Find out how Plum, Chip, and Emma, along with other innovative apps that employ open banking, can assist you in better managing your finances and accumulating savings.
What exactly does open banking mean?
Open banking is a movement that was initiated in January 2018 with the purpose of fostering innovation in the financial services sector.
The nine largest current account providers (Allied Irish Bank, Bank of Ireland, Barclays, Danske, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group, Nationwide, RBS Group, and Santander) have been ordered to unlock client data by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).
By connecting to feeds that are known as Application Programming Interfaces, or APIs, these banks are now in a position to securely share your information with third parties; however, this can only be done with your agreement.
How can you better manage your finances with open banking?
Third parties that have access to your data can make use of that data in a broad variety of ways to assist you in more successfully managing your finances. From having an all-encompassing view of all of your accounts in one convenient location to formulating methods to sock away additional funds in a way that doesn’t disrupt your typical spending patterns, there are many benefits to digital financial management.
According to a survey that was conducted by Which? in February of 2021, only one in ten of its members use a finance app that is not provided by their own bank. This is in contrast to the fact that open banking is already used by more than three million people.
When we asked those that were interested in utilising finance apps, however, more than half of the respondents stated they would prefer an overview of all of their accounts, and around four in ten of the respondents said they would need help with budgeting.
Where to look for trustworthy open banking applications
There are approximately 296 third-party providers that are currently listed by the Open Banking Implementation Entity (OBIE), which is the body set up by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to set standards and guidelines for open banking. The Open Banking Implementation Entity (OBIE) was established in order to facilitate open banking.
The following are just a few tips that can assist you with your financial planning and savings objectives.
All of the applications that are presented on this page are governed by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), and they either have a place on the list of authorised providers that can be found on openbanking.org.uk or they gain access to open banking through a company that is presented here.
To get started, you’ll need a smartphone that can connect to either the Apple App Store or the Google Play store. One of these stores is required for you to get started. You can look up the name of the application that you are interested in testing, and then you can save it to your mobile device. Make sure that it has the same appearance as the pictures and movies that are presented below.
To begin using the application, you will be required to supply some personal information. The specifics of this requirement can change, but in most cases, you will be asked for your name, mobile number, and email address. After that, you will be prompted to set some security details such as a password and a Pin. After that, you will be prompted to choose which of your accounts you wish to link, and you will also be required to provide the necessary login details for these accounts.
Chip users pay nothing, but ChipX members pay £3 every 28 days.
Chip’s primary function is to assist you in making more financial savings. Through the connecting of your bank account, it examines your expenditure to determine how much you are able to put away for savings without having an impact on the things you need to buy.
It will automatically send the funds it believes you can spare into a separate savings account supplied by Allica Bank, where your money can pile up over time – despite the fact that it is easy to change or cancel the recommended savings whenever you wish.
You may keep yourself motivated to save by setting savings goals, designating a specific amount to be saved each pay period, and keeping track of your “save streaks.”
In addition to this, Chip provides investment opportunities, some of which are only available to members of ChipX.
Negative aspects: Starting today, anyone who has more than 0 pounds in an old Chip e-wallet will be assessed a fee of 10 pounds per 28 days until they transfer the remaining balance to an Allica Bank account or another bank account of their choosing.
Cost is free for the basic Emma model, £41.99 per year for the Emma Plus model, and £83.99 per year for the Emma Pro model.
Key features: Emma is another software that connects to bank accounts and other financial products and analyses the information to provide ideas on wasted subscriptions that you may cancel in an effort to reduce your spending and make the most of the money you already have.
When you make a purchase, you have the option of taking advantage of the in-app cashback offers as well as partner retail discounts with companies such as Beer52, Fiit, and Pact Coffee.
Both Emma Plus and Emma Pro come with additional functionality. Bill reminders and a feature called “true balance” that displays how much money you actually have left over to spend each month are included in the Emma Plus package. If your personal information has been accessed as part of a data breach, you will be notified by the fraud detection feature that comes with the Emma Plus package.
Emma Pro features include the option to update balances for unlinked accounts, such as a savings account that you make frequent transactions to, the ability to track your net worth, and the ability to receive double cashback benefits. Other features include the ability to track your net worth.
Cons: If you decide to go with one of the paid versions of Emma, you should ensure that you will make sufficient use of the capabilities to warrant the additional cost.
Money Tracking Software
Key features: If you’d rather evaluate your finances on your personal computer, you’ll be happy to know that Money Dashboard is also accessible as a web app, in addition to the typical selection of applications for mobile phones.
It has connections to more than 90 banks and other financial institutions in the UK, so it may offer you with an overall view of your money. This, in turn, can assist you in making budgets for the various types of spending you do.
It is also able to take into consideration all of your scheduled bills and regular payments, which will allow you to determine how much money you will have left over to spend. You will also be able to see exactly where your money is going when you make purchases because they will be broken down into spending categories along with the information about the vendor.
Con: It does require a certain amount of effort from you to decide how you want your budgeting to work, which is fine if you’re fairly interested in your finances and like to keep control over them. On the other hand, if you’re not very interested in your finances and just like to keep control over them, this may not be the best option for you.
Plum’s basic plan is free, while the Plus plan costs one pound per month, the Pro plan costs two and a half dollars per month, and the Ultra plan costs four and a half pounds per month.
Plum’s app includes an artificial intelligence assistant that monitors your spending activity in linked accounts and determines how much money you might potentially save on a daily and weekly basis. These funds are being deposited into a savings account. You may monitor how much money you have left over until your next paycheck by having your expenditures broken down into various categories and having those tracked.
Your transactional data is also used to indicate what Plum refers to as ‘lost money,’ which is when it believes that you have been overcharged on bills that could be cheaper if you switched to a different provider.
Con: You need to pay for Plum Plus, Pro, or Ultra in order to earn a savings rate of 0.4 percent AER; the savings account that comes with the free version of Plum pays 0.25 percent AER.
Price: Absolutely nothing, but if it ends up saving you a lot of money, you’ll be expected to “tip” Snoop.
Snoop tracks your regular bills and alerts you when they are greater than usual. It also sometimes recommends cheaper providers that you can switch to. Key features: Snoop gathers all of your accounts into an one location so that it can follow them all together.
In addition to that, it comes with functions such as an annual insurance checker that analyses the costs of various policies and a mobile monitor that searches for better mobile contract pricing.
Your transactional data is used to tell Snoop where you shop, which means that it may then propose voucher codes and cashback offers for your favourite shops or brands in order to make the most out of your spending.
Negative aspects include the possibility that you may not derive as much benefit from it if you are already an astute consumer who keeps an eye out for promotional opportunities such as cashback offers and discount coupons.
What you need to look into before giving someone access to your data
There are literally hundreds of apps on the market that claim to completely transform your financial situation, but it can be difficult to determine which ones are risk-free to use.
When you share your data with other parties, you expose yourself to a certain degree of danger. For example, if the worst case scenario occurs and the third party company is hacked, your data could be compromised. Before enabling your data to be shared with a third party, you should do a few checks, even if there are safeguards in place to make sure the information you provide is as safe as it can be.
1. Make sure you’re registered with the FCA.
You should be able to locate a company’s regulatory information on its website. This information should include the company’s trading name and FCA reference number, which is also referred to as a FRN. In most cases, you can locate this information by scrolling to the bottom of the company’s website.
Examine these details in light of the information contained on the FCA record. It is possible for a corporation to require a different authorization depending on the services that its app provides; however, in most cases, the authorization will be for “account information service providers” and/or “payment initiation service providers.”
2. Check openbanking.org.uk
If you wish to double check a particular app or service, you can visit openbanking.org.uk, where you will find a list of approved providers that you can browse through.
It is important to keep in mind that not all regulated applications will be included on this list because some apps access open banking through an additional licenced company. In the event that this is the case, the specifics should also be included on the company’s website along with any other regulatory information.
3. Check your data permissions
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) laws protect the information that you share through open banking. These laws state that your personal data can only be used for the specific purposes that you’ve approved, that it cannot be shared or stored indefinitely, and that you should be able to revoke your permission to use it at any time. These laws protect the information that you share through open banking.
It is in your best interest not to give an application or service permission to access your data if it does not come up when you run these searches or if it does not appear to be following these standards.