When Open Banking was introduced back in January 2018, it was meant to herald a mushrooming of convenient personal finance that would make it much easier for people to handle money and to be in better control of their household budgets. The take-up of apps using Open Banking have been slow with only 9% of people currently taking advantage of them (source: Independent).
Take-up from finance businesses has not been particularly quick either, say, who recently reported that there are a hundred providers out there right now with only 17 third-party providers actually providing a service.
It’s great that these apps are, however, growing in popularity, albeit slowly. If you need, for example, to take out an unsecured loan, these apps will tell you how much money to the penny you have to spare every month so you can check to see that the unsecured loan is affordable. The same functionality is available on the apps for borrowers applying for unsecured loans for bad credit applicants.
What are the best apps out there at the moment for budget-conscious, money-savvy Brits? The Loan Princess team investigates.
Owned by the Dutch bank, ING, and licensed by the Financial Conduct Authority, Yolt is free and, with it, you can view your credit cards, savings accounts, and current accounts all in one place. You can use Yolt to handle your subscriptions and bills and, through it, you can compare any deal you currently have with suppliers against other ones in the market.
Of particular use to Loan Princess customers is the ability to dig deeply into your spending habits so that you can see what your biggest expenses are. Yolt is available on Android, Apple, and via standard desktop and laptop websites.
MoneyHub charges its users 99p a month or £9.99 a year for Android users (Apple customers pay £14.99).
As with Yolt, you can attach your savings accounts, bank accounts, borrowings, and credit card accounts to the platform. One big differentiation is that you can also add your investment funds to its dashboard too.
You can set spending goals on MoneyHub and the clever but easy-to-use in-built software allows you to check to see that your actual spending is helping you towards those spending goals. It keeps track on your spending on the standard outgoing bills you must pay – including insurance – and will send you an alert if it finds a better deal for you.
It also displays your net worth and it keeps track on spending a month on month to let you know how you’re doing compared to this time four weeks ago with that spending. You can also contact a financial advisor for help and support as part of the subscription.
Available for Android, iOS, and via standard desktop and laptop browsers.
Scoring a very high rating among its users, it consolidates information from many different sources into one place so that you have a real understanding of where money is coming from and where it’s going to. Money Dashboard allows you to review your spending over the last six months using intuitive graphics and charts to identify real savings. How much would you save, for example, by doing your own packed lunch and Thermal of coffee and taking them into work than by gracing the doors of Costa and Greggs every day?
It has received rave reviews from the Independent, the BBC, the Daily Mail, and the Times. Perhaps the only real downside of Money Dashboard is that it doesn’t allow you to move money between accounts or to pay for bills.
Over 60 companies now support the Money Dashboard app including the big names you’d expect. There is no charge for the app and it’s available on Android, Apple, and via standard desktop and laptop websites.
Squirrel markets itself as the app for the person who has trouble saving. Using it, you set yourself a weekly allowance and it recommends an amount of money to hold back from your wages. It does so by clearly demarcating your spending money from the money you use to pay for bills – by doing it this way, it’s easier to budget successfully and to be clear at all times about how you’re doing against your savings goals.
There is an 8-week free trial for Squirrel but, after that, the subscription charge is a surprisingly high £9.99 a month. Available for Android, Apple, and via standard desktop and laptop websites
How many of us have signed up to direct debits and standing orders during our lives and then completely forgotten about them? What’s worse is that, because we may not review our bank account daily, we miss these now unessential directs and standing orders meaning that we’re paying month after month for a product or service we longer use or want? I bet there’s a few million of us who are guilty of this!
Bean is there to put a stop to it. As with the other apps in the article, it sees your bank account once you’ve given the company permission. It will then keep constantly reviewing your account for subscriptions you’re paying for – “from overpriced bills to unused gym memberships, we’ll find where you could be saving”, says the app’s website.
It will alert you as to whether it thinks you can save money by switching to a different supplier, makes cancelling existing direct debits easier (they will even cancel a contract for you), and provides you with regular bulletins on how to make the most of your finances.
There is no charge to using Bean and the service is available for Android, Apple, and via standard desktop and laptop websites.
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