Five money management apps to help you take control of your finances

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Money management apps can be useful tools to help you take control of your finances. However, there are a myriad of fintech products available, meaning it can be overwhelming trying to work out what company to trust, particularly as some of them require personal information such as your bank account username and password.

Five money management apps

Here are five money management apps that are, where necessary, regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) and have been designed to help you with your finances. We’ve tried them all, but would also like to hear your thoughts if you’ve had experience using them. Please leave comments at the end of this post.

Investing App – MoneyBox

Investing App Moneybox rounds up your everyday purchases to the nearest pound and invests the change. You can also make weekly regular deposits and one-off donations to your account and can start investing with £1.

Available via the App Store and Google Play, you can choose whether your investments are held in a Stocks & Shares ISA or a General Investment Account and the level of risk you want to take: cautious, balanced or adventurous. The option you choose determines how your savings are split between three tracker funds and a property shares fund.

You will be asked to create an account (name, email, password, telephone number and date of birth), a memorable pin and to enter the same information that you would use to log in to your own bank account online (i.e. username or ID number, passcode and memorable word). You will also need to provide your account details including account holder name, account number and sort code.

SAVVY TIP: Be careful to check your own banks’ terms and conditions in regards to the use of third party providers as some won’t offer protection if the third party account is hacked. We contacted some of the main high street banks to find out what their policies are and here are their replies (we will update this article when we get more replies):

Lloyds: “We have a general security requirement for people to keep their security details and passwords private. This includes not giving out security details to third parties. This is not acceptable in line with our T&Cs.”

HSBC: “We are currently reviewing our Terms and Conditions to take into account developments in Open Banking and APIs which will include the use of trusted third party providers.”

Fees: Monthly subscription fee of £1 and annual platform fee of 0.45% of the value of your investments per year. They don’t charge a subscription fee for the first three months and you can withdraw your money free at any time.

Moneybox is regulated by the FCA and your investments are covered by the FSCS up to a limit of £50,000. They use high level encryption for all your personal information.

App store rating: 4.2 out of 5

Trust Pilot rating: 4 out of 5

Pension App – PensionBee

PensionBee is designed to combine all your old pensions into one new online plan. It’s not technically an App yet, but the site is fully optimised for mobile phones so you should be able to access and manage your pension from whatever smartphone you use.

Once you have created an account (you will need your National Insurance number for this) you choose your plan, which is either a Tracker (managed by State Street), Match or Tailored (both managed by BlackRock). You then give PensionBee information about your old pensions for them to combine into one new online pension.

PensionBee is authorised and regulated by the FCA and your pension is protected by the FSCS for 100% of the value. They do not manage money or provide financial advice, but provide a platform for the world’s largest investment managers who would continue to invest your pension if they ceased to exist.

SAVVY TIP: If you refer a friend they will put £50 in your pension and £50 in your friend’s pension too. There’s no limit to the number of friends you can refer and the number of rewards you can receive.

They use high level of encryption to ensure that only people authorised to view your personal information can do so.

Fees: They have annual management fees of between 0.5% and 0.7% depending what plan you choose. There are no fees to transfer old plans or set up an account and no exit charges.

Trust Pilot rating: 9.2 out of 10

Money Management App – Money Dashboard

Budget planner Money Dashboard is designed to help you save money, budget more effectively and make ‘better financial decisions’. You can use it to keep track of your spending across your current, credit card and saving accounts no matter who you bank with.

They categorise your spending by displaying all your incomings and outgoings, such as groceries, household bills, appearance (!) etc., on their dashboard charts.

Once you have created an account, you will be asked to add your bank account/s details, these include the username, password and security information you would use to log into your own online bank.

It is a read only app meaning that no money can be moved in or out of any of your accounts. It is authorised and regulated by the FCA.

SAVVY TIP: It’s worth noting that they had mixed reviews since an upgrade over the summer, however they were awarded Best Personal Finance App at the British Bank Awards 2017 and are widely acknowledged in the press. When we downloaded and used the App, it didn’t appear to have any glitches.

SAVVY TIP: Be careful to check your own banks’ terms and conditions in regards to the use of third party providers. Some won’t offer protection if the third party account is hacked.

Fees: free to download. They make money by providing consumer behaviour insight and market research to companies, though they say they will never share any personally identifiable data with a third party without your express permission.

Available on Web, App Store and Google Play.

App store rating: 3.8 out of 5

Trust Pilot rating: 3 out of 5

Saving App – Savings Goals

If you are trying to save for something like a new car, a house deposit or a holiday, the Savings Goals app may be able to help.

It’s simple to use in that you enter a target amount and an optional target date by which you want to save this amount and the app suggests a savings schedule and tracks your progress. You get three free goals but you will need to pay an extra 99p if you want more and another 99p if you don’t want adds popping up.

It’s pretty safe to use as you don’t add in any bank details or put any money into it, you are just tracking you finances.

Fees: £3.99, only available from the App Store.

App store rating: 4.2 out of 5

Travel Money App – Travelex Money

The Travelex Money App is mainly for users of a prepaid Travelex Money Card. You sync your card to the app to check your balance and reload foreign currency easily.

However, if you don’t have a card, you can still use its currency converter tool and see how much other travellers have spent on average on trips to your destination, so you can decide how much money to take with you. You can also order money through the app and have it delivered to your home or Travelex store at the airport.

Available on the App Store and Google Play.

Fees: free

App store rating: 4 out of 5

Related articles:

Mobile banking – how to bank safely

Paying using your mobile phone

5 steps to take if you’re a victim of ID theft or ID fraud

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