Insult to injury: How the poultry processing industry treats hurt workers

By Huiqi Xu, Maureen Strode and Andrew Withers/For the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting 

Meat and poultry processing workers often perform the same motions for hours at a time: pulling tenders off of chicken carcasses, tearing out their internal organs, or trimming cuts of meat.

These repetitive and forceful jobs, performed on long shifts with minimal breaks, can cause workers to develop musculoskeletal injuries,  including carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, muscle strains and lower back injuries.

These injuries are common in poultry processing, but statistically, they are often invisible due to the way the Occupational Safety and Health Administration collects data. And this problem isn’t limited to just musculoskeletal injuries.

The injury rate in the poultry processing industry is already higher than many other industries. Yet the rate would be higher still if not for faulty data collection methods and widespread underreporting problems across the meat and poultry processing industry, according to a 2016 Government Accountability Office report.

Under the radar

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires workplaces to report severe injuries to the agency within 24 hours. These severe injuries include amputations, loss of an eye and in-patient hospitalizations. OSHA does not require employers to report minor injuries that receive first aid treatment.

“If a team member gets hurt on the job, we request they report it, regardless of how minor they believe it to be,” said Derek Burleson, public relations manager with Tyson Foods, Inc., the largest poultry processor in the country.

“We do this because we believe in early intervention to reduce frequency and severity of injuries,” Burleson said. “We want workplace injuries and illnesses detected early so they can be immediately addressed.”

Employers are required to report only injuries and illnesses that force employees to take days off from work, so if a worker is placed on work restriction or is transferred to a different job, that injury doesn’t have to be reported to OSHA.

According to the 2016 GAO report, many workers who suffer from musculoskeletal disorders are transferred to a different job or are restricted from their job without getting days off.

There is also no specific way to record a musculoskeletal injury to Occupational Safety and Health Administration, because the OSHA logs — the forms employers are required to fill out when an injury occurs — do not have a section to report these types of injuriesunless an employer states it on an incident report. OSHA logs are not consistently sent to OSHA or the Bureau of Labor Statistics — the agency responsible for collecting data on labor-related issues — so there is no specified way to compile data on this type of injury.

“It’s very hard now to show the degree of musculoskeletal injuries,” said Lance Compa, senior lecturer at Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations, and author of a 2005 Human Rights Watch report describing the alarming working conditions plaguing the industry.

“If somebody stabs themselves or gets stabbed by a coworker on accident and has to go to the hospital, something that’s obvious and there are witnesses and everybody knows what happened, that will be reported,” Compa said. “But the typical repetitive stress injury doesn’t get reported anymore.”

Before 2001, OSHA logs had a column for employers to report repeated traumas. This included some musculoskeletal injuries and hearing loss. In 2001, OSHA created two separate columns on its logs, one for musculoskeletal injuries and one for hearing loss. The column for musculoskeletal injuries was never implemented, and it was deleted altogether in 2003, according to a 2016 GAO report.

Moderately severe injuries — injuries that receive treatment by the plant’s medical staff and do not result in job transfer or restriction or time away from work — are not reported because they are not severe enough, according to Jessica Leibler, an environmental health professor at Boston University who has been conducting research on workers in the animal and food industries for more than 10 years.

“I was surprised by how many workers reported moderately severe injuries that were not severe enough to keep them from going to work but certainly affected their quality of life,” Leibler said.

“Our employees are our most important asset, and their safety is of paramount importance,” said the National Chicken Council, a national nonprofit organization that lobbies on behalf of the chicken industry, in a press release regarding declining injury rates.

The GAO recommended OSHA consider conducting off-site interviews or find other ways to receive complaints anonymously to encourage workers to speak up about their conditions and injuries, Barnes said.

A culture of fear

Underreporting is typically a result of workers’ fear of retaliation by employers. This retaliation can mean punishment ranging up to job loss or even deportation for workers who are undocumented, Leibler said.

Employers can also suppress reporting to avoid OSHA inspections.

“What we are finding is that a lot of the workers are afraid,” said Cindy Brown Barnes, director of education, workforce and income security issues for the GAO.

“The whole fear of retaliation prevented them, in some cases, at least they told us, from really speaking up or at least being very open and honest about the conditions they were facing.

In some cases, this fear could arise from issues pertaining to immigration status, even if a worker is in the country legally, said Rafael Gely, a University of Missouri law professor who specializes in labor and employment law.

“If your immigration status is questionable, you will not complain if your employer refuses to provide you whatever benefit you’re entitled to,” Gely said. “You will be more concerned about being deported than whatever problem you are having.”

Leibler has seen similar problems with immigrants in poultry processing.

“I think for some workers and slaughterhouses, there are issues of immigration status that make it more difficult to say, ‘I am hurt for the day or the week, and I can't come to work,’ ” Leibler said. “So many continue to work while they are injured, if they can.”

The point system

The poultry processing industry has devised a way to track employee behavior. It’s called the “point system.” Points are added for things like missing a shift because of injury or illness.

These systems are common throughout the poultry processing industry, according to a Northwest Arkansas Workers Justice center report. In Alabama, for example, 97 percent of poultry processing workers interviewed for a 2013 Southern Poverty Law Center report said there was a point system at their jobs.

Critics have said these point systems discourage workers from taking breaks and time off of work to address health needs.

“A lack of sick days and the use of attendance-driven point systems force workers to ‘choose between their health and their employment,’ ” reads the testimony of a poultry worker in the same Arkansas Report.

Tyson Foods Inc., one of the largest poultry processors in the country, also uses a point system “to encourage attendance as well as communications between production supervisors and hourly team members,” according to the company’s website.

Jacqueline Menjivar, 20, has been working at Tyson Foods for the past year-and-a-half. She said Tyson’s point system does not penalize workers for things like taking bathroom breaks or reporting injuries, as some critics have accused poultry processors of doing.

Instead, Menjivar said the point system is a way of penalizing workers who don’t show up. Calling in sick to work gives an employee one point, for example.

If you don’t show up and don’t call, “they give you three points,” Menjivar said. She said once workers hit 14 points, they are fired.

Elvira Satterwhite, a pastor and immigrant rights advocate for over 20 years in Sedalia, Missouri, said members of her congregation who work at Tyson have had different experiences with the company’s point system.

“I heard people talking about points all the time,” Satterwhite said. “If they come in late, they get a point; if they miss without an excuse, they get a point; if they talk bad to their supervisors, they get a point. And when they accumulate a number of points, then they're fired.”

From the top down

On the front lines of labor relations at Tyson are 98 chaplains which the company employs as faith-based employee consultants in its plants. According to Tyson’s website, the company’s chaplaincy program exists to “provide compassionate pastoral care to team members and their families” regardless of employee faith.

“I was an in-between person, a sounding board for anyone that needed help,” said Reverend Chris Carver, a former Tyson chaplain who worked at the company’s Monett, Missouri, complex from 2002 to 2014.

“We interacted with all team members,” he said. “I got involved with anything and everything that they needed help with, mostly interpersonal.”

Serving as an employee confidante gave Carver an inside perspective on the concerns of hourly workers.

“I think they always struggled with management,” Carver said, adding that he felt employees appreciated the company’s providing chaplains as a go-between. “There’s always that tension. Did they get along well? Depends who you talk to. But generally speaking, yeah. There was good respect.”

Carver said one of the more common issues workers approached him about was difficulty getting time off.

“Management has one goal: get the product out the door, in as quality of an environment as possible,” Carver said. “They were under such pressure to get the product out the door that it was difficult sometimes to fit everybody’s schedule.”

Overall, Carver said his impression of the way Tyson treated their workers was good. He recalled one situation where a worker told him he was in danger of losing his home due to unpaid liens against the property. Carver got in touch with the family who sold the worker the house and helped resolve the situation.

“If we didn’t have chaplains, would that have happened? I don’t know,” Carver said.

At Tyson’s Sedalia plant, Menjivar also said workers get along with the management.

“They actually get involved and don’t just watch. Our supervisors, they don’t just supervise,” Menjivar said. “If we need a break, they’ll come where we’re standing and take our spot, and we can go take a break.”

In addition, Menjivar said management makes worker safety a high priority.

“That’s a big thing there,” Menjivar said. “They make us wear green every Wednesday for safety, ‘cause that’s the safety color there.”

‘Not Quality Care’

But injuries do happen. If a worker reports that he or she has been hurt, a supervisor will send him or her to the plant’s first aid station to get examined and treated by a nurse or doctor.

OSHA requires trained healthcare professionals to work at every workplace to provide first-aid treatment for workers that is not near a hospital or healthcare clinic. According to a 2016 GAO report, these medical units often treat surface wounds and drain blisters, among other things.

But some OSHA officials have expressed concerns over both access to and quality of the medical units within many meat and poultry processing plants.

According to a 2017 GAO report, some medical units were found to offer first aid treatments, such as providing over-the-counter painkillers or ointments when they should have been referring injured or ill workers to a doctor.

The same report found that some workers said that they were reprimanded for going to the medical unit, or even had their requests for further medical care ignored by staff.

“Some workers do go to the health units and try to get care. Sometimes the level of care is not quality care,” Barnes said. “A lot of times, they didn’t write down anything. They didn’t write down that there was a visit or there was an injury. So if those records, those logs, are not being maintained, then OSHA is not going to know what’s going on in the plants.”

Poultry processing workers still face high number of injuries

By Huiqi Xu, Maureen Strode and Andrew Withers/For the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting 

On July 3, 2015, an employee of Tyson Foods was was preparing for work at the line 4B tender clipping station at the company’s poultry processing plant in Sedalia, Missouri.

The stand slipped, pinching her middle finger between the frame and the processing line.

Her finger was amputated between the nail-bed and first knuckle.

Less than a year later, at the same plant, an employee slipped and fell while trying to move a piece of ice with his foot. He suffered a fractured tibia and dislocated ankle.

In 2015, the meat and poultry processing industry had the eighth-highest number of severe injury reports of all industries, according to a 2017 Government Accountability Office report. And in 2016, poultry processing alone had a higher rate of injury and illness than logging, coal mining and oil and gas extraction, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Although the meat and poultry processing industry’s injury rate has been dropping for years, it remains higher than average for manufacturing, and vast numbers of injuries never get reported in the first place, according to a 2016 report from the Government Accountability Office.

“You can go back to The Jungle by Upton Sinclair and read about the horrendous conditions in this particular industry,” said Lance Compa, senior lecturer at Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations and author of a 2005 Human Rights Watch report describing the alarming working conditions plaguing the industry.

“We knew that the meatpacking industry was inherently dangerous and risky,” Compa said — and it still is today.

For the over 300,000 poultry workers in the U.S., clocking in doesn’t just mean facing these hazards. It also means another day of working at blistering speeds to satisfy the country’s colossal appetite for chicken. In 2016, the average American ate almost 90 pounds worth, and companies large and small collectively slaughtered more than eight billion birds the same year.

Tyson Foods, Inc. is the biggest and arguably most recognizable player in the industry: The company supplies poultry to Walmart, Kroger and Taco Bell, to name a few. Tyson also produced 174.8 million pounds of ready-to-cook chicken in 2017 and did just shy of $11.5 billion in chicken sales during fiscal year 2017, according to a Watt Poultry USA 2018 report and a Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting calculation, respectively. The company’s prominence makes it representative of many of the issues in poultry processing.

For its part, Tyson has committed to expanding training for its workers and promoting safety in the workplace. The company saw a 22 percent reduction in its Occupational Safety and Health Administration Incident Rate from 2016 to 2017.

One of Tyson’s four poultry processing plants in Missouri is in Sedalia, a small town about 90 miles east of Kansas City. Roughly 1,500 team members who work at the plant, the second largest in the state after one in Noel, Missouri.

Small town, big business

On a cloudless late February day, the wide streets and stately homes of Sedalia, Missouri, basked in the golden wash of a midday sun. Throughout a red-brick downtown and along the rows of aging, well-kept homes that line the city’s tidy, grid-like layout, the town of about 21,500 offers well-worn charm.

Pickup trucks roll down the streets, and thrift shops abound. Along 16th Street, one of the Sedalia’s main thoroughfares, a large, colorful sign announces the entrance to the Missouri State Fairgrounds.

On the corner of Thompson Boulevard and 11th Street is a modest, red-brick Spanish church, evidence of the more than a tenth of the town’s residents who identify as Hispanic.

Beneath the white steeple reads “Amigos de Cristo Iglesia Luterana,” Spanish for “Friends of Christ Lutheran Church.” The church was founded by immigrant rights advocate Elvira Satterwhite and her husband in 1999. 

For 16 years, Satterwhite worked at the Center for Human Services, a non-profit agency in Sedalia, where she witnessed the growing need to address immigrant issues. She has continued to pursue social work into retirement.

Inside, Satterwhite sits at a wooden table in the lobby. She says many members of her congregation came to town for jobs at Tyson or other meat processors. In the community, Satterwhite helps with everything from basic translations to complicated legal matters.

“I am everybody’s grandmother,” Satterwhite said, smiling.


‘Blood splashed on your face’

Northwest of downtown Sedalia sits the leviathan largely responsible for that influx. Tyson operates a processing plant, hatchery and truck-loading station across roughly 90 acres.

The plant first opened in 1994. Satterwhite said the first big influx of immigrants to Sedalia followed a few years later.

“When they first came,” Satterwhite said, “everybody was working at Tyson’s, because that's the company that brought them here with the promise of low-skilled jobs.”

Outside, one can see — and smell — the chicken-stench-emitting, metal-pipe-bristling behemoth that makes up the sprawling plant.

Inside, at eight different departments, workers and machines are stationed in front of the lines, or the conveyor belts which move chicken carcasses along at a speedy clip.

Countless pieces of chicken go down the line: breasts, tenders, and full birds. Workers are tasked with various jobs that turn live birds into meat for sale.

One of those workers is Jacqueline Menjivar, the daughter of Latin American immigrants. When she was little, Menjivar said, her mother, a Guatemalan immigrant, used to say that she never wanted her or her sister to follow in her footsteps and work at Tyson.

Now 20, she has spent a year-and-a-half there as an eviscerator, where she said she checks chicken carcasses for tumors, pulls the guts out of any dead birds that machines misprocess and is occasionally sprayed with blood and feces when intestines burst.

“The department I work at is one of the nastiest. It’s pretty gross. Say you have a ‘hang back,’” Menjivar said. “That means you have to pull the guts out manually with your hand out of the chicken. And sometimes if they’re full, their intestines might get poop all over everywhere. So it’s kind of nasty. And blood. You’ll just get blood splashed on your face.”

Tyson makes its employees wear protective gear to prevent injury, such as a smock, cotton gloves, mesh gloves and slip-resistant boots, according to Menjivar. Tyson’s public relations manager Derek Burleson confirmed the company provides protective gear to team members for specific job functions.

While this gear protects workers from injuries, wearing it can be unpleasant, one legal expert said.

“If you just think about yourself when it’s cold outside and you’re putting on big heavy boots, you’re keeping your feet warm, but you’re also sweating like crazy,” said Suzanne Gladney, an immigration attorney and founding member of the Migrant Farmworkers’ Assistance Fund, based in Kansas City, Missouri.

Gladney spent 39 years with Legal Aid of Western Missouri, where she practiced immigration law and travelled frequently to southwest Missouri to meet with poultry workers.

“Their body ... just sweats incredibly,” Gladney continued. “That kind of moisture buildup all day everyday causes its own skin issues. Even if we were not talking about any sort of actual deliberate abuse, just the work itself produces health issues, for sure. The work they’re doing is unpleasant.”

And the smell is inescapable, Gladney said.

“It’s sort of in your pores, in your body, where you’re working, and it’s something that’s with you all the time,” Gladney said.

In the evisceration department, that smell is often strong enough to cause employees to seek transfer to other departments after working for two or three days, Menjivar said.

“A lot of people can’t stomach it because it’s pretty bad,” Menjivar said.



Burnt, blinded, crushed and constipated

Injuries remain a problem throughout the industry, and the Sedalia plant is no exception:OSHA identified this plant as one of 9,400 workplaces nationwide that had more employees than average miss work or transfer to different jobs because of illness and injury in 2011. Tyson’s Sedalia plant was one of two poultry processing plants in Missouri identified, along with Cargill Meat Solutions in California, Missouri.

“Workers in meat and poultry slaughter and processing plants continue to face hazardous conditions, including sharp knives used in close quarters, slippery floors, and chemical exposures,” a 2017 Government Accountability Office report says.

Jessica Leibler,  an environmental health professor at Boston University who has been conducting research on workers in the animal and food industries for more than 10 years, said workers often get cuts from knives or sharp instruments of their own or from a co-worker who accidentally cuts them.

“It’s inherently a dangerous work environment,” Leibler said.

Contributing to this danger are inconsistent worker training practices across the industry. Although Compa said OSHA might have guidelines about how to train employees, he said the agency has no legal requirements for how training should be handled.

“Some plants provide a good deal of training, others provide much less training,” Leibler said, adding that workers may not be adequately trained on how to use protective equipment, like goggles, gloves and arm shields.

Language barriers pose an additional challenge to proper training. In two plants investigated by the GAO in its 2016 report, workers spoke at least 20 different languages.

“There can be workers from countries all over the world, and they need training in the language that they speak,” Leibler said. “Sometimes that’s provided, sometime’s that’s not provided.”

At Tyson’s Sedalia plant, Menjivar said new hires spend a week watching videos about workplace safety. After about half a week, the worker will be assigned a “buddy” in their department to shadow for half a day, before watching more videos and completing some paperwork. After another day of shadowing, employees start working on the following Monday.

“It’s pretty easy,” Menjivar said, adding she felt prepared to start working after completing Tyson’s training.

“New team members receive awareness-level training regarding the health and safety hazards and procedures applicable to most jobs and work areas in their facility,” Burleson said, adding that the company has hired more than 260 trainers and 30 training coordinators since 2015.

Menjivar said that last year, the Sedalia plant went 12 months without an injury. Tyson did not confirm if this was true.

Severe workplace injuries — “crushed fingers or hands, amputations, burns or blindness” — can result from moving machine parts that workers use, according to a 2016 GAO report. The report mentioned one meat and poultry worker who lost most use of her arm after her apron “caught in a machine, which pulled her arm in before the machine could be turned off.”

“Almost two-thirds of cutters (62%) and over half of all deboners (53%) and hangers (52%) reported being injured on the job,” says a report by the Northwest Arkansas Workers Justice Center examining working conditions in that state’s poultry processing plants, where Tyson is based.

When Menjivar started working at Tyson, she said she worked in the evisceration department at a job where she cut the legs off chickens that were green or bloody. She said there were three different injuries in the evisceration department while she was there.

Menjivar said the work had an adverse effect on her hands: when she lifted up her hand, it trembled visibly.

“My hands kind of shake because I wasn’t used to doing the same motion over and working with a knife for long periods of time,” Menjivar said, adding that the shakes have abated since she adjusted to her tasks.

Even though workers are plagued by injuries — sometimes chronic ones like shoulder, neck, and back pain from the repetitive motions — employees are oftentimes motivated to continue working, Leibler said.

“They need their income,” Leibler said. “They’re supporting families, they’re supporting extended family, spouses, children. They want to keep working.”

The GAO also raised concerns about workers’ access to bathrooms during their shifts in a 2017 report. Denial of timely bathroom breaks can cause hemorrhoids, urinary tract infections, constipation and abdominal pain.

According to the report, one meat and poultry industry representative said “some supervisors in meat and poultry plants deny bathroom access to maximize production output.”

Cindy Brown Barnes, director of education, workforce and income security issues for the GAO, said the GAO recommended that OSHA investigate bathroom access. She said OSHA could not commit to asking workers about bathroom access at each inspection due to a lack of resources.

At Tyson, Burleson said team members can leave the line to use the restroom when needed, adding that some plants allow workers one 30-minute unpaid break or more per eight-hour shift, while others have two breaks of more than 20 minutes.

“Somebody will come take your spot, and you can go to the bathroom, get a drink,” said Menjivar. “And those are like, 10-minute breaks.”


'As fast as the human body can withstand — and even faster'

Many worker injuries can be traced to the “line,” the conveyor belt that zooms birds from station to station, taking them from live chickens to cut-up pieces ready for “packout” and shipment. Tyson’s Sedalia plant kills around 200,000 birds per day, according to Menjivar. Tyson would not confirm this number.

Critics have called the fast pace of these lines one of the more dangerous parts of working in poultry processing.

Menjivar said the Sedalia line moves at a quick 148 birds per minute. Burleson did not confirm the speed at which Tyson operates its lines.

The United States Department of Agriculture is the agency responsible for regulating line speeds and currently caps the maximum number of birds a plant can process at 140 per minute. Processors can apply for waivers that allow for a speed of up to 175 birds per minute.

“I think the line speed is quite fast, in my view,” said Leibler. “Too fast for a human worker to do the task that they need to do and keep up.” 

On the line, repetitive, high-speed movements can combine with awkward body positioning and cold environments to put workers at risk of developing a musculoskeletal disorder and injury, according to a 2016 GAO report.

The only solution to the problem is for a worker to change tasks, according to Satterwhite, who has seen workers in her congregation suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome. But she said it’s difficult for a worker to do so once they have been trained.

“It's not easy because they like those trained workers.” Satterwhite said. “Once someone is trained on the job, the company is not real anxious to change their job title.”

The USDA regulates line speeds based on food safety, not worker safety. OSHA regulates worker safety, but it does not have regulations on line speeds.

Maria Machuca, public affairs specialist for the Food Safety and Inspection Services, a subsidiary of the USDA that is primarily focused on preventing foodborne illness, said in an email that historically “line speeds were based on old work metrics that calculated the time and distance required for an inspector to walk between inspection stations” to check chicken carcasses. She added that modern verification tests have also been added to test for pathogens.

Burleson said Tyson’s policy and practices “encourage plant team members to stop the line at any time for worker or food safety issues.”

Line speeds have drawn the attention of activists and workers rights’ groups.

“There has been legislative efforts in the last few years to slow down the line speed, which have not been successful,” Leibler said.

Despite several groups petitioning in 2013 for OSHA to create a workers safety standard relating to animals processed per minute, the agency declined, citing insufficient resources.

“It would be hard to get as specific as line speed,” Compa said, adding that OSHA has never set speed standards because its regulations, applied broadly, affect more industries than just poultry.

This lack of regulation benefits companies’ bottom lines, Compa said.

“Getting the chicken out the door and getting as many chickens as you can in an eight-hour shift is the be-all, end-all of the operation,” Compa said. “That’s what companies want to do. The line can go as fast as the human body can withstand — and even faster than the human body can withstand.”

Satterwhite said she has heard that working conditions in Tyson have improved, mirroring the decline in reported injuries in past years.

But Compa said the industry remains focused on profits, not people.

“They'd rather maintain the fiction that they have really healthy and safe workplaces,” Compa said.

[Published on SABEW]How to increase credit scores as an international student

Most international students have this problem – how to build credit in the United States when they are starting from zero?

It was once a problem to me when I first came to the U.S. But luckily, I found an efficient way to increase credit scores within one year.

The three credit agencies, TransUnion, Equifax and Experian begin to calculate a score when you receive a US Social Security Number (SSN). However, many international students, especially those with F-1 visa, could not gain their SSN until they have an on-campus job.

If you have planned for a job, it would be great for you to start your credit journey by applying for basic credit cards with low credit line and very limited benefits. For example, you may apply for credit cards issued by local banks which may have 1% to 2% cashback; or you may apply for Bank of America’s Cash Rewards credit card. Usually, these credit cards are friendly to international students. You may want to check out the Capital One Newcomers Card —  it’s designed specifically for immigrants, and .offers 1% cash back, has no annual fee, and doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees.

Another option is a secured card, which means that you tie it to a savings account (as collateral). Secured cards are designed to build credit.

For those who haven’t planned for a job, it would be also helpful to apply for basic credit cards. Such credit cards are also open to international students without any credit score, and help international students earn credits inside the bank system. Although you are not earning credits in the official credit system, you would find it useful once you receive your SSN and start your credit journey.

The next step is to pay monthly on time and in full, which is really helpful to earn credit scores and build credit history in the long term. And starting from the first credit card, you could apply for other advance credit cards with more benefits in the future.

Finally, you may ask: How would I know my current credit scores? You could check your credit score once in a year for free Therefore, the best way to keep an eye on your credit would be using apps or websites, like Credit Sesame or Credit Karma.

[Published on SABEW] Troubled in managing your financial accounts? These mobile apps may help.

An international student may have many accounts. I’ve found it difficult to manage my accounts as well as credit cards. Using an app on your smartphone or tablet is one way to put everything in one place.

I found these which might be helpful:

1. Clarity Money: I started using this app three months ago when my favorite financial management app “Prosper Daily” was disconnected. It supports many banks in the U.S. and provides different features, including overview of all accounts, spending and saving analysis, free transaction between different bank accounts and etc. The app uses card-design layout, which is clear to present each single piece of information. You may choose to keep the features you like on the main page and discard other features. Also, it provides evaluation of your credit scores as well as notifies you to make payments to credit cards. If you would like to explore how you spend your money, “Clarity Money” is one of the best apps you could use.

2. Penny: I found this app interesting because of its style of presenting information. Just like texting with a friend, the app uses texting-style (dialogues) to inform you the financial situation. For example, if you would like to know your spending breakdown by category, you could type “breakdown by category” in the text box, then the app would text you back with the graphic of the information. In addition, each spending would fall into a category automatically, which would be easier for you to review you spending weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly. If you are interested in a fun financial management app, “Penny” would be your go-to choice.

3. Truebill: This app is a little different from the other two. In addition to features of keeping an eye on spending and account activity, it also manages bills and subscription services such as Netflix, Spotify and even Microsoft office. For example, I’m a subscriber to The New York Times, Netflix and Spotify at the same time but always forget when my subscriptions end. Therefore, I could add my accounts of these platforms to this app which would remind of the payment due day and related information. Another helpful feature of the app is that it would detect unwanted charges, such as a late fee, and help you request a refund in only one click instead of making you write long emails to the business. If you would like to save your time on financial management, “Truebill” could be a good option.