Best Budgeting Apps in the UK in 2021

Good spending habits are one of the keys to sound financial planning for most people.

In recent years, more people have became aware of that fact. This has especially been the case for younger people.

As people are becoming increasingly tech conscious, more budgeting apps have sprung up to meet this demand.

This should mean that you can avoid budgeting on pen or paper, or via excel.

In this context, I have previously spoken about budgeting apps such as Emma.

In this article, I will list the best budgeting apps in the UK more generally.

If you want me to review another budgeting app, or you are looking to invest, please contact me using  this form, or by using the WhatsApp function below.

Introduction

Managing money, sticking to a budget, and even making investment decisions is easier than ever before.

This is especially true now given the plethora of personal finance apps available. However, not all mobile money management tools are worth downloading. 

After all, when it comes to money, many problems arise. If you find it difficult to keep your personal and business finances in order, then using personal finance software can be a great solution. With many options, you can make your life easier and easier. 

What is a personal finance app?

In today’s world, personal finance apps can be a great way to make your financial life easier.

For example, they refer to applications that can help users track their budget, expenses, and income.

These apps seem to be very useful for those who know little about financial education. Beyond ease of use and convenience, these modern technologies can help you improve your financial health in the end.

How can personal finance apps be beneficial?

First, personal finance apps can help make the concept of budgeting, making money and saving easier for everyone.

They have many features that can simplify all the important financial tasks you need to run your business.

From saving your budget to checking your credit score, these apps can be very helpful. Now let’s see the main features of using a financial application, and recommend the most popular budgeting apps in UK.

  • You can enjoy the user-friendly interface

With the help of advanced technologies, personal finance apps have become user-friendly.

They have an easy-to-use interface that gives you direct access to all the financial information you need, both for business and for personal use.

In addition, these personal finance apps have a wide range of tools that can provide guaranteed financial transparency. They can perform tasks such as predicting cash flow for asset management and even filing a VAT return. These actions are necessary to manage the business and related finances.

  • You become more confident in your financial decisions

Sometimes you worry about how and what you are going to do with your finances.

You may hesitate to make any financial decision, especially if it involves higher personal and business risks.

However, by using a personal finance app, you can be confident in your money and how you are going to manage it.

You will feel that every financial decision you make for yourself and your business is right and worthwhile. Please note that if you are confident in how you manage your finances, you can release undue stress in both your personal and business life.

  • You can organize your finances efficiently

When it comes to personal finance, you need everything to be in place for financial efficiency.

If you are organized, you always feel better in the direction your money is going, especially for your business.

With personal finance apps, you can keep track of your income and expenses. In other words, using these apps can help you organize your personal and business finances efficiently.

  • You can better account for your finances

There is no doubt that accounting is an essential feature of any personal finance application.

They consist of fixed assets, general ledger, accounts payable and receivable, and bank reconciliations. What’s more, some advanced apps come with professional tools that can make personal budgeting simpler and easier.

If you are looking for a more efficient way to keep track of your business finances, using apps can be extremely beneficial.

  • You make fewer mistakes

Making mistakes is very important when it comes to money. As far as possible, financial decisions should be made with caution so as not to pay more money in the future and expose your business to greater financial risk.

With personal finance apps, you can view your previous transactions to make it easier for you to spot errors. Remember, the sooner you spot bugs, the better.

  • You know what you want and how to achieve it

Whatever your financial goals, personal finance apps will help you achieve them.

By using these apps, you will have an idea of ​​operating your money and see how close you are to achieving your goals.

One of the features of these modern apps is to receive monthly emails that remind you of how your day-to-day personal and business financial decisions are affecting your finances. So, if you want to quickly track your progress, your best bet is to choose the app you intend to use wisely.

As you can see using financial applications are not as bad as some of you might think, moreover some very good apps can be your financial assistant in future.

Thanks to innovation, the concept of personal finance software is becoming more and more popular in the financial industry.

These applications provide a wide range of features that are useful for your financial situation. Whether it is spending and saving for yourself and your business, they come with all the easy-to-use tools you need wherever you go.

Now it is time to talk about the best budgeting apps in UK and where they shine. Before starting, here is a list of the budgeting apps that we will discuss in this article:

  • Emma
  • Yolt
  • Monzo
  • Starling Bank
  • Moneyhub

Therefore, here are the quick list of best budgeting apps in UK that we have researched and found with best reviews among other ones. Let’s go!

  1. Emma 

Emma markets itself as your best financial friend. This is a budgeting, spending, and net worth tracking app that provides awesome visuals.

In two words, Emma is a financial giant. Unlike many financial apps, Emma uses machine learning to make your financial dashboards more accurate, and therefore more meaningful.

Emma shines in two areas. First, the developers have done a great job implementing a learning algorithm to track transactions. 

Because Emma’s learning algorithm is so developed, your financial transactions for the last year will be quickly categorized (about 20 minutes in total). That made the “Analysis” section much more valuable. Emma tells you the exact amount that you have spent in a grocery or somewhere else. You will have an access to all your financial history with just trusting your fingerprint.

In addition, the second area that you will definitely like the visuals that show how your account balance has changed over the past year, six months, and three months. These visuals are much better than the horrible pie charts that dominate most financial apps.

What do you get?

Once you’ve downloaded the app and linked your accounts, you’ll have five navigation sections, which are summarized below.

  • Feed. A main channel similar to Facebook or Instagram, where you can scroll down to access expense summaries, subscriptions, and reminders.
  • Analytics. A more detailed breakdown of your current income and expenses across all your accounts. You can access your budgets and look at the current month or go back to previous months.
  • Saving money. Here you can compare insurances, credit cards, mortgages and more.
  • Accounts. Divided into four sections: “Daily”, “Savings”, “Investments and Loans”, and this is where you can access your individual accounts from one screen.
  • Much more. The sections where you can complete quests, register with Emma Pro, contact support and receive rewards.

Pros:

  • Easy sign-up process and navigation
  • Comprehensive analysis and budgeting
  • Daily balances available
  • Available for both iOS and Android

Cons:

  • No savings category
  • Child-like feel to the overall theme
  • Not all banks and investment accounts are supported
  1. Yolt

Yolt is an app that lets you keep track of all your bank accounts (checking, savings and credit cards) in one place using Open Banking.

Yolt works similarly to Starling Bank and Monzo (we will talk about these two apps later) in that it tracks your spending, however it is not a bank, so you cannot use it to spend money, and it does not offer any additional banking services like overdrafts or loans. Despite the fact that Yolt is not a bank, he has “the strength and stability of a bank” and is registered with ING bank N.V.

Yolt tracks your account and expenses using Open Banking, a practice that allows you to share your financial information with third parties. Open banking was introduced in the UK in January 2018 to give consumers control over their financial information. 

It allows third-party apps like Yolt to sync your financial information, allowing you to manage your accounts safely and securely from one central location. Yolt is now using Open Banking and PDS2 (Payment Services Directive 2) and has stopped working with accounts that do not have ready-made APIs. 

What will you get?

  • All your accounts in one place. The Yolt Accounts page presents all of your savings, checking and credit accounts, presented in a simple list with balances in front and center. 
  • Smart balance. Your total balance will be displayed as a “smart balance” that tells you how much of your money will go to accounts and necessary purchases, and how much is left to spend on better things. in life.
  • Average expense reports. Yolt collects all the data in one place and can analyze it to show your average expenses. This can help you set realistic spending goals and measure your progress.
  • Set specific budgets and track their progress. With Yolt, you can set a monthly budget for things like groceries, eating out, and shopping. 
  • Safe entrance. Yolt prides itself on its security, and its fingerprint or login PIN will keep all your financial data safe.

Pros:

  • Integrates all accounts in one app
  • Set financial goals
  • Categorizes your expenses
  • Is safe

Cons:

  • Only accessible via smartphone and it doesn’t have a web interface
  • Unable to enter a payday if you don’t do monthly payments
  • Does not show real-time transactions
  1. Monzo

I have previously spoken about Monzo, but more from the point of view of a bank account.

Monzo began life in 2016 as a prepaid MasterCard that could be recharged via the app and used to withdraw funds abroad for free, but has subsequently gone into other service areas.

The brand was founded by Tom Blomfield, Jonas Hackestein, Jason Bates, Paul Rippon and Gary Dolman, who previously worked for rival Starling Bank.

Monzo positions itself as a bank that lives on your smartphone and is built for your lifestyle today (or in other words, it’s an app-only bank) and now has over four million customers using their debit card to manage their money and spend around the world.

Monzo currently offers a range of accounts including personal, joint and business accounts.

Monzo offers all the usual checking account services such as getting your paycheck, setting up direct debit, standing payments, cash withdrawals with a contactless MasterCard, and money transfer. But it also allows you to manage your money as well as just keep it.

What will you get?

  • Salary Sorter. With Monzo you can sort your salary by expense, savings and bills
  • Expense Budgets. Set Expense Budgets to keep track of spending across different categories, such as eating out, and track how well you do it over the course of the month.
  • Savings Pots. Create multiple pots to split your money and save on purpose. You can also set up an automatic save, which rounds off the spare change and saves it to one of your pots.
  • Account banks. Manage your direct debit and standing payments from bank accounts
  • Instant Expense Notifications. Instant expense notifications to see what is leaving your account in real time
  • Free cash withdrawals abroad. Free cash withdrawals in the European Economic Area (EEA) and up to £ 200 per month in other countries (thereafter a 3% commission will be charged)
  • Energy Switching. Switch to an energy provider through the Monzo app and get up to £ 75 credit if you switch
  • Shared Accounts. Create a joint account with another Monzo account holder.
  • Overdraft. Set up a negotiable overdraft up to £ 3,000. You will be charged a variable rate of 19%, 29%, or 39% EAR.

 Pros:

  • Full UK current account, you can do all the stuff you can do with a normal bank and more
  • Apply quickly from the app without proof of address and you won’t be credit-checked unless you apply for an overdraft
  • Spend abroad with no fees at the MasterCard exchange rate
  • Open a savings account directly from the app with one of the providers Monzo works with
  • Deposit cash into the account at any store which shows the PayPoint logo
  • Apple Pay available

Cons:

  • Daily withdrawal and spending limits
  • App-only – requires internet and no bank branches
  • £1 fee for depositing cash at a local PayPoint
  • Can only deposit a maximum of £1,000 cash every 6 months (£500 if you are 16-17)
  1. Starling Bank

Banking is slowly being pulled into the 21st century with a host of app-only aspirant brands.

Starling Bank is one of the best known new brands. It received a banking license in 2016 and opened the UK’s first mobile-only checking account in 2017.

Starling Bank has a different approach to old banking. The idea is to provide everything you want from a complete UK bank account, but nothing you don’t have. They figured that meant you didn’t need bank branches, but you did get money management tools, a MasterCard contactless debit card, and 24/7 support.

Where does Starling shine?

  • Freeze the card. Freeze the card in the application in case of loss or theft
  • Disable / Restrict and Block Payments. Disable chip & pin or contactless payments, limit online spending and block transactions like gambling
  • Set Savings Goals. Earn interest by savings for personal purposes
  • Upcoming Payments. Securely send payments to nearby Starling customers
  • Settlement. Easily split payments using the payment link
  • Instant expense notifications. Get instant real-time expense notifications
  • Categorized expenses. Automatic sorting of transactions by category
  • Paperless statements. Easy access to your statements in the app
  • Rounding expenses. Round up transactions to the nearest pound to save money
  • International money transfers. The application can also be used for international money transfers. Users pay 0.4% transaction fees and can pay a flat rate shipping of £ 5.50 for faster payment. This is much cheaper than many banks, which can charge up to 5% for international money transfers.
  • Mobile Checks. Checks up to £ 500 from your mobile phone, just select “check deposits”, take a picture and you’re done.
  • Additional card “Connected” – users can order an additional card and transfer it to those they trust to make purchases on their behalf. Everything can be controlled from the application.
  • Desktop Login. Starling introduced Desktop Access in October 2020, which means users can now log in from a laptop, Mac, or computer.

Pros:

  • Full free UK current account, up and running in 20 minutes. Card delivered within a week.
  • Slick mobile app packed with budgeting and saving features, including spending categorization and saving goals.
  • Nice interest rate paid on current account balances.
  • Easily split the bill with the Starling Bank ‘settle up’ feature.
  • Starling’s “Marketplace” offers competitive pensions, mortgages and insurance from other growing FinTech companies.
  • Overdraft fees are competitive and easy to understand.
  • Safe and secure, fully licensed by the FCA and PRA.

Cons:

  • While Starling offers a wide range of services, it’s still a fairly new bank, so does not yet offer more complex services such as mortgages, but some products are available through the Starling Bank Marketplace.
  • There aren’t any bank branches, but you can use the Post Office to deposit and withdraw cash. You won’t get face-to-face communication with a Starling Bank staff member, though.
  1. Moneyhub

Moneyhub is a money management app that uses open banking to aggregate information from all of your bank accounts, savings accounts, credit cards, and investments.

Moneyhub Enterprise, the FinTech company behind the Moneyhub app, was launched in 2013 and provides financial management solutions for individuals, financial professionals, and businesses.

Moneyhub allows you to see all your money in one place, giving you a detailed view of your spending habits, as well as providing reminders to keep you on track and make payments on time. Moneyhub operates on a subscription basis with an initial one month free trial upon registration. 

Moneyhub features

  • View all your accounts in one place, including credit cards, bank accounts, investments, savings and loans
  • Expense analysis, see where your money is going every month, with detailed categorization of expenses and comparison with previous months
  • Spending goals, set spending budgets and track your progress so you don’t overspend
  • Nudges, get due date reminders and tips to save money on credit cards and mortgages
  • Get advice, connect to a financial advisor through Moneyhub
  • Forecast a plan for the bigger picture with a forecast function. Add a large payment, like a holiday, and see how that might affect your finances in the future.

Pros:

  • Intelligent budgeting tools and spending insights
  • You can share financial data and speak with an adviser
  • Doesn’t share information with third parties
  • Easy sign-up and navigation
  • Comprehensive analysis

Cons:

  • Monthly or annual fee to use
  • Some may not be comfortable giving Moneyhub access to their online banking
  • Lack of information and clarity in ‘Find adviser’ function

Conclusion

There are an a number of excellent budgeting apps in the UK, and indeed beyond the UK.

These apps can help you in your financial planning journey, by ensuring that you know what you are spending your money on.

Apps aren’t essential though. The old fashioned method of pen and paper still works.

Further Reading

In the article below I look back on the crazy times of the February-March stock market crash. What lessons can be learned?

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