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About Adaptu

Adaptu launched in November 2010. Our goal is to provide a single source of financial information, money management tools and expert and community support to help our members transform their financial lives and live the life they want. Adaptu is a wholly-owned subsidiary of StanCorp Financial Gro...

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  • Willy Staley's Profile Image

    By Willy Staley, Aug 13th 2012

    Editor Rating

    Adaptu launched in late 2010, but even so it still seems like a newcomer to the personal finance management software scene. It is owned by Oregon’s StanCorp Financial Group, a Fortune 1000 insurance and financial services company. So, the app is smart, but not as sleek as something owned by a user-experience-obsessed tech company.

    It’s perfectly serviceable, but it has no special feature that its competitors do not. And furthermore, it’s a bit glitchy.

    All that said, Adaptu stands out for offering the best balance between personal finance tools and personal finance education. Unlike some sites that seek to educate, Adaptu is hands-off about it. In fact, the how-tos and other editorial content is kept totally separate from the finance tools. There’ something nice about that, even if it isn’t the slickest website out there.

    Pros Cons
    Offers education tools Clunky login
    Categorizes spending well Ugly interface
    Slow

    Accessibility

    Adaptu’s sign-in process is nothing if not glitchy. It encountered an error the first time we created a password, leaving us in a strange limbo of having an account associated with our email address, but no password that worked. Once you can sign in you have to answer a security question after entering your password, but you can’t see your typing, and the security questions appear to be case sensitive -- this makes things tricky. After striking out, missing three in row, we were signed out and our password no longer worked. So we had to reset it.

    It also has a mobile app available for iOS and Android (Free).

    Functionality

    Once you’ve been let in, Adaptu is perfectly serviceable. It gives you a rundown of transactions on all your accounts, and also a pie chart showing you where your money goes. That said, it isn’t all that pretty, and its dashboard just doesn’t have the pop that Mint’s and HelloWallet’s do.

    Another annoying aspect of Adaptu’s interface is that it doesn’t update your accounts without a bit of prodding. Why bother with all the security hoopla if you aren’t going to access my bank accounts immediately after signing me in? It is potentially jarring, after payday, to see no change in your bank account balance.

    It also gives users the ability to see how their personal finances compare to the rest of the United States, and the rest of the Adaptu community, which is neat. But what’s the average age of the Adaptu user? Their income? Is this at all useful? Why a 40-year-old with two kids should look at the same averages that a 22-year-old fresh out of college does makes little sense -- even though it’s nice to know how you stack up.

    Breadth

    Adaptu allows for a good mix of account types: bank accounts, credit cards, investments, loans and mortgages. It even allows for airline and hotel rewards programs, and like others it allows you to add any sort of asset if you feel it better reflects your financial situation.

    Guidance/Categorization

    This is something that Adaptu does quite well. For the most part, it properly files your transactions away into the right categories. Occasionally it makes odd errors: why is buying a book online “Entertainment” but buying one at the store “Hobbies”? Otherwise, the app does quite well in this area.

    Also, you can split cash transactions up however you wish (if you have an elephant’s memory), like with most PFMs.

    Education

    When you log into Adaptu, to see your finances, you must click on “Tools” -- this is another annoying part of the log-in process: you can’t just hit Return, you have to click around. Otherwise, you can go to the Community section of the site, which has more editorial content and money advice for users: how to budget for life, relationships and money, college savings, your 401k, debt relief, and the like. It’s a good resource and Adaptu is not pushy about forcing you to use it.

    The Breakdown

    Accessibility
    1
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    4
    5
    Functionality
    1
    2
    3
    4
    5
    Breadth
    1
    2
    3
    4
    5
    Guidance
    1
    2
    3
    4
    5
    Education
    1
    2
    3
    4
    5

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