Monifi Review: Manage Your Financial Progress With This Goal-Based Banking App

4.0
Quick take: The Monifi banking app provides a modern, digital-only way to save and manage your money from anywhere, but it lacks the product breadth of traditional banks and even online-only banks.
  • Rates
    5.0
  • Fees
    5.0
  • Product Breadth
    2.0
  • Financial Tools
    4.0
How did we calculate this?

Pros

  • No monthly fees
  • Competitive APY
  • Smart tools to help with money management
  • Ease of use

Cons

  • Limited product lineup
  • No branch banking for those who prefer person-to-person service

About Monifi

Monifi is a unique personal banking app that helps users optimize their finances by providing greater insights into their spending patterns as well as smart tools to support their savings goals. By allocating funds into Spend and Save Balances, users can control their spending while still earning a high rate of interest on their savings. Within the Monifi App, you can deposit money into your Save Balance, establish unique, personalized goals and earn interest like a traditional savings account. Once you’ve reached your savings goals — or, as needed — you can move it to your Spend Balance.

A Monifi account comes with no monthly fee, categorized transactions and a virtual assistant that can answer questions about your spending habits, balances and more. The app also simplifies paying your monthly bills with Monifi’s Bill Pay Service, which lets you set up payments to businesses and individuals – including those that can’t be paid electronically through the Automated Clearing House, or ACH. In this case, Monifi will send an actual paper check in the mail.

All this has earned Monifi a spot on GOBankingRates’ lists for the Best Online Banks and Best Savings Accounts of 2022.

Monifi Bank Account

This is really the only kind of “account” that Monifi offers, and it doesn’t even refer to it as an account, but as a “Save Balance” and “Spend Balance.” It works more like a hybrid between a savings and checking account, but there are no restrictions on the number of transactions you are allowed, like with most savings accounts.

Once you download the app you can deposit money into your Save Balance, establish personalized goals, set a goal target date, and earn interest like a traditional savings account. When you have reached your savings goals, or if you just need to cover some expenses, you can move the money to your Spend Balance where it is available to use.

The structure is designed to allow for goal-based banking that lets you accumulate funds until you have enough to spend on your chosen goal. Users can set up any type of savings goal, from small to large.

Goals can range from large purchases such as a home down payment to something smaller, like a night out on the town. In either case, the money is first deposited into the Save Balance, and, when the goal is reached, it can be transferred to the Spend Balance for use. Automatic savings plans can also be established through recurring transfers to make sure you reach your goal on time.

The Monifi app offers an APY of 0%, which is higher than you will find at most savings accounts. There is no monthly service fee or no ATM fees when you use ATMs within the Allpoint Network.

Monifi has no minimum balance requirement, either. However, you can set a low balance on your Spend Balance that helps ensure you always have a minimum among of funds there. Once you set the minimum balance for your Spend Balance, Monifi will transfer money from your Save Balance to your Spend Balance on the next processing day. If your Save Balance can’t completely replenish your selected Low Balance threshold, it will not make the transfer.

With the signature MonifiOrange Visa Debit Card, users can tap or swipe to pay, or they can link up with Apple Pay, Google Pay or Samsung Pay. Monifi debit cards can be used to access cash nationwide with no fees when using the Allpoint ATM network.

Monifi also lets users switch their debit card on and off within the app. The account comes with alerts and rules to ensure that customers won’t overspend.

Monifi Features

Rates

Monifi’s APY of 0% is higher than all but the best savings accounts.

Fees

You don’t have to pay monthly fees on the Save Balance and Spend Balance features, meaning more money is available to go toward your goals.

Product Breadth

You only get one financial account with Monifi, so it’s definitely not the choice if you are looking for a full lineup of products.

Financial Tools

The Monifi app has numerous tools to help you save money. One cool feature is Monifi’s intelligent transaction enrichment. Under this system, transactions are automatically organized into the simple merchant name and categorized into easy-to-understand groups. Users have the freedom to tag, export or add notes to their transactions. 

Editor’s Favorite

A Monifi account comes with no monthly fee, categorized transactions and a virtual assistant that can answer questions about your spending habits, balances and more.

Monifi vs. Competitors

Bank

Best For

Monifi

Goal-based savings on a user-friendly app with a high APY

Ally Bank

Online-only banking that works like a full-service bank

E-Trade Bank

 Investment customers who want their checking and savings accounts under one roof

Monifi vs. Ally Bank

Ally Bank has a much wider selection of products and services, including checking, savings, money market, CD, investing, retirement and loan options. But Monifi’s 0.70% APY is higher than the 0.50% APY you get with Ally’s savings accounts. 

Monifi vs. E-Trade Bank

With E-Trade Bank you can pair deposit accounts with the company’s famous investing services. That’s something you can’t do at Monifi, but it pays a much higher APY.

Final Take

Monifi provides a unique, convenient way to save and manage your money, without monthly fees and with high interest rates. It’s obviously best for customers who are comfortable with a digital experience and don’t need a large lineup of products and services.

FAQ

Here are the answers to some commonly asked questions about Monifi.
  • Is Monifi a real bank?
    • By modern definitions, yes, Monifi qualifies as a real bank because it lets you deposit money into an account, earn interest and make it available for spending.
  • Is Monifi FDIC-insured?
    • Yes, all deposits at Monifi are protected by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
  • Does Monifi offer bonuses?
    • Yes, there is a "Refer-a-Friend bonus when you recommend Monifi to a friend. Once they've opened and funded their relationship, you will both receive $50 credits to your Monifi Save Balances after two to four weeks. You can refer your friends by clicking the "Refer-A-Friend" button in the Monifi App's "More" menu.

Vance Cariaga contributed to the reporting for this article.

Rates are subject to change. Information on accounts is accurate as of Jan. 18, 2022.

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by Monifi. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author alone and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by Monifi.

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About the Author

After earning a B.A. in English with a Specialization in Business from UCLA, John Csiszar worked in the financial services industry as a registered representative for 18 years. Along the way, Csiszar earned both Certified Financial Planner and Registered Investment Adviser designations, in addition to being licensed as a life agent, while working for both a major Wall Street wirehouse and for his own investment advisory firm. During his time as an advisor, Csiszar managed over $100 million in client assets while providing individualized investment plans for hundreds of clients.

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