Manilla.com Review: Your Perfect Bill Tracking and Statement Storage Service?

Manilla.comA perfect organizing or storage system is like walking into a chocolate factory and eating whatever you like.

Jackpot!

It’s even better when the system is simple, free, and bursting with value.

That’s Manilla.com in a nutshell.

But… there are other good Manilla.com reviews out there, so why do my own?

Because the others lacked this level of detail for why Manilla.com might be a good fit for you and how it actually works.

This review is perfect for people who:

  • Don’t like their current bill tracking system (or don’t have one)
  • Are sick of getting vendor and financial statements in the mail and the filing/shredding that comes with it
  • Want a complete view of points earned in various vendor loyalty programs
  • Need to reduce their stacks of paper
  • Wish to spend less time and energy keeping up with online accounts

So here’s my review of Manilla.com (affiliate link): the online bill tracking, aggregating, and statement storing service.

(This is also a great time to download the tools that I and countless others use to simplify, organize, and be money wise).

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Manilla.com Sign Up Process, Initial Use, and Profile Settings

I have to hand it to the Manilla.com website designers.

The sign up process is super-fast and easy.

Pro tip: I wrote a step-by-step guide to the process – with some helpful tactics – so you can know ahead of time what you’re getting into.

This also gives you a great look into your initial use of Manilla.com and some insider understanding to maximize your profile options.

So click here for goodies in this sign up resource.

I’ll also note what Manilla.com did well during my sign up and vendor linking process.

  1. I could link to just about every household and financial vendor I had a relationship with.
  2. You enter log on information for vendors one at a time, but they don’t attempt to verify the information until it’s entered for all providers. This speeds up the overall process by not interrupting the linking part.
  3. They have a link labeled “forgot login information?” below the user name and password to each vendor. Clicking it takes you to the vendor’s website page where you can get a user name/password reminder or the ability to reset your password.
  4. If any log on information can’t be verified, they make it obvious which vendors you needed to follow up on.

    Manilla.com

  5. You instantly see your balance and when the next bill is due for some linked vendors. And they have your frequent flier point balances displayed right away if you added a program.

Manilla.com             Manilla.com

The only thing I didn’t like was the forced electronic delivery of statements for some vendors like CitiBank, Comcast, AT&T, or DIRECTV. If you don’t check the “I agree” box, then it’s too bad, so sad.

Personally, I don’t care. But this seems like a needless restriction from a wider community perspective. I think I understand why they do it though, since I assume these vendors give them a financial incentive for each paperless sign up.

Manilla.com Feature Review

Manilla’s approach to their core features is excellent. They know what people want and how they plan to use their service.

Basically, you get the car, the keys, and a full tank of gas.

The main sections of the website are broken up into reminders, documents, and accounts. And I’m here to give you the insider’s view of each of these.

Reminders

Manilla.com

Automated reminders are the bread and butter of many online services. The problem is most reminders are annoying and don’t have the ability to customize the frequency and type. No so with Manilla.com.

The email reminders are actually useful. This shouldn’t be refreshing, but I’ve used enough online services to know it’s rare.

And if you don’t want to get an email reminder for a certain vendor because, say, your bill is on auto payment, you can easily change the notifications with a link.

Manilla.com

They give you two views to review your general reminders and the bill payment specific ones. I’m partial to the calendar view but the list view was pretty good as well.

They also let you set a reminder for any bill, even the ones not linked to Manilla.com. Just add a reminder with any level of detail and they’ll inform you about it via text or email.

I like it!

I can really see how Manilla.com helps people with issues paying their bills on time. They break down your bills into three categories with the urgent items at the top.

Manilla.com

Then they give you the “act now” items.

Manilla.com

And then at the bottom, the “act soon” items.

Manilla.com

It looks like the threshold for a bill to move from “act soon” to “act now” status is 14 calendar days. However, what I think I should “act soon” on or “act now” on is different than what they do. I want to see an option added to tweak the threshold for the number of days in various reminder statuses but I’ll admit I’m splitting hairs here.

To make up for this limitation, I can manually change the status of a bill from “urgent” to “payment submitted” with a single click of a drop down option. The change looks like this:

Manilla.com

And if for some reason I mistakenly mark the bill paid but it isn’t, I can move the status back to “urgent” easily.

Documents

The first time I went to the Documents tab there were already 15 waiting for me. From the start, Manilla.com was fulfilling its greatest promise: a one-stop-shop for all electronic documents for all my vendors with an unlimited retention period.

It’s super groovy that I can sort them by account, type (bill, notice, statement, etc.), and date.

And I could go on and on about how awesome their document retrieval and storage process is. But I really think you need to see if for yourself.Manilla.com

There are some minor quirks though. A month after signing up, I logged in to access the Documents section and my bills were coming into Manilla.com the way I expected. But, I had zero statements imported since I signed up for the service.

I’m not sure what’s up with that.

I’m also unclear when I’ll get documents related to “offers” and “coupons” as the navigation options shows me both of these document categories.

Accounts

Going to the Accounts tab lists all your linked accounts in Manilla.com.

Two things stand out right away:

  1. They break the accounts down into sub-categories like household, finance, subscriptions, and travel & rewards
  2. You can specify the settings for each account and even nickname each one

Manilla.com

Manilla.com

If you’re familiar with how Quicken, Yodlee, Mint, or other aggregators display linked accounts, then Manilla.com is more of the same. It’s completely straight forward even if you’re new to seeing all your accounts in one place.

Making Money Through Referrals

I didn’t notice it right away, but there’s a link named “refer a friend” – in a not so subtle orange font – to refer people to Manilla.com.

Manilla.com

And they’re offering $5.00 for every person who signs up for Manilla.com with your referral link (yep, that’s my referral link).

However, make sure you read the fine print. After clicking the referral link for the first time, Manilla.com sent me an email clarifying how I can earn $5.00. They say:

“For every friend that joins Manilla and links at least three accounts, you get a $5 gift card.”

But don’t have dreams of getting rich as they have an annual cap of $600.00. See the rest of the referral program details here.

Manilla.com

Note: You can only redeem your rewards for a Walmart, iTunes, or an Amazon gift card at the moment. I would hope they’d expand the options in the future like cutting a check to you.

So What’s the Catch?

I did my homework and can’t see a catch.

They seem to have all their bases covered like:

  • Data security just as good (if not better) than most financial institutions
  • Disclosure of how you get this all for free (linked providers pay Manilla.com a small fee)
  • Offering email support with a one day turnaround time and phone support during traditional business hours

As always, I encourage you to do your own homework too on things like their privacy policy. But overall, Manilla.com gets a big-time wow from me!

They even have a free mobile app for iPhones and Android if you and your smartphone are best buddies.

Just about the only thing I can’t give a thumbs up to is the Manilla.com blog. Many of the articles fall short in value and I don’t need them telling me how to get summer fashion trends for under $50.

Good thing I wrote a guest post for them to spruce up the joint, huh? :)

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My Manilla.com Recommendation

I would recommend Manilla.com if you fall into any of these categories:

  1. You need a simple and portable bill tracking system
  2. You despise filing and shredding all those physical vendor and financial statements
  3. You value a fast and easy sign up process
  4. You want a one-stop shop for seeing your vendor loyalty program points
  5. You appreciate the possibility of paperless
  6. You need more time with friends and family and less time viewing online accounts

The best part about Manilla.com is that they give you tons of reasons to sign up and to continue using their service.

I suggest you sign up now if you struggle with paperwork, bills, or finding simple solutions to complex problems.

And now it’s your turn to review this Manilla.com run down.

How was this review helpful to you? Do you have experience with another product or service that could be compared to Manilla.com? Please leave a comment about it!

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11 Responses to Manilla.com Review: Your Perfect Bill Tracking and Statement Storage Service?

  1. Erin says:

    Nice review, Joel! Comprehensive — I’d expect nothing less :) I’ve been using Mint.com off and on for the past few years, but Manilla seems like a different animal. Though I haven’t really explored the bill-paying side of Mint, if it has one. I use it more for tracking spending and such.

    • The folks at Manilla thought it was comprehensive too. That’s what I was going for. :)

      You’re right in that Manilla and Mint are totally different animals. Manilla’s not trying to replace Mint since most of what it does are things that Mint simply doesn’t try to do. It would be awesome to have one place for all your personal finance needs, but it would be near impossible for one vendor to provide solutions to all the facets of such a huge category.

  2. Thomas Briggs says:

    One of the features I’d like to see is an email alert when a new bill is received. Currently the earliest email alert is 7 days before a bill is due. Not a big deal b/c the various credit card companies send emails when a statement is generated, but it would be nice if Manilla did too.

    • Hey Thomas,

      I agree with you there. As great as the notifications are right now, I could see them being even better. Implementing your suggestion is a step along that path.

      My interaction with the folks at Manilla has been really positive and they seem highly receptive to feedback. I’d suggest you send an email to support@manilla.com with your recommendation and ask them if they can get it into their product development pipeline. As a former technology guy, I know adding functionality like this seems easy, but it might take a while to build on their side.

  3. Sarah Kaufman says:

    Hi everyone,

    I work at Manilla and I’d love to answer any questions you have about the service.

    In response to your comment, Thomas, with Manilla, you can choose how often you’re reminded — one, three and/or seven days before the bill is due. You can also be notified when the bill is overdue.

    You can adjust these settings by following these simple steps:
    1. Go to your Accounts page
    2. From there, click on the account for which you’d like to change the reminder settings (AT&T, for example)
    3. From there, click “edit settings”
    4. Check the applicable boxes under “email” and “SMS.” If the account is on autopay, check the autopay box so that you don’t receive reminders for that account.

    Let me know if you have any other questions, and please feel free to connect with me here, or via the contact information below.

    Best,
    Sarah Kaufman

    Marketing Manager
    Content; Communities
    o: (212) 969-7582
    m: (646) 413-9573
    e: skaufman@manilla.com

    • Thomas Briggs says:

      Hi Sarah,

      In addition to the settings you mention, I suggest that you also offer a feature whereby the user is alerted via email when a new document is received in the Manilla account.

      Thanks.
      –Tom

  4. Thanks, Tom. We’ll keep that in mind for a later product update.

  5. Purna Pareek says:

    Hi Joel,

    Great review of Manilla. I work for Finovera, a brand new service that is very similar to Manilla but we think it is better! Finovera (https://www.finovera.com) is still in beta but would be happy to send you an evaluation link for a test drive. I would love to hear your opinion on how we differ from Manilla. Thanks.

    • Thanks for jumping in on the conversation, Purna. I’m about to have my second kid any day now and I’m trying to keep the commitments low. I may check in with you about Finovera in October though.

  6. Katie says:

    I’d like to know more about how Manilla uses the data they mine from the users accounts. I don’t want to start getting goggle type ads based on any of my input.

  7. Sarah says:

    Hi Katie,

    I’m Sarah and I work at Manilla. Thanks for your question.

    The advertising in Manilla is not run by 3rd parties based on the data
    mined. Manilla’s advertising is all native and more often than not, all
    users will see the same ads. The only caveat is for our partner providers
    like AT&T, Citibank and Comcast where we have non-compete clauses. If you link any of these providers, Manilla will not show you any ads that would compete with their brand.

    For any other questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to support@manilla.com.

    Thanks,
    Sarah

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