“Just a natural fact. We come together, cuz opposites attract,” Paula Abdul.
When it comes to love, opposites attract. Unfortunately for most couples, the opposite features that brought you together may be the same features that drive you crazy when it comes to managing money together. Even worse, almost every piece of technology that helps with money management is designed for solo use only.
However, a small number of apps, including Zeta: Couples Finance, are starting to make managing money as a couple easier.
Should you and your beau start using Zeta to manage your money together? Here’s what you need to know before you decide.
- Free app to help couples manage money together
- Review transactions, split items, categorize by his/her/ours
- Budgeting recently added banking and budgeting
How Zeta Is Different from Other Money Management Apps
Like every money management app on the marketplace, Zeta: Couples Finance has features that make it easy to track income and expenses (as an initial point of differentiation, Zeta also includes a savings bucket which most apps do not).
You can customize how you categorize different expenses. As a user, you can also review transactions, look at a bills calendar, and be sure that you’re spending less than you are earning.
All of that is typical of a myriad of financial apps, but Zeta: Couples Finance is not another copycat. This app helps couples manage money at different stages of their relationship.
It has features that allow you to categorize transactions as “his,” “hers,” and “ours” (tagged with names, not with pronouns). That makes it easy to track shared and individual expenses.
The app is flexible enough that users can share as much or as little with their partner as they want. For example, a partner that shares just a few bills with her partner can highlight those transactions as shareable transactions, and the remainder of her transactions are for her eyes only.
Couples that have shared goals but not fully merged finances (often the case for engaged or newly married couples) can use Zeta to give complete transparency in their finances without actually merging accounts.
Best Features of Zeta: Couples Finance
While the income and expense tracking features are important, Zeta has a few standout features that make it especially helpful for couples. These are my favorite features as of the time of review.
Zeta costs no money, and right now it’s ad-free.
If you’re part of a couple that doesn’t have fully merged finances, you’re probably in a situation where you’re splitting the bill with your partner fairly often. Zeta makes it easy for couples to keep track of bills that were meant to be shared and keep track of who owes whom money.
This may not seem like a huge deal, but if you’re splitting rent or child-care costs, keeping track of money is a huge deal.
Zeta has a calendar that shows when a bill is due. For me, a calendar with bill due dates is the best way to keep track of my financial obligations, and I love that the calendar is shared.
Couples can use the memo feature to give their partner a heads-up about a certain transaction. For example, if you bought something from Amazon, you could add a memo like, “Birthday gift for nephew.” The memos can really help when you’re reviewing finances as a couple.
Setting Up Budgets
You can set up budgets (both individual and shared budgets) and create goals. These features are some of the best features for starting conversations, and we're glad to see them recently added to the app (they were previously only online).
This is Zeta's attempt at couples banking. Zeta has partnered with Radius Bank to offer a joint bank account with two debit cards, that allows each couple to manage their money and goals using Zeta's tools.
With Zeta Joint Cards, couples can merge all or part of their money, irrespective of how they manage things, and split their bills and automate their paychecks toward their goals.
This account provides:
- Two customized debit cards for each account owner
- No monthly account fees or minimums
- Multiplayer functionality, where couples can coordinate and communicate within the app
- Couples can auto-save for goals they share together
- A bill reserve that allows them to see what’s coming up and set money aside
Drawbacks to Zeta: Couples Finance
The biggest drawbacks to Zeta is that it's still a work in progress. New features are being added all the time (which is awesome), but you might not have all the functionality you're looking for to truly make the switch from another platform.
The second drawback to the app was slow when we reviewed it. The team at Zeta is clearly working to speed things up, but the app is still slower than the high-end financial apps. We hope this changes soon.
Should You Download Zeta: Couples Finance?
Managing money as a couple is tough, especially if you don’t have fully merged finances. Zeta does a great job making the difficult job of managing money a little bit easier.
As it stands, it’s recommended with a bit of caution. It may take a few more months before the app is robust enough to manage money on a day-to-day basis.
Ease of Use
Commissions and Fees
Zeta is a personal finance management tool designed to help couples work together on their money goals.
- Online banking features to help manage money together
- Shared goals and banking
- Lack of high-end budgeting features
Robert Farrington is America’s Millennial Money Expert® and America’s Student Loan Debt Expert™, and the founder of The College Investor, a personal finance site dedicated to helping millennials escape student loan debt to start investing and building wealth for the future. You can learn more about him on the About Page, or on his personal site RobertFarrington.com.
He regularly writes about investing, student loan debt, and general personal finance topics geared towards anyone wanting to earn more, get out of debt, and start building wealth for the future.
He has been quoted in major publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, Fox, ABC, NBC, and more. He is also a regular contributor to Forbes.