Pluto is a new mobile finance app that combines behavioral science and financial advisory techniques to provide better avenues towards money management. The app uses gamification to challenge its users to spend wisely and set savings goals for future events, and offers ways to keep track of purchases and expenditures by connecting with users’ bank accounts.
What Is Pluto?
Pluto is the brainchild of a trio of individuals – CEO Timothy Yiu and CCO Susie Kim, both graduates of UCLA in 2015, and CTO Dante Monaldo, on track to graduate from Seattle University in 2019. These three are dedicated to providing better financial skills and tools to those of their generation, inspired in part by their own struggles with their finances while attending college.
Pluto is a robust, free mobile app, currently available exclusively for iOS devices but currently in development for Android devices as well. Users link their bank accounts with the app, which then tracks their purchases and provides ways to record, categorize, and analyze those purchases.
Additionally, Pluto provides a role in learning better money management techniques through gamification. Users are presented with custom “challenges” to save money, based on their expenditures, to spend less and save more towards specific goals. Pluto keeps track of these challenges and records how much money users have saved, displaying progress towards their goals.
As Pluto does integrate with thousands of banking institutions in the United States, the app makes use of bank-level encryption and security protocols to safeguard this data. Additionally, bank login credentials are not recorded by the app directly, a further layer of security.
For now, Pluto can merely read and analyze the contents of a user’s bank account, not alter it in any way. Work is being done to integrate access to FDIC-insured accounts and to pave the way for in-app transfers, but these features are currently under development.
The opportunity presented by Pluto is that of a free, easy-to-use and user-friendly method for aiding you in your own quest to better manage your finances. There’s little else that needs to be said about the app, though there is the possibility that Pluto will be able to be used as a payment processor in the future if the development team enables in-app transfers.
Pluto is likely one of the best new financial management apps we’ve seen in a long time. While it’s limited in that it can’t directly interact with a bank account in order to make deposits or withdrawals, and also in that it’s only available currently on iOS devices and not Androids, the potential for Pluto to provide good financial and savings advice is high.
We’re particularly fond of the app’s approach to setting savings goals, which allows users to enter these goals along with images related to them in order to encourage and inspire. Additionally, the inclusion of gamification in issuing challenges to users to step up their savings game in order to reach their goals is a stroke of genius, as this provides a real sense of accomplishment and serves as further encouragement to continue to save for future goals.
It’s true that Pluto, as an app, is focused on younger generations. This is only natural, as its developers are all either fresh out of college or are about to graduate shortly, and younger generations are the ones most if need of financial advice – especially in the current economic landscape. However, Pluto’s services can easily be used by individuals of all ages, providing a universal appeal for the app.
If you have issues with your own financial planning ability, we recommend giving Pluto a try as it’s free to use. For those who have Android devices, sit tight – the company’s dev team is hard at work on an Android version of the app as well. You can fill out a form on the Pluto site to be informed when Pluto for Android goes live.