • Bells and whistles don’t always have a purpose

What is Wally & how does it work?

Wally is a financial app designed to help you take control of your personal finances. Track what you earn and what you spend, and Wally will turn that data into a series of colorful charts that help you see what’s going on with your financial situation.

Wally gives the option to link bank and credit card accounts through encrypted connections, but you can also enter data manually. If you link your accounts, Wally will automatically pull in transactions going back at least six months.

Wally looks for businesses in your area to cut down the time it takes to add information and transactions.You can also classify transactions by category, sub-categories, recurring purchases and hashtags to help you get a detailed picture of your cash flow.

Other features include a budgeting tool that lets you customize a budget by category and time frame. Not to mention group tracking, which allows you to split expenses and create budgets with your friends and family.

The basic version of Wally is free and its premium platform, Wally Gold, is free for 2020 if you link an account to the app .

Wally Gold offers categorized budgeting, daily tracking, payment notifications and group features, including the option to export group data. Even more premium add-ons include joint accounts and foreign accounts, exporting both personal and group data, getting payment notifications, developing custom insights, and creating advanced budgets. Add-ons are individually priced and range from $6 to $10 a year, or one Wally Coin per feature per year, which you earn by referring others to the app.

What’s good about Wally?

Choose between linked accounts or manual versions

You don’t have to link your accounts to use Wally, which is good for people who want financial privacy. However, linking your bank accounts does give you insights more quickly.

Insights offer multiple visuals of your finances

Visually, Wally’s spending analyses are easy to read and offer some really good insight. They’ll run over different timeframes, ranging from as short as a week to as long as six months. It will even forecast how much you’re likely to spend in the future.

Wally will convert your spending habits into a pie chart that lets you categorize specific transactions.The app’s cash flow analysis helps you understand when cash comes in and goes out, which can help you budget better. A balances analysis looks at all of your assets.

Interesting features like multiple currencies and lists

Wally will let you track information in pretty much any global currency, which is helpful if you travel a lot. It also has a list feature with reminder notifications that comes in handy if you need to remember to stop at the grocery store.

What’s bad about Wally?

User experience can be puzzling and frustrating

I hit buttons that took me to non-working features more than once, and the only way to get out of them was to exit the app completely. Plus, adding notes to expenses didn’t work. I also tried including dollar amounts on lists to no avail. Every time I thought I created a budget, the app didn’t save it.

The app allows you to search merchants near you, but there were times when I searched for a merchant and the one I wanted popped up for a moment, then disappeared, forcing me to add it manually. This didn’t happen all the time, but when it did, it was frustrating.

Level of granularity doesn’t always make sense

Subcategorization can be helpful, but Wally’s subcategories don’t always make sense. On some transactions, I could be really specific — I didn’t have to just eat at a restaurant, I could choose from 75 different kinds of restaurants. On the flipside, I needed to add some subcategories that seemed pretty basic to me. When I bought some dishes, I had to manually add a subcategory to shops. Even though I could track spending at astrologers and knitting stores, housewares wasn’t on that list.

I had a similar situation when I added my insurance company as a recurring bill. The great part was that the company name was in Wally’s database. The stranger part was that I had to add insurance as a subcategory.

It’s important to note that transactions aren’t just tracked by day, they’re also tracked by time, which for a personal account seemed a little excessive.

Bells and whistles don’t always have a purpose

You can add photos of receipts as attachments, but adding them was often a clunky process and didn’t seem to have much use beyond keeping a record. The app can’t scan information from the receipt and fill in the expense info for you, nor can you export it to something like an expense account.

Is Wally worth it?

Wally can deliver on some of its promises. It does track transactions —and can do so in multiple currencies. It also gives you nice spending insights. It can let you drill down to a fairly granular level, so if you want to compare your spending at delis versus your spending at poutine restaurants, you’re in luck.

The downside of Wally is that while it has a lot of interesting features, nothing works fantastically. Most of the features I tested had elements that just didn’t work or weren’t very intuitive to use. The overall lack of execution makes it difficult to recommend.

Image: Oliur