10 top money-saving apps

Smartphone apps have made it easier than ever for us to manage our lives, including sorting out our finances. From finding discounts to building a budget and even streamlining our pensions, there’s a wide array of apps to help with money matters.

Here’s our rundown of some of the best money-saving apps, how they work, and where to download them.

1. Snoop

What is it? Launched in April 2020, Snoop is one of the newer money management apps. It uses artificial intelligence (AI) to help consumers make the most of their money.

How does it work? Once downloaded, you link your bank and credit card accounts to the app. This is easiest if you already have all your account apps downloaded to your smartphone – otherwise you’ll need to dig out your log-in details.

The app can then highlight how much you are spending on particular items, such as food and transport, and will also let you know whether your regular bill payments are rising or falling over time. You will find money-saving tips that are tailored to you on a personalised feed – these suggest better deals and ways you might be able to save, based on your bills and shopping habits. If, for example, you’re a regular Amazon user, you could find details on how to access free vouchers,or if you’ve been with your energy provider for years your personalised ‘snoops’ may flag a cheaper deal.

The aim is that the app does the hard work for you to save you money. It will also provide useful tips such as letting you know the best time to renew your car and home insurance, and reminding you to buy travel insurance when you book a trip.

Snoop makes its money through commissions, and provides anonymous transaction data to market research companies to help find consumer trends. Access to your accounts is ‘read-only’ through the app, to keep your money safe and no-one can make transactions using your data. Like many money management apps, Snoop uses Open Banking, which is a banking practice that enables banks to supply your financial data to third parties with your permission. Snoop is authorised and regulated by the city regulator Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

How much does it cost? The app is free to download and use.

How to get the app: You can download Snoop for iOS here and Android here.

What is it? Topcashback is a money-saving app offering cashback on your online purchases, in-store deals and discount vouchers.

How does it work? Download the app and enter your email and a password. You can then use it to shop online through your smartphone. Doing so could earn you money back on all sorts of purchases. Instead of visiting your favourite retailer’s site, for example, you go to the app, search for the retailer’s logo, and click on it to be re-directed. If you then buy something, you will earn cashback on your purchase. This is essentially a commission paid to the cashback site, which is then passed to you. You can monitor how much cashback you’ve earned via the app.

Cashback is available on a wide range of goods and services, from broadband to insurance, energy plans, and garden furniture. According to Topcashback, members receive an average of £325 per year in cashback. Cashback rates vary widely – you could get 1% cashback on one purchase and as much as £150 cashback on another from a different store. You can also earn cashback when you use your debit or credit card at some shops on the high street, but you must register your card with the app first.

You can make withdrawals from your cashback balance into your bank account, donate to a charity of your choice, or choose instead to receive vouchers for, say, Amazon or Marks & Spencers.

Topcashback earns money through advertising and bonus payments for gaining a particular amount of sales for certain retailers.

How much does it cost? The app is free to download, but you’ll be signed up to a month’s Plus membership trial, which costs £5. This will be deducted from any cashback you earn. So if you don’t earn any cashback, you won’t have to pay anything. Plus membership enables you to earn a bonus – currently 65% of any cashback you earn, so if the brand you buy from is offering £5 cashback, you’d receive £8.25.

How to get the app: You can download Topcashback for iOS here and Android here.

3. Olio

What is it? A food-sharing app that connects you to your local community with the aim of reducing waste, and saving money.

How does it work? You can list anything on the app that you won’t be eating in your household – such as tins cluttering up your cupboards, spare home grown vegetables, or fresh food that risks going to waste, but hasn’t yet gone off. You take a photo of the item using your phone and add it to the app. Neighbours who live nearby can receive customised alerts and request anything that they want. All items are offered for free. You can also list non-food items such as toys, household and beauty items.

Alternatively, you can search for food or other items that are being offered within your local area for example, a nearby neighbour might be offering loaves of bread,or bags of spaghetti – but you may also find toiletries, books and an array of other items listed..

How much does it cost? The app is free to download and use.

How to get the app: You can download Olio for iOS here and Android here.

4. Monzo

What is it? A clever, budgeting digital bank app.

How does it work? Many people who hadn’t yet signed up for internet banking may have done so during lockdown as it’s the simplest way to manage your money from your own home. App-only bank Monzo is one of the digital bank options, and comes with an array of savvy features that can help you to spend less.

For example, it provides you with real-time spending notifications, and enables you to set spending targets, divided by category. You can also set a bill tracker that will let you know if your regular direct debits are higher or lower than usual.

The app has plenty of other features. For example, you can create different savings pots so that you can set money aside for particular goals. You can also use a bills pot to manage your regular direct debits. The bank card that comes with the app offers fee-free cash withdrawals in the European Union, and up to £200 per month elsewhere in the world.

Monzo is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), guaranteeing up to £85,000 of your money if the bank goes bust. You may be concerned with security if you are using an app to do your banking, but bear in mind that one of the most common ways people get scammed is by handing over their bank details on the phone.

How much does it cost? It’s free to open and run a Monzo account.

How to get the app: You can download Monzo for iOS here and Android here.

What is it? A money-saving app offering cashback and discount vouchers on online and in-store purchases.

How does it work? As you shop via the app you can earn cashback on your purchases on anything from energy deals to clothes and many other items. You can also register your debit or credit card  on the app to earn cashback in-store, and if you want to, you can swap any cashback you earn for Argos or M&S vouchers, for example.

Quidco also offers a ‘ClickSnap’ facility, which enables you to save on your supermarket shopping by getting cashback on groceries. You browse the items offered – which change regularly – and purchase them at the relevant supermarket. You then activate the offer on your account and upload a picture of your receipt showing your purchase.. Cashback is then paid into your Quidco account as normal.

How much does it cost? It’s free to sign up to Quidco, and like TopCashback, it offers a premium membership, which costs £5 and is paid through cashback earned. Alongside the potential for bonus cashback, premium members are entered into a monthly draw to win prizes, such as £250 giveaways.

How to get the app: You can download Quidco for iOS here and Android here.

6. Stocard

What is it? A digital wallet for your loyalty cards which keeps you up to date with any special offers.

How does it work? Many of us have several loyalty cards we collect points on when we shop in our favourite stores. For example, among the most common are the Boots Advantage Card, the Tesco Clubcard, and the Nectar card, which can be used to collect points in Sainsbury’s and other stores. Find out more about loyalty cards in our article Shop loyalty schemes: what are your points worth?

But how often have you found yourself paying for shopping having left your loyalty card at home, or in the depths of your bag where you can’t locate it? This app enables you to store all your cards in one place so that you no longer need your physical cards. You simply ask the cashier to scan the store’s card from your phone, or use it when you shop online, and your points will automatically be added to your relevant card balance.

The app also includes offers from the stores you hold loyalty cards with, and copies of their in-house magazines, so you can shop for good deals while they’re available.

How much does it cost? The app is free to download and use.

How to get the app: You can download Stocard for iOS here and Android here.

7. VoucherCodes

What is it? A discount app with money-off vouchers and discounts on a wide range of goods and services from takeaways, to energy deals and your shopping.

How does it work? There are plenty of discount voucher websites and apps, but this is one of the easiest to use, and has some of the best reviews, with a rating of 4.7 out of 5 on Trustpilot.

Once downloaded, you simply enter your email address and a password. You can save your favourite shops on the app, so it can find the best, personalised deals for you. At the time of writing, you could receive up to 20% off electrical items at John Lewis online, or up to 20% off takeaways from Deliveroo. You can search before buying anything to see if you can get money off through the app.

How much does it cost? The app is free to download and use.

How to get the app: You can download VoucherCodes for iOS here and Android here.

8. Yolt

What is it? A money-management app (a venture from ING Bank) which is great for seeing all your bank accounts, borrowing and investments in one place. You can also benefit from simple advice and guidance.

How does it work? Yolt enables users to see all of their financial information at the same time without having to log on to lots of different websites. It collates your bank accounts, credit cards, investments, savings and borrowing using Open Banking.

You link your various accounts to the app, and it will show you how much you’re spending and where. It has a particularly clean design which is simple to use. You can set yourself goals and see your savings history over time with a savings tile and goal-tracking. You can also pay friends and family via the app and customise the app’s dashboard and categories so that it’s tailored to your individual needs.

How much does it cost? Yolt is free to download and use. The app has a range of partners offering various smart features – if you choose to use one of those partners then Yolt will get some commission from the partner off the back of that.

How to get the app: You can download Yolt for iOS here and Android here.

What is it? PensionBee is an app for managing your pension and helping you locate different pots accumulated throughout your lifetime.

How does it work? You give the app the names of your past and current employers and it will help you track down any pension pots you might have lost or forgotten about. It will then consolidate these within, typically, a few weeks, so you can see your current pension value and projected retirement income in one place. You can set up regular or lump sum contributions into your pension using your smartphone.

You can then manage your pension like you manage your bank account – with 24/7 online access to your balance via your app.

There are no minimum saving amounts, which means you can put any amount into your pension, as often as you like. When you reach the age of 55, you can start withdrawing money from your pension, including up to 25% as a tax-free sum. There are no additional fees for drawing down your pension, unless you’ve been with PensionBee for less than a year and wish to withdraw your savings in full, in which case a £480 fee would apply. With PensionBee the drawdown process takes around 10 working days. PensionBee scores 4.6 out of 5 on Trustpilot.

How much does it cost? The app doesn’t charge for transferring your old pensions or for making contributions or withdrawals. Once your pension is invested, you’ll pay an annual management fee once your pension is invested, ranging from 0.5% – 0.95%, depending on the plan you choose. If your pension pot is larger than £100,000, you’ll pay half the fee on the portion of your savings over this amount.

However, before you transfer, you should always check that no exit penalties apply or that you’re not giving up any valuable benefits. Always seek professional financial advice before transferring a pension if you’re not sure. You can find a local financial advisor on VouchedFor or Unbiased, or for more information, check out our guides on How to find the right financial advisor for you or How to get advice on your pension.

How to get the app: You can download PensionBee for iOS here and Android here.

10. Youtility

What is it? A simple way to keep on top of your regular bills, and potentially reduce costs by seeing if you can switch to a better deal.

How does it work? Once you’ve downloaded the Youtility app and signed up using your email and a password, the app uses Open Banking to access your accounts from the various providers listed on your bank statements. You will be able to see all your household bills on one screen, including your energy bills, insurance, TV services, broadband, mortgage and rent payments, as well as council tax bills.

You can view a year’s transactions, to easily see whether your payments have risen or fallen over that time. You can view your average payment for, say, your mobile bill, and when you paid the highest amount. You can also choose to track other payments, such as gym membership. You will receive a notification if your bill is higher than normal,and you can also see how much you’re paying compared to someone in a similar situation – for example, other households living in a property similar to yours.

How much does it cost? The app is free to download and use.

How to get the app: You can download Youtility for iOS here and Android here.

 

Do you rely on any money-saving apps to help you manage your money? We’d love to hear from you at [email protected] or leave a comment below.

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3 thoughts on “10 top money-saving apps

  1. Avatar
    Bruce on Reply

    Hi,

    What a great news article didn’t even know most of those apps existed, will definitely try some of them. Keep up posting these great articles as I know people really do appreciate all the advice you can offer.

  2. Avatar
    PAUL ACE on Reply

    What about security? Particularly with apps that offer to consolidate financial account information. It seems to me that blind trust is required.

    1. Avatar
      Helen on Reply

      Hi Paul. Thank you for your question.

      The article explains that these apps use ‘open banking’, but this isn’t necessarily a well-understood term. Open banking gives the apps third-party access only to your financial information – they never get to see your log-in information, so they can only ever view your information as ‘read-only’. Most companies that use open banking are fully regulated and should appear on the Financial Services Register. It’s always worth checking the reviews of any apps you’re considering using, and you can read about the measures they take to keep your data secure before signing up.

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