How to Open a Personal Capital Account
- Money Management:
- Personal Capital
Personal Capital Account Opening Process Summary: Getting a Personal Capital account is free and easy and the process requires minimal personal information. Personal Capital implements multiple layers of security to safeguard the account information, including two-factor authentication.
I have been using Personal Capital for a little over over two weeks since I opened an account in the middle of September. Though initially I just wanted to use it to analyze the cost of my employer sponsored 401(K) plan, I found that it is more than just a fee analyzer. I can use use it as a portal to manage all my accounts, including investment accounts, bank accounts, even credit card accounts. I realized that there are some overlaps in terms of functionality between Personal Capital and other personal finance management tools, such as Mint, especially the bank and credit card part. But since I didn’t have a good first impression with Mint.com, I thought it is worth trying to see if Personal Capital is any better.
To use Personal Capital, you will first need an account and registering with Personal Capital is rather simple. Since it relies on linking your accounts at other financial institutions to perform any kind of analysis or management, Personal Capital doesn’t require a lot of personal information from you directly, thus, the process of opening a Personal Capital Account takes only about a minute or two. The first step is creating an account with an email address as your user name and providing a password. Next, you will need to enter the password again and a phone number, which Personal Capital says will use to verify your account if later on you want to access your account from a different computer. Again, since Personal Capital relies on linked accounts for any analysis or management, it doesn’t require personal information such as social security number and date of birth, etc., and, therefore, these information will not be stored at Personal Capital.
Once an account is created, you will then be asked to answer a few questions before linking your external accounts to Personal Capital. These questions, including your first name, age, when will you retire, the size of your investable assets, and your risk tolerance level, however, are optional, so you can skip them all together if you don’t fell comfortable answering them. The next step is linking your existing accounts at other brokers or banks and starting to explore what Personal Capital can help you manage your money.
Is Personal Capital Safe?
Even though having an account with Personal Capital doesn’t require much personal information from me directly,
there’s still a concern about the safety of information from accounts linked to Personal Capital because those information is highly personal. As a platform that gathers these information, I want to be ensured that Personal Capital takes all necessary steps to safeguard my information.
From Personal Capital website, it appears that it has multiple layers of protection for personal information. For example, during the account opening process, Personal Capital registers the computer I used to open the account and later, if I try to access my account from a different computer, it will ask me to verify either via the email address or phone number I provided, in addition to entering the correct password. According to Personal Capital, this two-factor authentication process adds additional security in case my password was stolen. The recorded computer information is saved in my profile so I can see from which computers my account has been accessed and detect possible illegal access from devices that I couldn’t recognize.
Since Personal Capital is a Registered Investment Advisor, it’s regulated by the SEC. More information about how Personal Capital manages investments and deposit for its customer, such as FDIC and SIPC insurance, can be found on Personal Capital website.
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