Recently, Meet Cleo – an artificial intelligence money-managing assistant – was bought to my attention through a colleague. While it was a service I never thought I’d need or use, I wondered how it would help in terms of budgeting. Below consists of a short but more detailed description of what Meet Cleo provides, and my thoughts on the service (hint; i’m still using it).

What is Meet Cleo?

As mentioned, Meet Cleo is an AI service that helps you manage your money. The AI is used through Facebook Messenger, text message, Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, where you can ask it questions relevant to your account and spending habits, and receive instant feedback and advice. It’s emoji/gif friendly and uses humour and a friendly tone which is very welcome in terms of bank/money management!

A screenshot of meet cleo facebook messenger in useA screenshot of meet cleo facebook messenger in use

Our finances should be easy to understand, our spending should be more manageable, and we should be able to make better informed decisions about our financial futures. If we are given the ability to really see what’s going on with our finances, we would be better at managing them. We also strongly believe in the power of new technologies to help make it easier for us to get to know our money better.

How Does it Work?

On registering (a very quick and easy process) you are asked to set up a connection with your bank account/s so that Cleo can scan transaction history, finding interesting trends and purchasing habits. They then point out potential bills (I had to manually add a couple of transactions which was as simple as a click) so they can then help budget your account. On the web dashboard, you see a visual representation of your balance, direct debits, latest transactions and spending per category for the last 2 months.

Is it Safe?

Understandably a service like this can be a concern when it’s to do with bank details, so I asked Cleo on Messenger itself if it was safe. I received a link to some information which I’ll break down.

A screenshot of meet cleo facebook messenger in use

Meet Cleo uses ‘bank-level encryption and security practices’. The main point is that Cleo is a read-only service so no one can ever move money in or out of your account. No data is stored on their servers and the transaction information is encrypted.

To break it down further:

  • Never stores your banking login details
  • Never accesses your banking login details
  • Uses bank-level 256-bit encryption to connect the service and our servers

If you’d like to read more details then hit this useful link.

How Does Meet Cleo Make Money?

By the same way it saves you money; by offering cheaper financial alternatives from other services. Lets say for example you are spending such and such amount on your electricity bill. Cleo works out if you’re overspending compared to the average user, and may point you to an alternative electricity supplier. Cleo makes money from that service (assuming you sign up) and you save yourself money. I have yet to be offered that element, but can only see it as a win. Here’s an example from a friend who saved money on his energy bill. I really like that even in AI chat, it’s unobtrusive and natural. My friend is now saving over £200 on his energy bill.

A screenshot of meet cleo facebook messenger in use

Meet Cleo Referrals

One great perk signing up with Meet Cleo is the referral scheme. You’ll get your own unique link you can share with others and if they sign up you’ll get £2.50 you can withdraw to your bank account or keep in your Cleo ‘Wallet’! It may not sound a huge amount but as you’ll find out, it’s a very easy process and is worth a few shares on your Facebook page because it will soon add up! If you’d like to sign up via my link (which of course i’d be very grateful for) then you can do so here.

  • The money will be deposited into your Cleo wallet, which you can withdraw into your bank account.
  • You cannot use the same online banking details across multiple accounts.
  • Your friend cannot delete their account until the 7 days has passed.
  • High volume referrers will be manually checked by the fraud team.
  • You’ll be prompted to enter your bank details so we can perform a bank transfer for you after the 7 days lapses.
  • Friends that sign up but don’t connect their bank account do not count towards the bonus.

Final Thoughts

Cleo’s AI-powered chatbot makes banking relevant to the ‘now’ generation and that’s it’s biggest draw-in. Simple things like utilising Facebook Messenger (which everyone has or can easily get) and using gifs and emojis provides a familiar feel to what we see and use on a day to day basis, and that is what helps connect you to the service.

AI chatbots are the future, and while Cleo naturally still has some learning to do, it’s very easy to get a general look at your transactions while offering some advice, purely by asking simple questions you may ask yourself anyway e.g. how much did I spend on eating out in June?

While Cleo obviously won’t cover your typical banking needs, it can provide a quick look into your transactions, set budgets and give you detailed breakdowns, helping you save those all important pounds.

Sign up here if you’re interested.