2019 was a big year for money management apps, with startups appearing left, right and centre, providing new ways to manage your money via your smartphone. With this new wave of banking technology and the ability to save without even realising, it can be a little overwhelming when trying to decide which app is worth using and if any are as good as they say they are. We at Money to the Masses have reviewed most of the new fintech apps and have put together this handy guide to help you decide which one is for you.
This article is split into two sections:
Money apps to use alongside your bank account
The best budgeting apps in the UK
This section features the best budgeting apps in the UK in 2020. These apps help you to manage your money effectively and become aware of your spending habits. They are good at guiding you towards your savings goals by helping you to cut down on unnecessary spending.
A table summarising the best budgeting apps in the UK
|Budgeting app||Free||FCA authorised||Categorised spending||Savings goals||Link multiple accounts||Great for...|
|Emma||Finding wasteful subscriptions|
|Yolt||Viewing all of your accounts in one place|
|Money Dashboard||Budgeting for future goals|
If you would like to read an in-depth analysis of each app you can click on the app name in the table to be taken to our review of the budgeting apps.
We also summarise the apps in the following article: 'The best budgeting apps in the UK: How to budget without trying'
The best savings apps in the UK
This section takes a look at apps that work alongside your current bank account to help you grow your savings. These apps use AI (Artificial Intelligence) to analyse your spending and automatically save a 'safe' amount into a separate savings account for you. These apps are good if you are not very disciplined at putting money aside and find it hard to save.
A table summarising the best savings apps in the UK
|Free||Automatic saving||Savings goals||Withdraw same day||App||Facebook messenger||Interest||FSCS protection||Where is my money kept?||Great for...|
|Plum||Stored as e-money with MangoPay||Great for large savings targets|
|Tandem||Tandem bank account||Great for saving spare change|
|Chip||Stored as e-money with PFS (currently ringfenced in a Barclays account)||Great for automatic saving|
|Cleo||Ringfenced with Barclays by emoney provider MangoPay||Great for making saving fun|
|Squirrel||In an e-money squirrel account||Great to stop overspending|
If you would like to read an in-depth analysis of each app you can click on the app name in the table to be taken to our review (we have not yet reviewed Squirrel so the link will direct you to its website for more information).
We also summarise the apps in the following article: 'The best savings apps in the UK: how to build a savings pot using your smartphone'
The best investing apps in the UK
This section takes a look at apps that allow you to invest straight from an app on your smartphone. All of the apps listed below are free for you to download onto your mobile phone however you will be charged additional fees to invest. We go into more detail on these in the table below.
Tables summarising the best investing apps in the UK
Specialist apps (not an investment platform in its own right)
|Monthly fees||£1||Free up to £1,000
£1 a month over £1,000
|FCA registered||Appointed representative||Appointed representative|
|Charges||0.15% fee on investment value
Fund fees that vary from 0.22% - 0.9%
|0.07-0.7% fund provider fees
0.45% annual fund management fee for accounts over £1000
|Annual charge of 0.45% of investment value
Additional fund management charges 0.12% - 0.3%
|Investment account types||Stocks & Shares ISA||Investment savings account
General investment account
|Stocks & Shares ISA
Stocks & Shares Lifetime ISA
General Investment Account
|Extras||Invest in tech, ethical companies and emerging markets||Tailor your investment portfolio based on your lifestyle and interests||Invest your spare change using the 'round-up' function|
|Great for...||beginners||small investments||investing spare change|
Investment platforms (where you can invest via their app)
|Monthly fees||No set-up, trading, transaction or exit fees||n/a||n/a||No setup fees and no trading fees||No fees for basic investing accounts
£3/month for S&S ISA
|Minimum investment||£500 (£100 on a S&S Lifetime ISA)||no minimum investment||no minimum investment||£5,000 (or £1,500 and £100 monthly)||No minimum deposit|
|Charges||Account management fee ranging from 0.45%-0.75% depending on portfolio type
Investment fund fees
|Annual fee of 0.4%-0.7%
Fund charges (an average of 0.22%
Transaction costs (an average of 0.7%)
|Annual fees from 0.5%-0.7%
Average fund fee of 0.18%
|Management fee between 0.35% - 0.75%
Fund fee 0.2%
Transaction costs up to 0.09%
|FX rate of spot (immediate) rate + 0.45%|
|Investment account types||Invest in a Stocks & Shares ISA, Stocks & Shares Lifetime ISA, Pension, General Investment Account||General investment account
Stocks & Shares ISA
Stocks & Shares ISA
Junior Stocks & Shares ISA
Stocks & Shares ISA
General Investment Account
|Basic investment account
|Extras||Choose between three investment styles, 'socially responsible', 'fixed allocation' or 'fully managed'||Set investment goals||3 different accounts with different prices and benefits based on investment amounts - 'Basic', 'Black' and 'Generation'||Receive an investor profile tailored to you based on your investment knowledge, wealth and attitude to risk||Refer a friend within the app and you both get a free share worth up to £200|
|Great for...||an exclusive offer of no management fees for 12 months*||competitive charges||good for low cost (First £10,000 managed for free for a year)*||tailored investing||a free share|
*find out more about the exclusive offers in the Nutmeg and Wealthsimple review
If you would like to read an in-depth analysis of each app, as well as its fees and charges, click on the app name in the table to be taken to our review. (We have not yet reviewed Freetrade or Wombat so the link will direct you to the app websites for more information).
We also summarise the apps in the following article: 'The best investing apps in the UK: how to invest from your mobile'
Money apps to use as a bank account
The following section summarises the best app-only banks in the market. In order to make the most of the app's benefits you should have your salary paid into the app-only bank as this allows you to use the categorisation and budgeting features to their full potential.
If you are not yet fully convinced, there is nothing stopping you opening an account and simply using it as a spending account alongside your main account, as you can still take advantage of the other features such as fee-free spending when abroad. In all cases, it is best to research and check the security of the app before opening any account as not all of the apps listed below are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).
|App only banks||Atom||Bo||Monzo||Monese||N26*||Revolut||Starling Bank|
Bo is part of NatWest
|Fee free spending abroad|
|Round up saving|
|Great for...||savings, loans and mortgages||spending less||budgeting||overseas students/non-UK residents||travelling/business travel||holidays||overdrafts/loans|
*N26 has stopped offering UK bank accounts and all UK account will close from 15th April 2020, you can read more here **As the bank has a European banking license your money is protected under the German deposit protection scheme for up to €100,000
If you would like to read an in-depth analysis of each app-only bank you can click on the app name in the table to be taken to the relevant review. (We have not yet reviewed Atom so the link will direct you to the app websites for more information.)
We also summarise the apps in the following article: 'The best app only bank in the UK'
Looking for a financial adviser near you?
Do you need financial advice? An independent financial adviser can show you how to make the most
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Alternatively, Hargreaves Lansdown, one of the UK’s largest firms providing restricted financial advice, is offering a £200 John Lewis voucher* to new clients.