Have you embraced any of the new modern banking solutions from savings that link to Facebook messenger through to app based banks? We explore the latest in banking technology that can help you save, manage your finances and get savvy with money.
We’ve been talking about business financial goals with our clients as we enter a new year and it is always a time we talk savings, getting better at tracking money and making use out of modern banking solutions.
A little over two years ago we personally changed our personal and business accounts over to Starling Bank and have never looked back. Sometimes it feels uncomfortable making a change from what has always been the norm but allow us to talk through the benefits of some modern banking solutions.
Starting with this one because we are so impressed with it since we transferred our personal and business accounts to Starling.
Starling’s strapline is “Feel good about money with better banking” which we really like. We like to feel good about money and love our clients to feel the same. With over 8,000 reviews on Trustpilot and an average review rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars, Starling has also won a host of awards including Best British Bank 2019, and was a winner in the Forbes awards for the world’s best banks.
Starling is not a high street branch based bank but it is run via a secure banking app.
Reasons we like it:
- Easy to set up in 24-48 hours compared to weeks for some business bank accounts at traditional branch based banks
- Instant notifications when you spend or are paid
- Spending habits insights tool
- No fees overseas
- 24/7 support
- Your money is covered up to £85,000 by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme
- New business banking categories to easily help you categorise your income and expenditure
- There is also a tool that tells you if it is an allowable business expenditure according to HMRC
- Euro accounts available but in the UK. You can hold, send and receive euros for free
- Money ‘pots’ allow you to put money to one side for different things without having separate savings accounts or it affecting the overall balance
- Multi director accounts on a limited company account
- No fees for the business bank account
- Flexible overdraft options
We moved our personal accounts across first and were so impressed with the speed at setting up an account and the funky features of the app that we moved our business and joint account over a couple of weeks later too. It’s great to have everything at a glance in one place.
Now Monzo has received some bad press at the back end of 2019 but like Starling this fellow challenger bank is also covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme protecting your money to the value of £85,000. Monzo loves to remind people how safe it is. In fact last year, Monzo knew Ticketmaster had been hacked before Ticketmaster did! Monzo shares everything they’re doing in terms of their business plans and new features online. They’re extremely transparent and the Monzo community vote on any upcoming changes. This also puts them in the firing line for criticism which is why the recent press has been a bit of a challenge.
Monzo is similar to Starling bank and has some awesome features including:
- Money pots that allow you to put money to one side for things without it affecting the overall account balance
- ‘Split bill’ feature when you’re out with friends
- Pay any of your contacts easily from your phone – you don’t even need their bank details
- Use Monzo for free when you’re on holiday
- WHICH? voted them best bank for customer service
- Round up your purchases to the nearest pound and put your spare change in a savings ‘pot’
- Pots can be locked to stop you dipping into your savings
- Monzo fully integrates with ‘If this then that’ IFTTT wizardry (see below)
One of Monzo’s greatest strengths is that it can use IFTTT (If This Then That) commands to make things happen automatically. IFTTT helps apps and devices work together using nifty automated processes. There are literally thousands of IFTTT rules that you can set off for a multitude of devices including your smart lights, Alexa, home heating and even your Monzo account.
You can find the full IFTTT list that integrates with Monzo here but some of the quirky, clever and hilarious things it can do include:
- Withdraw from a Monzo pot when you say “I’m off to the pub”
- Set up a ‘fast food tax’ so “Withdraw £5 and save to my fast food tax pot when I spend at KFC”
- Integrate Monzo with FitBit and save money into a pot when you hit your step goal
- Automatically save and take part in the 1p savings challenge – saving £670 a year
- Connect Monzo to Strava and save 1p every 10 metres you run or cycle
- Pay yourself an automatic weekly allowance every Monday morning
- Reward yourself every time you visit the gym
- Save £1 every time you tweet
- Set up a swear pot with Monzo and OK Google and fine yourself every time you swear
We could go on! It makes saving a lot of fun and definitely worth exploring the IFTTT options. There are rumours that Starling will also start integrating IFTTT commands in 2020.
Tide Business Bank
Over 130,000 business owners have set up a Tide Business bank account. A little like Starling, Tide is very easy to apply for and you can get a decision on whether you’re successful in your banking application within a matter of hours.
Some of the great features of Tide business banking includes;
- See an overview of your balance an all transactions together within seconds
- Auto categories – tag income and expenditure easily
- Multiple business accounts and easy to switch between
- Easy card management including freezing and unfreezing your card and PIN code reminders
- Create a pay invoices direct from the Tide app
- Use the desktop version of Tide at your desk
- In-app support
Automated Savings Solutions
If you’re happy with your bank and have no intention of switching to a modern app based challenger bank you might want to consider automated savings apps like Cleo, Plum and Chip.
Cleo is a clever AI solution that takes only a couple of minutes to set up. It links to your current bank account and can give you spending advice, help you set spending goals and also autosave money for you. Cleo tends to talk to you in clever and funny gifs which really makes banking and saving fun. Over 3,000,000 people use Cleo!
You can integrate Cleo with Facebook Messenger and chat direct to the Cleo bot about your own personal bank accounts. With quizzes and games where you can potentially win cash it helps to educate you on your finances at the same time as having fun. The AI ‘bot’ chat is much more intuitive than others out there and will suggest amounts you can save. It also likes to have banter with you and might roast you about recent purchases or spending habits so be prepared to be judged and ridiculed by a bot!
A little like Cleo, Plum works in the same way but is less funny. You can automatically save with Plum and it will even suggest amounts for you to save at intervals you set – daily, weekly or monthly. Your savings earn 3% interest with Plum. You can also choose to invest your money with Plum but as with all investments, returns can vary and carry risk.
Chip doesn’t talk to you via Facebook Messenger, it has a standalone app. Chip looks at your spending habits, your income and outgoings and automatically saves for you. Without the daily reminders on Messenger, this one really works away inn the background. Just make sure you remember you have it! One client at Insight Finance Solutions had completely forgotten they had connected Chip to their bank account and wondered what the transactions were. It ended up being a positive surprise as Chip had saved over £500 without her realising!
Your Financial Goals
If you’re a small business owner or sole trader looking for support with your business finances in 2020 then why not arrange a chat with Insight Finance Solutions? We work with limited companies turning over £3m+ through to sole traders just starting out in business. From a full virtual financial management service to money mindset coaching, we help you get stress free with your finances. Get in touch to arrange an informal chat today.