Otto Review | The College Investor
If you’re a planner at heart or gravitate to spreadsheets, daily money management may feel natural to you. But those who don’t do these things may struggle to stay on top of their daily finances. Without planning, cash flow may get tight when semi-annual bills like car insurance are due or when you need to put a large dental bill on your credit card.
Otto is a budgeting app that can help you to stay on top of your money even if you aren’t a natural planner. It’s designed to make money management easy. Here’s what you need to know about the app.
- Create a spending plan without needing a detailed budget.
- Stay on top of your spending with an intuitive user experience.
- Manage checking and credit cards in the same app.
$7.99 per month / $87.89 annually
Automated budgeting tool with ability to make savings sub-accounts
What Is Otto?
Founded in 2022 in Boulder, Colorado, Otto (called Ottosave in the App Store and coming soon on Google Play) is an app that makes zero-based budgeting simple and intuitive. A zero-based budget is a budget where every dollar has a “job” is allocated to spending, saving, or investing. Apps like YNAB and EveryDollar are designed to help people create and maintain a budget.
What makes Ottosave different is its “on-the-fly” budgeting capabilities. You can easily “transfer” money from sub-accounts to cover unexpected expenses, and you can even spend the money on your credit card. Instead of “sitting down to budget,” the app is designed to enable you to spend just a few minutes each day keeping track of your funds.
What Does It Offer?
Otto is not a “jack of all trades” app. Its primary purpose is to make managing money easy.
Organize The Money You Have Into Sub-Accounts
When you first connect your accounts, you have the option to organize your money into sub-accounts. Some money will go towards paying off the balance on your credit card (if you have one), and the rest can be allocated between bills, spending, and various sub-accounts. You can create and delete sub-accounts that are meaningful to you.
For example, if you are saving for new furniture, you can create a sub-account called “home redesign.” If car repairs always catch you by surprise, you can dedicate money every month to one named “car repair fund.” Create as many or as few accounts as makes sense to you.
Automate Your Savings and Spending Without Setting Up Extra Accounts
Otto gives users the option to set up schedules. The schedules will automatically allocate money to certain sub-accounts on a prescribed schedule. If you plan to put $100 towards a vacation every two weeks, you can. If your mortgage costs $1,800 per month, you can create that as well.
Since the money is automatically allocated, it frees you to spend the remainder guilt-free. It helps ensure you’ll meet your short and long-term goals.
Manage Your Money No Matter How You Spend
Whether you spend out of your checking account, or you use credit cards to earn travel rewards, Ottosave tracks your spending. If you make a habit of checking the app for a minute every day, you can stay on top of your spending. You won’t risk falling into credit card debt, because you’ll know how much money you need to put toward the bill.
30-Day Free Trial Period
You can use Otto’s demo user interface to gain an understanding of how the app works. If you think the app will work for you, you can opt for a free 30-Day trial period. You won’t be given the option to buy until the trial period is up. This ensures that you don’t accidentally end up with yet another subscription that you don’t use.
Share An Account With Your Partner
While Ottosave isn’t designed to be an app for couples, it allows users to share an account. If you and your partner want to stay on top of day-to-day spending, Ottosave makes it easy. If you always check the app before swiping your card, you can know whether you have money for a purchase. And both partners can make a point to reign in spending when money unexpectedly went out the door.
Are There Any Fees?
Ottosave offers a free 30-day trial period. After that, you’ll pay $7.99 per month or $87.89 annually.
While this is more expensive than free-spending trackers like Personal Capital or Mint, it is in line with the costs of premium budgeting apps like Tiller and YNAB.
How Do I Contact Otto?
While the company doesn’t publish an email address or a phone number, it is responsive to the Contact Us submission form in the app. You can also visit the website to use the “Chat with us” bubble on the bottom right side of the screen.
How Does Otto Compare?
Otto is one app out of dozens designed to track and manage your money. If you’re someone who loves the planning aspect of money management, Otto may not be the app for you because it may be too simple. Tiller or YNAB are better choices for true money nerds.
Otto is designed for people who don’t naturally gravitate toward spreadsheets and long-range planning. It’s best for people who are committed to developing good money management habits, but don’t want to feel restricted or overly burdened by strict financial plans.
Otto’s “on-the-fly” money management capabilities make it more comparable to Simplifi or Qube Money. Both of these competitors cost less than Otto, but the Otto user experience feels more intuitive.
Qube Money also requires users to spend using the Qube card while Otto allows you to spend anywhere.
Otto is lacking when it comes to people with highly variable incomes. The app is designed with automation in mind. You could manually shuffle money between accounts in low-income and high-income months, but that may not lead you to achieve your goals as quickly as you want. Tools that force planning (like YNAB) make more sense for people with variable incomes.
How Do I Open An Account?
Download Otto from the App Store. To create an account, you only need a username, email address, and password. Once you’ve verified your email, you can use a demo version of Otto.
To start your free trial, connect your bank accounts using a third-party integrator. The third-party integration ensures that your money is never at risk through Otto.
Is It Safe And Secure?
Otto is a read-only financial app. It doesn’t touch your accounts except when you sign up for automatic payments for the subscription service. Although Otto isn’t a banking app, it upholds bank-level encryption requirements, so user information is kept safe.
Hackers may be able to get personal information about you, such as your email address and where you bank, but they can’t use Otto to steal money or make fraudulent charges against
Is It Worth It?
If you already have a functional money management plan, you may not find a need for Otto. While the user experience is intuitive, changing systems may not be worth the effort.
However, if you constantly struggle with money tracking and spending management, give Otto a try. It will help you to automate good financial habits without setting up complex systems. You can still use credit and debit cards for spending, and the app manages it all.
$7.99 per month / $87.89 per year
iOS only (Google Play coming soon)