There is no denying that times are extremely tough currently for so many people. I see it in the daily messages I get from my readers and followers. Money is tight, millions are looking for ideas and simple ways to save extra money, access credit and ways to make extra cash.
People are looking for help and solutions to enable them to engage with their finances. They’re seeking easy ways to help them to understand their spending, how to save and how to have a better relationship with money. The great news is that money management apps and solutions are here to help you out.
Open Banking and Money Management Apps
Open banking has been in our finance lives since 2018 allowing you to access your banking information via trusted third party apps in a safe and secure way. You find an open banking-enabled app (I have some key apps to share with you in this article) that meets your requirements and as part of the set-up process, you will securely sync up your bank account to the app. You will then get app-based information based on your personal financial situation. It is incredibly powerful and very safe.
There are around 200 apps out there that use open banking information to provide customers with many different solutions. I personally have tried many of them. As a personal finance expert, I am often asked to review these apps and love to find apps that are easy to use, easy to set up and that provide me with a solution that saves me time and, potentially, money.
The Open Up 2020 Challenge
The Open Up 2020 Challenge commenced in 2019 and called for open banking enabled apps that solve common financial problems for you and I, real life customers with real life money concerns and needs. The entries were short-listed down and I am going to explain a bit about each of the apps and how they can help us with our personal finances. You can find out more detail from the Open Up 2020 website.
Some of these I have used on a regular basis, and have already written about for Mrs Mummypenny. Some are brand new to me. I am excited to see which ones you think will be useful to you in your financial journey, wherever you might be.
Apps to Help with Money Management Issues and Debt
I really like the sound of this app, particularly as a self-employed person with a very variable income. Portify is designed for modern life where income often fluctuates every month. Particularly for those on zero hours contracts, with multiple jobs or income streams or self-employed workers. The app learns income patterns and how you spend to help prevent you going into overdraft by offering a fee free credit line and helping to build up your credit score.
Tully is a great solution for those struggling financially. A digital debt adviser providing online budgeting, debt advice, flexible repayments and money coaching to alleviate financial stress. I love the concept of this app that offers a similar service to debt advice charities such as Step Change or CAP but entirely online.
Provides employees with access to their earned wages, instantly. The Wagestream app also offers a full suite of financial tools including savings and impartial financial education in conjunction with The Money Advice Service
I have researched and written about this app and have spoken to the founder about his aims for the business. Creditspring is a service where you pay a subscription fee to get access to interest free loans for short term credit. Really useful for people with no emergency savings for emergencies such as the washing machine breaking down, essential car repairs etc.
Updraft is aimed at millennials and is an alternative overdraft service that helps people with daily decision making, to reduce overdrafts and manage credit card borrowing while increasing savings.
General Money Management Apps
Cleo is an app which collates information from your accounts and credit cards and analyses your spending. It uses AI to guide its users on their expenditure and savings. Encouraging switching of providers to save and motivates you to reach your financial goals. It keeps the messaging light and entertaining.
Another app in the financial management arena, Moneyhub offers an overall view on all financial aspects of your life including bank accounts, mortgage, credit cards and investments. It analyses and categorises your spending to help you to understand where it might be higher than usual. With a forecasting tool to help you understand what your bank balance might be next year if your income & outgoings stay the same.
Auto-savings and Round Up Apps
This is an app I have been using personally for a few months now. Plum is an auto-save app that connects to your bank account and stashes away cash for you. It looks at your everyday spending and bank balance and moves money across to a secure pot. I just leave it to run and don’t even notice the money going. This is the perfect way to start saving without any effort from you. My balance is going to help pay for Christmas. It is also a brilliant place to start building up your emergency fund. The money is accessible within 24 hours if needed.
Another app that I am very familiar with and have also tried is Moneybox. This app connects to your main account and rounds up transactions to the nearest pound, moving the money into a range of investment products, such as a stocks and shares ISA. A great introduction to investing with small amount of money.
Sustainably is another round up app that connects to your bank account and uses the round up function to donate to charities. I love this solution for automated charitable giving if you can afford it.
A payment card that can be used abroad, Currensea connects to your existing bank account but offers a better and more competitive foreign currency exchange rates. Most mainstream bank accounts charge a foreign currency fee when you use it abroad, this card removes this issue and also means you do not need a separate prepaid holiday card (something that I have always had!). Also I love the clever name Currensea!
Mojo Mortgages – MortgageScore™
This is a great tool to help prepare you for a future house purchase with a mortgage. It connects to your bank account to produce affordability tools and savings recommendations to help people understand how to get the best mortgage rate. The Mojo Mortgages MortgageScore™ will combine credit score and open banking data to determine if a customer is ‘mortgage ready’. Once a customer’s score is calculated, a coaching feature will provide personalised advice on how they could improve their score. I love the sound of this app! I’ve just sent a link to my niece who is looking to buy a house in the future!
The rental market is a challenging market for so many people who cannot afford to get on the property ladder. Canopy offers RentPassport, a portable digital rental identity which helps renters improve their credit score. Also accessing a range of financial wellness products such as deposit free insurance.
Such a wonderful selection of apps using open banking technology to help us, as customers, to understand and gain more control over our money. I hope that you have seen a few that are worth downloading and start to use them. I will definitely be using them and look forward to more insights on my income and spending.
This is a collaborative post with the Open Up 2020 Challenge.