Over the last six months, Ben, Christian and I have been working on a personal finance tool to help us see our money. We all have accounts with a bunch of financial institutions which we can access through cards, apps and websites.
There are a few products that can bring all of these accounts together in a single place but none of them quite fit our needs. We want to create the personal finance tool for power users.
In its current form, Balance is a menubar app that runs on macOS. It sits in the top right of your Mac alongside utilities like Wi-Fi and popular apps such as Dropbox. Once installed, you can connect to your existing online bank accounts and download all of your financial information. You can see your balances and transactions in one place, as well as a feed of transactions that meet certain criteria and insights into where you spend your money.
We have built the app with a few things in mind:
We never store your username or password. Instead, we use the industry-standard service Plaid — which powers products like PayPal and Venmo — to access your data.
Once you connect an account, your information is downloaded directly to your Mac from Plaid’s servers. We do not store a copy of your financial information. Our goal is to create the best user interface for your money. We don’t want to mine your data for trends or sell it to third parties.
With Balance, your data is synced to your Mac in the background so it‘s available in your menubar immediately. Other services retrieve this information only when you log in, which always adds a delay.
And since Balance is a native app, searches and navigation are lightning fast. The menubar is a great place for utilities that you use on a regular basis. Just as Dropbox is there for your files and 1Password is there for your passwords, Balance will be there for your finances.
Securely accessing banking data is not free. We pay Plaid for each account you connect to on a monthly basis. We want to build a sustainable business by charging a subscription to cover the cost of data and development.
Many other finance tools are free and try to make money by recommending credit cards and selling your data to third parties. If we try to go that route, then our customers will become the companies that are offering referral fees for financial products, instead of the people using our software.
Our goal is to create the best personal finance tool for power users. We hope that if we can charge a fair price for the service, we will attract people who want a powerful, ad-free tool that is continually improved to meet their needs.
If you would like to test out Balance and give us feedback, we would love to welcome you to our beta program. We are currently focusing on the US but want to expand to other countries soon.
Cheers, Ben, Richard & Christian