I’m always envy when I read about all the personal finance management, money saving etc. apps that are available in the US. Here in the Netherlands they are mainly unavailable. That’s why I was excited when around the end of last year my bank, ABN AMRO has launched their finance management app, called Grip. I’m using it for a few months, so I thought it might be helpful for the Dutch readers to have a review about it.
Grip is a personal finance management app that is available on Android or iOS phones. No Windows Phone or desktop version is available at the moment.
It is a great way to overview and manage your finances, as long as all your accounts are with ABN AMRO. And this is the biggest disadvantage at the moment. If you have a credit card, investment account etc. outside of ABN AMRO, you cannot link it to Grip. Not just you can’t link it, you can’t even add transactions manually.
No, I don’t want to write off this app, in fact in many ways it’s really useful. Plus on the positive side, the developers seem to work hard on improving it. During the last few months, they added English as an optional language, furthermore now the app can also manage ABN AMRO Credit Card and ABN AMRO Gold Card. Previously it was not an option. So who knows, maybe in the future external accounts can also be added (unless there are some legal, data piracy etc. obstacles).
Things I Like About Grip
First of all you can immediately link all your ABN AMRO accounts (current accounts, saving accounts, investment accounts, credit cards) and the transactions (even the historical ones) are fed into the app. This way you can analyze your earnings and spending of past months and years immediately.
Many common transactions (like purchases from Albert Heijn, refunds from tax authority) are automatically categorized by Grip. If you have multiple purchases from the same shop that the app doesn’t know, it’s enough to select the category once and Grip offers to add the same category to all similar transactions, you don’t need to do one by one.
You can analyse your transactions in a particular month, or you can check a 6 month or even a yearly view. It also gives you the average of the selected period. Are you trying to reduce your grocery bills? With Grip you can see in a chart how successful you are.
You can set monthly budgets for specific categories, monitor the progress, plus the app sends you a notification in case you exceed it.
You can search for the titles of specific transactions. Do you want to see how much you spent in your favorite pub during the last 12 months? Just type in the name of the place and you see it immediately (as long as you paid with your ABN AMRO debit or credit card).
Things I Do Not Like About Grip
It takes some time to get used to the interface, but after using it for a while, it is easy to use. The big problems are that you cannot link non ABN accounts to it, or at least add transactions manually by yourself.
On a personal level, besides of my ABN AMRO accounts I have an AMEX credit card and an investment account with another broker. I don’t believe that my personal situation is that unique. In the Grip app I only see the payments made to these accounts. However, I cannot import the specific transactions that I used my AMEX card for. I only see the settlement payment as a lump sum. Likewise, my investments with the other broker are also not visible in the app.
Generally, Grip is more useful for monitoring your cash flow, analyse your spending and set budgets. It does not give a good overview on your financial situation. Even regarding my investments that are still with ABN AMRO, I can only see if I purchase/sell something, or I receive dividends. The app doesn’t inform me on the current value of my investments.
The Grip app is a useful tool if you handle all your finances with ABN AMRO. Nevertheless it is far from being perfect if you want to have a single overview on your overall financial situation.
Services like Personal Capital offers in the US are so far not available in the Netherlands (if you are aware of anything like that, please shout). I understand that individual countries in Europe might not be that big attractive markets as the US, and an EU wide service would need to deal with different languages and legislations. Nevertheless I see it as a big market gap, and I believe many people would be happy to use such services.
Still, Grip might be a beginning of a trend. In addition the developers seem to improve it continuously, so who knows what will it end up over time.
Please subscribe to the weekly newsletter and never miss a new post!
Disclaimer: This post or any other information on the site is not intended to be and does not constitute financial advice or any other advice. I am solely sharing my idea, plan and progress on early retirement.