In this tutorial series, I’ll explain FinTech and challenger banks and show you the apps to use so that you can run your financial affairs from a smartphone.
Important: this tutorial does not constitute financial advice. As with all investing, your capital is at risk. Investment products may not be right for everyone and tax rules may change in the future.
Always do your own research to ensure any product is right for your particular circumstances. If you’re unsure, you must seek independent financial advice. Envato Tuts+ does not accept liability if things go wrong.
Loot is a smartphone app-based current account that enables you to keep track of spending in real time.
Loot, however, is not a bank. The current account has a physical MasterCard debit card with Wirecard being the payment processor. Loot does not have Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) Protection as it does not invest customers’ money. Instead it is ring-fenced and held separately.
Loot enables access via a web app and is available to customers in the United Kingdom.
MoneyBox, a Smartphone app, helps people to invest easily in stocks and shares, via an Individual Savings Account (ISA), by saving the change.
By linking MoneyBox to a current account, spending is analysed and the difference in round pounds is calculated and drawn off once a week to be invested. For example, £2.40 spending on a cup of coffee means £0.60 would be allocated to savings.
It is easy to keep track, in the app, of change saved each week. You can pause savings or you can add money to save.
Attitude to risk is calculated with some questions during the sign-up process. As with all investing, the value of your investments will rise and fall at times and you could get back less than you invested.
Money Dashboard is a smartphone app-based account aggregator that gives you a true view of your finances. It shows exactly where money goes across all of your online financial accounts.
On most accounts, transactions and balances are refreshed daily, so you're up to date with your current financial position at a glance. The information is displayed in a personal financial dashboard.
With MoneyDashboard you can make better financial decisions with the personal finance assistant and budget planner.
Moneyfarm was founded in March 2011 by Paolo Galvani, Chairman, and Giovanni Daprà. It provides independent investment advisory services to small savers through its website and smartphone app.
Moneyfarm's technology allows it to create a unique profile based on a customer’s investment target and their attitude to risk.
Founded by Tom Blomfield, co-founder of earlier FinTech startups GoCardless and Starling Bank, Monzo started out as Mondo with a prepaid MasterCard and associated smartphone app showing real-time transactions and favourable currency conversions overseas.
Monzo has an ambitious aim to be a financial hub for a billion customers and, having acquired its banking licence earlier in 2017, is in the process of deprecating the prepaid card in favour of a current account to be rolled out to around 440,000 customers in late-2017 and early-2018.
Monzo is looking to disrupt traditional banking with its app-based approach to banking.
N26 is a digital bank headquartered in Berlin, Germany, and offers smartphone and web-based banking.
The N26 bank account uses artificial intelligence to automatically categorise spending to provide customers with an easy to understand overview in the app.
Different account functionality is offered depending upon whether a monthly fee is paid. It is possible to lock the card, from the app in case of loss or theft, and monitor transactions in real time.
N26 is available in 17 countries across the Euro-zone with the exception of Cyprus and Malta. It is not currently available in United Kingdom but is rumoured to be coming soon.
Nutmeg is a savings and investments app for Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs), Lifetime Individual Savings Accounts (LISAs), pensions and general savings.
Nutmeg’s aim is to demystify investing by removing the high fees and technical jargon. It’s transparent with investments and fees and performance of investments can be monitored with the app.
A minimum investment of £500 and £100 per month is required and it’s available to customers in the United Kingdom.
OneDox links to your existing household utility accounts and draws in data from each new bill and displays that information visually for you. You’ll get a bar chart of past bill values, for example.
OneDox shows the account expiry date, analyses spending and proposes potential savings to be made by switching.
Bills are viewed in the OneDox account and the PDFs can be automagically downloaded to a DropBox or Google Drive folder each time a new bill is issued. This is done without any intervention necessary from the user.
OneDox emails periodic information as regards actions to be taken, such as renewals of car tax or switching to a better energy provider to save you money.
Oval Money is an app to keep track of your finances. Oval automatically tracks spending by linking to existing bank accounts and credit cards.
Oval Money can be used to set some money aside and start saving as little as £1 at the time. You can set different rules for saving or round-up purchases to save the difference.
As you make purchases, Oval intelligently applies one of its smart categories based on what was purchased and especially on why you purchased it.
Plum’s mission is to help people save money without them lifting a finger.
Plum is a software savings butler that monitors spending, in your bank accounts, to automatically set money aside. It is always available on Facebook Messenger.
Plum aims to make saving painless with a simple, stress-free savings experience.
Revolut launched to the public in July 2015 with the aim of "building a fair and frictionless platform to use and manage money around the world”.
The London-based startup was founded by Nikolay Storonsky and Vlad Yatsenko. It currently supports spending and ATM withdrawals in 120 currencies and sending in 26 currencies directly from its mobile app.
Revolut, a digital banking challenger, offers a pre-paid MasterCard debit card, currency exchange, and peer-to-peer payments. In February 2017, Revolut launched UK current accounts, with a personal IBAN.
Squirrel is a bank account in your name—controlled by an app—that makes it easy to budget your money and build healthy savings habits.
The app then keeps savings safe and pays out spending and bill money as it is required.
Bill money is kept safe, then paid out to your current account the day before your bills are due. Savings money gets kept safe inside your savings goals, where you see them grow towards completion. Spending money goes into your current account as normal.
No more overspending. No more overdraft. No more worries.
Headquartered in London Starling is looking to disrupt the incumbent financial systems and challenge traditional corporations. Since its founding, it has received significant funding, including $70m of investment in early 2016.
Starling Bank offers a full service bank account with a sort code and account number, which means you can pay people instantly with Faster Payments, use the globally accepted Contactless Mastercard debit card all over the world and set up direct debits and standing orders.
Starling is a 100% mobile only bank with everything you need to open a Starling Bank account on a mobile. After a few quick checks you you’ll be up and running within minutes of downloading the app.
Starling has announced that it will expand into Ireland and launch a business bank account in 2018.
The app, initially available for iOS and serving London only, offers big discounts at local places to eat and drink, all linked to the card you pay with and delivered each week in the form of cashback.
Tail founder and CEO Philipp Keller: “Using Tail, consumers can browse through a selection of curated offers, which are pre-linked to their bank card, eliminating the need for physical vouchers or coupon codes.”
“The offer feed is updated in real-time and location specific. Redemption happens in-app, allowing for a more discreet way of redeeming offers, and accumulated savings are distributed back to the user in the form of cash back paid out in regular intervals.”
Tandem, founded by Ricky Knox, Matt Cooper and Michael Kent in 2013, has a 'waitlist' and is not yet offering accounts to the general public.
When launched, Tandem plans to offer a app-based, full-service retail bank, with budgeting features built in, including alerts when bills increase or a payment comes in, advice on switching energy supplier and automatic advice on how much a customer can afford to spend in any given month.
Tandem does not yet have a banking license but is expected to have one when a proposed takeover of Harrods Bank is completed.
Tide is an alternative ‘bank' account aimed at small businesses, freelancers, and independents. Tide is packed with powerful tools to save business owners time and money. It is possible to sign up and have an account number and sort code within five minutes.
Tide is not a bank. It’s a current account, operated via a smartphone app, that offers a Mastercard giving free purchases at home and abroad with the real exchange rate.
Tide automatically categorises transactions as you make them, so your bookkeeping is done before the accountant starts work. You can create and pay invoices through Tide in a couple of clicks and on the go.
Founded in January 2011 by Kristo Käärmann and Taavet Hinrikus, TransferWise is one of the biggest London-based fintech start-ups with offices around the world in Budapest, Cherkasy, London, New York, Singapore, Sydney, Tallinn, Tampa and Tokyo.
TransferWise is an online money transfer service that enables customers to transfer money up to eight times cheaper than with a bank.
The technology is based on a peer-to-peer system. If someone wishes to convert pounds to euros, TransferWise’s technology finds someone else who wishes to transfer money in the opposite direction: euros into pounds.
Wealthify, headquartered in Cardiff, South Wales, was founded in 2014 and gained full FCA authorisation in October 2015. It is an online investment service that builds and manages investment plans for its customers.
Wealthify uses proprietary software and technology, in addition to a team of investment experts, to create and manage investments plans for customers.
Wealthify lowered the minimum investment to £1, in March 2017, as part of a commitment to attract more people and to democratise investing.
Yolt, backed by ING, aggregates accounts and credit cards held with other banks. The app works with all the major high street banks including Barclays, RBS, HSBC, Santander, Natwest and many others.
Yolt monitors bills and subscriptions, from within the app, allowing you to compare energy deals across the top UK providers, so you know where to save and how.
It’s long been the case that banks had a customer for life if they captured them at a young age with a piggy bank, pencil case or football. Despite the seven-day current account switching service (CASS), there is still a great deal of inertia.
The opening up of, and ability to share, financial data is making an exciting future possible for the future of Banking, and much of that Banking is now possible from the smartphone in your pocket.