Whether its current accounts, savings accounts, credit cards, loans, investments, or debts – attempting to keep on top of your personal finances is no easy feat.
Not only do you need to keep track of how much money you have until your next paycheck comes through, but equally, you need to assess what outgoings you have coming up.
With that being said, this is where the likes of CountAbout aims to help.
The innovative FinTech platform – which is available both online and via a native mobile app, allows you to keep abreast of your finances through a single hub.
Whether you want to link all of your bank accounts into one portal, or be able to view your entire monthly outgoings at the click of a button – CountAbout can help you manage your everyday finances.
However, with annual fees ranging from $9.99 to $39.99 annually, you need to ensure that the platform is right for your individual needs. As such, we’ve created the ultimate CountAbout review. Within it, we’ve covered how the platform works, how much it costs, what features you get, and ultimately – whether it’s worth using.
Let’s start by exploring what CountAbout is.
What is CountAbout?
- 1 What is CountAbout?
- 2 CountAbout: What Accounts can you Connect?
- 3 Bank Accounts
- 4 Credit Cards
- 5 Loans
- 6 Investments
- 7 Linked Accounts: What can you do?
- 8 Is it Safe to Link Your Personal Accounts?
- 9 CountAbout Pricing
- 10 What Other Features Does CountAbout Offer?
- 11 Accounting Software
- 12 Full Customization
- 13 Budgets
- 14 Reports
- 15 Native Mobile App
- 16 Mobile Expense Audit – $10 per year
- 17 Invoicing – $60 per year
- 18 CountAbout Review – The Bottom Line?
- 19 CountAbout
- 20 Pros
- 21 Cons
In a nutshell, CountAbout is an online platform that allows you to keep track of your personal finances. Launched in 2015 and based in Wisconsin, CountAbout raised its start-up capital via crowdfunding platform CrowdFunder.
As the online budget space has become somewhat over-saturated in recent years, CountAbout offers a number of useful features which it claims makes its platform stand out from the crowd.
However, upon further exploration, it’s pretty much on par with its main rivals. Nevertheless, CountAbout does allow you to import data from both Mint and Quicken, which at the time of writing is the only online budgeting platform capable of doing this.
In terms of its hallmark features, this centres on the ability to view your overall finances in a seamless central hub. For example, CountAbout allows you to integrate your personal accounts into the platform from over 12,500 financial institutions.
This doesn’t just include banks, credit cards and loans, but stock brokers, too. As such, you get access to a birds-eye view of your entire financial circumstances by simply logging into your CountAbout account.
As we will discuss in more detail further down, the platform also comes with a number of other budgeting tools. This includes the ability to export financial reports, integration with third-party accounting software packages, and expense receipt tracking via a smartphone camera.
So now that we’ve covered the basics, in the next section of our review we are going to discuss the types of external accounts that you can connect.
CountAbout: What Accounts can you Connect?
The overarching selling point utilized by the team at CountAbout is that the platform is compatible with over 12,500 US financial institutions.
As such, you’d be hard pressed to find an external account that isn’t supported. CountAbout themselves state that if your financial institution isn’t listed, and it’s not a foreign bank, then by letting them know they should be able to integrate it.
Let’s breakdown the main types of accounts that you can connect.
The obvious starting point is the integration of your bank accounts. This can be your everyday checking account, savings accounts, and even CD accounts. In fact, as the CountAbout system is linked with the underlying institution as opposed to the specific account type, you’ll be able to import all of your respective bank-based accounts.
Keeping track of your credit card payments can be challenging. This is especially true if you hold balances with multiple providers, all of which will have conflicting repayment dates. Nevertheless, as long as the credit card issuer is US based, you’ll be able to connect it with your CountAbout account.
Much like in the case of your credit cards, keeping abreast of your loan repayments can be cumbersome. Whether it’s personal loans, auto title loans, or business loans – you can import your debt obligations into CountAbout. This makes it super easy to see what you need to pay and when.
If you’re actively involved in the investment space, then you might be in a position where you have a highly diversified portfolio across multiple platforms. This might include your stocks and shares holdings, bonds, mutual funds, and ETFs. Whatever it might be, you can connect your brokerage accounts into CountAbout.
As we noted in the bank account section above, CountAbout is connected with the institution themselves as opposed to your individual portfolios, meaning that irrespective of what assets you hold, CountAbout will support it. This is of course on the proviso that CountAbout is able to support your chosen broker. If they don’t, ask them to add them!
So now that you know the types of accounts that you can add, let’s see what you can actually do with them.
Linked Accounts: What can you do?
It is important to note that once you have connected your accounts, your capabilities will depend on your pricing plan. As we’ll cover a bit further down, there are two account types – the basic account ($9.99 per year) and the premium account ($39.99 per year).
If you have the basic account, you won’t be able to benefit from an automatic upload of account transactions. Instead, you will need to manually update each and every account by importing a QIF file. In order to do this, you’ll need to manually download the file from the respective institution.
This is somewhat problematic, not least because it would make it near-impossible to get a real-time overview on your finances. To do this, you would need to schedule a periodic upload of QIF files, for example on a weekly or monthly basis. However, this would be extremely time consuming.
Moreover, even if you were to do this on a weekly basis, you would still not get the most out of the CountAbout platform, because you wouldn’t get instant access to real time balances.
With that being said, if you are going to use CountAbout, you’re probably best off going with the premium option. In doing so, all of your previously imported accounts will update in real-time. Although you still need to instruct the platform to perform an automatic download, this takes a matter of seconds.
Is it Safe to Link Your Personal Accounts?
The obvious question that springs to mind is whether or not it is safe to give a relatively new company like CountAbout access to your entire financial profile. Be it your bank account balances, investment portfolios or debt liabilities, to get the most out of the platform you will need to import everything.
As noted by the platform itself – “Users’ privacy and security is of utmost importance, and CountAbout protects your personal and financial information in several ways.”
In its most basic form, CountAbout utilizes an external mining process known as Data Aggregation. Without getting too technical, Data Aggregation companies begin the process by obtaining the required permission (from you) to then extract data from your specified financial institutions. When the data is collected, it is done so in an encrypted format.
As a result, the only way that the information can be viewed is via your CountAbout portal. In layman terms, this means that CountAbout themselves have no access to your personal information, nor can they do anything with the permission you grant them. In this sense, your personal accounts and sensitive financial information is safe and secure.
As we noted earlier, CountAbout offers two main plans. The basic plan comes at a cost of $9.99 per year. For this, you get each and every feature offered by CountAbout, apart from the automatic transaction uploads. For this, you will need the premium account which costs $39.99 per year.
On the one hand, the premium account is four times the price of its basic counterpart, and you only get one additional feature. However, it is this feature in particular that is required to get a full 360 degrees overview of your financial circumstances.
As a side note, the platform offers a 15 day trial for those that are yet to register an account. The trial gives you fully-fledged access to the premium account. If at the end of the trial you don’t want to proceed, you can simply walk away.
What Other Features Does CountAbout Offer?
Although the hallmark feature offered by CountAbout is the 12,500 financial institutions that you can integrate your accounts with, the platform offers a number of other useful benefits. Here’s the breakdown of what you can do.
If you’re a freelancer or running a small business, then you’ll be pleased to know that CountAbout allows you to integrate either Quicken or Mint. Although these are hugely popular accounting packages, it would have been nice if the platform supported other options such as Sage or QuickBooks. Nevertheless, if you do decide to link your accounting software, all of your transactions will be automatically imported.
You have the chance to fully customize your CountAbout platform. Whether you want to focus on your current account balances or your upcoming credit card and loan repayments, you can customize your main dashboard however you see fit.
The CountAbout platform allows you to create, view and manage your budgets with ease. Whether you’re looking to save for a particular milestone or get yourself debt-free as quickly as possible, you can create as many budgets as you want.
While much of the CountAbout platform is focused on importing external data, you also have the chance to export your financial information into an easy-to-read format. This includes reports on your overall balances, spending habits, and what outgoings you have due for the remainder of the month.
You can even create an Assets vs Liabilities report. You assets will be taken from your bank account and investment balances, and your liabilities will look at what debts you have outstanding.
Native Mobile App
If you’re the type of person that likes to keep on top of your finances while on the move, the CountAbout platform is also available via a dedicated mobile app. At the time of writing this covers both iOS and Android devices.
However, the general consensus is that the mobile app is in desperate need of improvement, not least because many of the account features available online are not yet available on your mobile. This includes an inability to generate custom reports.
Mobile Expense Audit – $10 per year
If you have a requirement to keep track of your business expenses, you can do this via an account add-on, which costs an additional $10 per year. You simply take an image of the receipt that is linked to the expense, and then this is automatically added into your CountAbout expense report.
Invoicing – $60 per year
If you find yourself wasting countless hours manually creating invoices to the same people, it might be worth considering the CountAbout invoicing feature. While admittedly it does cost an additional $60 per year, the add-on will save you a considerable amount of time.
Moreover, not only can you create invoices and have CountAbout send them directly to your clients, but you can also keep track of them via your account dashboard.
CountAbout Review – The Bottom Line?
In summary, it’s difficult to get too excited about the CountAbout platform. Other than offering you the chance to import your Quicken or Mint account software packages, there is nothing unique about what CountAbout provides.
Primarily, although it is notable that you can connect personal accounts from more than 12,500 financial institutions, this is little use unless you are happy to pay the $39.99 fee for the premium account.
The reason for this is that the $9.99 basic account does not import account transactions automatically, meaning that you need to manually upload an individual QIF file from all of the institutions you have connected.
Moreover, you’ll need to do this on a frequent basis to get the most out of the platform.
Nevertheless, the premium fee itself does work out at less than $3.40 per month. With that being said, it’s a reasonable price for what you actually get.
When you factor in the ability to generate reports, set budgets, and customize your entire dashboard, it’s well worth taking CountAbout up their 15 day free trial to see whether or not you want to commit to the annual fee.