13 min Read
14 Nov 2019

Written by Lauren

Chip app Review – is it the best way to save?

Chip app review

Chip is an automatic savings app founded in 2016 by Nick Ustinov and Simon Rabin. It is designed to help make saving money as easy as spending money. Over 150,000 people currently use Chip to save and there is a ChipMunk community page on Facebook where users can share their ideas for the app's improvement.

What is Chip and how does it work?

Chip is an app that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to calculate an affordable amount that can be saved automatically without affecting your usual day-to-day spending habits. Chip works by connecting to your bank account via Open Banking.

High Street banks that can be fully connected with Chip

  • Barclays
  • Co-operative Bank
  • First Direct
  • Halifax
  • HSBC
  • Lloyds
  • Metro Bank
  • Nationwide
  • NatWest
  • RBS
  • Santander
  • TSB

Additionally, Chip can connect with app-only banks such as Monzo, Starling, Revolut and N26 however, there are limitations. Chip advises you are unable to 'fully' connect to challenger 'app-only' banks meaning you have to connect by using your bank card. Chip says that they are working on a fix that will allow users to 'fully connect'.

How to connect to Chip

If you connect to Chip with a high street bank account you will be connected via Open Banking (you need to be using online banking to do this). With Open Banking you log in to your bank and authorise Chip to access your account on your behalf in order to analyse your spending. If you connect using an app-only bank you connect to Chip by taking a photograph of your bank card. You are then required to enter a few details such as name, address and DOB for an ID check to prevent fraud and you are signed up and ready to go.

Connecting to Chip via Open Banking allows you to take full advantage of Chip's auto-saves feature, which is unavailable for those who connect their account manually.

Currently you can only connect one bank account to Chip however Chip says it is working to change this in the future. If you need to change your bank account you can do this by contacting someone through LiveChat via the Chip app. Chip will close down your current bank connection and will need to refund any money in your Chip account in order to satisfy money laundering regulations.

How does Chip analyse my spending?

Chip analyses your spending by looking at your spending history. It does this by checking your transaction data that it has access to via Open Banking.

If you are unable to connect via Open Banking and instead have to manually connect, Chip generates a suggested autosave amount via analysis collected from transaction data from its current users.

Chip autosaves money into your Chip account every 4 days. Chip may decide on some occasions that there is not enough money in your account and so in this instance, the autosave may not go ahead. There is an overdraft feature with Chip that allows you to continue to contribute to your savings pot even if your current account is in the red, however Chip will remind you that you are liable for any overdraft charges. Saving while in your overdraft can be turned on and off at any time. (Overdraft saving is only available with accounts that are 'fully connected' to Chip with Open Banking).

Chip advises it is important to keep the app up to date to avoid any issues with autosaving. You are able to adjust the savings level in your Chip account settings, and you can also turn off auto-saving at any given point. If you would like to manually deposit money into your Chip account, you can do so by clicking on 'save' and then selecting amount (up to a maximum of £100) You are limited to 6 manual saves per month.

Where is your money stored with Chip?

Chip automatically saves your money into a separate account within the banking app. Customers' money is currently saved in a Barclays ring-fenced account and is stored as e-money. You can have up to three savings goals with Chip (Chip recommends setting up short, medium and long term savings goals) and you can allocate a percentage of your autosave to go to each goal. This, however, is entirely up to you as the saver and you can save as much as you like to each goal or just one goal.

Can I earn interest on my savings?

No.

Chip currently stores the money saved as e-money which means it is unable to offer interest rates to its customers as it isn't an official savings account. Prior to 30th June 2019 Chip offered bonus rates to customers that referred a friend but this has now been phased out. Chip is hoping to migrate to an FSCS protected account that can offer interest rates in the near future.

Chip features

  • Automatic saving - Chip uses AI to save automatically
  • Spending analysis - By analysing your spending Chip can save amounts automatically
  • Set savings goals - track how well you are doing towards achieving your goals
  • Easily withdraw your money - (Same day if requested before 5pm or next working day if requested after 5pm or on a weekend)

Is Chip safe to use?

Chip is not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) however it is an appointed representative of the e-money firm Prepaid Financial Services (PFS) Ltd, which is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Chip says that PFS store your money in a ring-fenced Barclays account which therefore means it is not used for any trading activities.

Chip also boasts 128-bit encryption software to ensure your data is safe.

How much does Chip cost?

Chip is currently completely free to use and download from the Apple and Google Play stores.

Chip Reviews

Chip currently has 3.9 out of 5.0 stars on Trustpilot from just over 100 customer reviews. 60% of those have rated the app as 'Excellent' saying it is 'a really easy and effortless way of saving money'. Customers also say that they have 'saved far more money than I ever would normally'.

Those who have rated the Chip app as 'Bad' have commented on issues when it comes to withdrawing the funds. There are numerous reviews mentioning technical problems when it came to withdrawing the money they had saved with Chip, with some users waiting up to 5 days for their money. However, the majority of reviews are later updated to say that the issue was resolved promptly and upon complaint was dealt with efficiently.

Alternatives to Chip

There are various alternatives to the savings app Chip and we summarise a few of those below. For more information on savings apps available in the UK at the moment visit our article, 'The best savings apps in the UK'.

Chip vs Plum

Plum is another app that uses AI to track users spending habits and like Chip, it can be downloaded as an app but it can also be used via Facebook messenger. Plum allows you to adjust your automatic saving amount depending on your saving 'mood' which isn't something that Chip currently offers.

Both Chip and Plum are appointed representatives of an FCA registered company but neither are covered by the FSCS themselves. You cannot earn interest on your savings with both Chip and Plum so it is worth considering whether you would be better off opening a dedicated savings account. Check out our savings 'best buy' tables for the best savings accounts.

Chip vs Moneybox

Moneybox is another app that helps you to automatically save your money, however it goes one step further in that it invests the money it saves for you. Moneybox rounds up your spare change when spending and invests it automatically on your behalf. This comes at a cost however as Moneybox charges a monthly fee of £1 as well as additional investing costs such as platform. Chip is currently free to download and save.

In comparison to Chip, Moneybox is FCA registered and protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).

Chip vs App-only Banks

A lot of the app-only banks on the market such as Monzo and Starling offer solutions to help you save (similar to Chip), such as savings goals and automatic saving. Monzo and Starling Bank also offer a round-up feature that saves your spare change which you can set aside into dedicated savings pots.

Monzo and Starling are banks and are therefore registered and regulated by the FCA. They also offer protection on up to £85,000 of your money under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

Conclusion

Pros of Chip

  • Easy to set up
  • Auto-saving
  • Analyses spending
  • Set savings goals

Cons of Chip

  • No FCA and FSCS protection
  • Cannot set up standing orders to save
  • Currently only allows 'restricted access' if banking with an app-only bank
  • Can take up to 48 hours for the money withdrawn to clear
  • Can currently only connect one bank account to Chip
  • £10,000 saving limit

Overall, Chip offers an automated solution and can be good for those that struggle with saving. You should consider whether it is something that works for you in the long term as you will be missing out on the opportunity to earn interest on your savings. Chip can be good for short term savings goals such as a new coat or towards a holiday but savings accounts and ISAs may be better for larger savings goals such as a house deposit.

For the best savings account and Lifetime ISA deals at the moment go to the following links:

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