Best online money saving and management apps and tools 2020

woman smiling whilst holding mobile phone and blue piggy bank

Updated: Jan 2020

If you find the process of organising your finances a bit dull, or so overwhelming that you don't know where to start, then you may be interested in the growing trend for personal finance apps and online tools.

One of the many benefits of smartphones is that they provide a great platform for developers to create tools that can make your life easier, and this is becoming ever more apparent in the world of online banking and money management.

These apps can help your money work harder for you in 2020, helping you to invest, manage a savings account and more.

Whatever your personal finance goals, there are plenty of apps and online tools to help you - and we've collated the best ones below.

 

Moneybox app logo Moneybox

Price: Free

Available on: iOS, Android

Trustpilot review: 4.5/5 (Excellent)

The Moneybox app is built on a very simple premise: using your spare change as investment capital.

It works by rounding up everything you spend (you can set what range you want it to round up by) and then puts that amount into a stocks and shares ISA of your choice.

Moneybox is available to download for both Apple and Android devices. Once you've downloaded it, you just link it with your debit card.

It's free to use for the first three months, after which it charges a £1 per month charge to cover transaction fees.

It also charges 0.45% platform fee and between 0.12% and 0.30% (per year) to pay for the management of your funds by individual providers.

 

Money Dashboard logoMoney Dashboard

Price: Free

Available on: iOS, Android, Online

Trustpilot review: 3.5/5 (Average)

For those who want to view and manage all of their finances in one place, Money Dashboard is the perfect solution.

As you’d imagine, Money Dashboard places a focus on the dashboard, from which you can track and manage all of your savings, credit cards and current accounts at the same time.

As well as giving you an insight into your current financial state, this clever app bills itself as “your personal financial assistant” and helps you track your spending and plan your budget for the future.

Money Dashboard provides you with a full view of all your financial accounts and shows you exactly where your money goes, cleverly categorising all of your spending into categories like ‘fun’, ‘household bills’ and ‘living costs’.

All of this data is used to create colourful graphs and charts to visualise your spending habits and help you get a better understanding of what you are spending and where you might be able to cut back.

If you have accounts with several different providers (e.g. current account, ISA, mortgage etc. with different banks) then this can be a great tool to save time while you review your finances.

Mint Money Manager app logoMint

Price: Free

Available on: iOS, Android, Online

Trustpilot review: 3/5 (Average)

Similar to Money Dashboard, Mint is another popular app that works as an effective money manager.

Mint helps you to “effortlessly” manage all of your finances in one place, providing reports and insights on all your personal finance data to help you make better use of your money. From bank balances to upcoming bills to your credit score, Mint helps to combine your entire financial life into one, easy to use app.

You can categorise all of your spending, create budgets, check your credit score, get reminders for when bills are due and receive tips on how to save money based on your spending habits.

Mint will automatically update your finances as and when money enters and leaves your account, ensuring that you’re never left in the dark.

With Mint you can even schedule payments from within the app, so once you have synced all of your various accounts, you won’t need to keep forever logging into different platforms to manage your finances. More free time for you, and more free space on your smartphone – it’s a win-win.

Squirrel money app logo

Squirrel

Price: £2.30/week (billed at £9.99/month)

Available on: iOS, Android

Trustpilot review: 5/5 (Excellent)

As you may have guessed from the name, this app is designed to help you 'squirrel away' part of your income, rather than spending it.

To use Squirrel you need link your bank account which you pay your wages into. After this, your wages will then be paid into your Squirrel account, where the app will hold back some of your hard-earned money to meet your savings goals. The point is that it forces you to stick to your predefined budget and avoid overspending or drifting into your overdraft.

Squirrel drips your money into the account when it is needed, so you don’t have to worry about having money available to pay your bills as this is only released into your account when it is needed.  Once Squirrel has established how much to hold back for bills and savings, any money left over will be put straight back into your linked bank account.

Unlike with banks, Squirrel will never loan out your money so it remains in your name at all times, making it a completely safe method of saving money.

If you require a bit of help when it comes to discipline with your personal finances, then Squirrel is a great choice to help you start managing your spending better. It’s also a great help when it comes to saving as you can set up how much of your salary you want to save each month and it keeps that cash back – which means no more dipping in to your savings every now and then for a cheeky takeaway!

Squirrel is available on Apple and Android and is free for the first three months, after which it costs £9.99 per month.

Chip app logo

Chip

Price: Free

Available on: iOS, Android

Trustpilot review: 3.5/5 (Average)

If you need a bit of help with keeping to a savings plan, but don’t want the full discipline of Squirrel then Chip is an interesting option. It takes just 60 seconds to start saving with Chip – just download the app to your smartphone and upload a picture of your debit card.

Chip, which won Best Banking App 2019 at the World Banking Awards in London last year, analyses your spending habits and then works out what you can afford to save each month without impacting your normal spending. It then siphons off that amount each month into a separate savings account for you.

Chip used to pay up to 5% interest on the money you save but this is no longer the case – you will not earn any interest on the money put aside.

To use Chip you need to give it access to your bank account (which is ‘read-only’ so it can only see the data, not make any changes) so that it can analyses your spending.

It then uses its own algorithm to calculate how much you can afford to put into your savings account and diverts that money into a separate account. You can edit it to save more or less with just a touch of the button, as well as pause it whenever you feel like and cancel payments.

Chip is completely free and works with all UK high street banks, including NatWest, Halifax, Lloyds, Nationwide, Barclays, HSBC, First Direct, Santander, TSB, RBS, Metro Bank and Co-operative Bank. You can also connect if you hold an account with a challenger bank like Monzo or Starling.

Pensionbee logoPensionBee

Price: Free

Available on: iOS, Android

Trustpilot review: 4.5/5 (Excellent)

It's not just your spending and savings that can benefit from new technology, you can also get help with managing your pension investments.

PensionBee combines all of your pensions into one simple plan, so you can see everything in one place and get accurate forecasts of how much your pension is worth.

Now that the idea of a ‘job for life’ is pretty much a thing of the past, many people have accumulated pension savings with various different providers. PensionBee can help you bring all of these together in one place, and provides an easy-to-use platform to control your retirement fund.

Finding your past pension contributions can all be done by PensionBee – just provide the names of your past employers and it will track them down. It then consolidates them into one dashboard which tells you how much your current pension pot is worth, your projected retirement income and so on.

You can also top up your pension with one-off payments via PensionBee, and it can send you all the relevant paperwork regarding guaranteed annuity rates or final salary promises if you are planning to transfer your pension.

PensionBee is free and doesn’t charge anything to consolidate your pensions. However, there is an annual fee of between 0.5% – 0.95% of your total pension value depending on your choice of pension plan.

Cleo logoCleo

Price: Free (£5.99/month for Cleo Plus)

Available on: iOS, Android, Online

Trustpilot review: 4.5/5 (Excellent)

Unlike all of the other apps mentioned in this article, Cleo is an automated financial assistant that you can actually talk to.

Once you’ve connected your bank account, ‘Cleo’ – the name of your automated financial advisor – will assess your spending habits to see how much you’re spending, what you’re spending on and where you can cut back.

The primary attraction of Cleo, besides its ability to help you save money, is that it actually makes banking and financial management quite fun – working in a similar format to a standard messenger app (think WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger), you can interact with Cleo instantly, asking questions like: ‘can I afford a takeaway tonight?’ and ‘how much should I save this week?’.

Cleo will even pop up with games and quizzes from time to time, where you’ll be grilled on your knowledge of your own personal finances – a great way to build financial awareness.

Feeling particularly dangerous? Cleo has a ‘roast me’ feature, giving the AI advisor permission to really get stuck into your recent spending habits and provide you with a personalised financial horoscope – these responses can feature some choice swear words.

For £5.99 per month you can upgrade to Cleo Plus, which offers features like salary advances and cashback on your spending.

bean logoBean

Price: Free

Available on: iOS, Android, Online

Trustpilot review: 4/5 (Great)

There seems to be a subscription for everything these days; from gym memberships to Netflix, Spotify and Amazon Prime accounts, it can be easy to forget what exactly you’re paying for.

That’s where Bean comes in.

Designed specifically to track your regular outgoings, the Bean app will provide you with an easy-to-ready overview of your monthly payments, how much they’re costing you and where you may want to consider cutting back.

Bean is free to use and “constantly hums away in the background” to see if there’s any way that it can save you money. The app requires ‘read-only’ access to your bank account, meaning it cannot actually move your money; it can just notify you with suggestions on where you could save.

Whether you need an overview of your outgoings or want to be given a gentle nudge about important renewal dates or price increases, Bean is a great app to run alongside your usual banking app.

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