Here are 6 apps to upgrade your post-lockdown finances

Life has turned very strange – and for many of us, very tough too. If there was ever a time that we needed real help to budget, pay our bills and manage our debts, it’s now!

Thankfully, our phone could very well come to the rescue. It’s all thanks to open banking, a recent innovation that allows apps to provide bespoke financial help – based on what’s REALLY going on with your money.

Iona has teamed up with the Open Up 2020 challenge to explain how it all work…

I started my blog in 2011 just after the last financial crash. So I learned a thing or two about how young people can get back on their feet again after a big shock.

Today, we’re facing an even bigger challenge – none of us have a Covid-secure future. But could financial technology be part of the solution?

It’s amazing to think that just a decade ago, nobody used their phone to manage their finances. But over the past ten years, more and more of us have got comfortable with digital banking – now, it’s practically second nature.

But now, we have a whole new money toolkit – specific apps which are enabled for open banking.

It’s time to open up

Open banking basically allows your bank to share your financial data with certain apps, so long as you give your permission. So why is this something you should consider?

Well, apps that can see your real financial behaviour will be able to offer far better, more personalised products and services. These could help you borrow more effectively, get out of debt, budget better or save more.

In other words, they can help you solve stubborn financial problems like a poor credit history or overspending after payday. They can guide you towards wiser financial decisions and help you achieve your money goals. What’s not to like?

Open banking apps are safe and secure, plus they can’t actually touch your money. Most importantly, they need your explicit, clear permission to view your finances so they can make helpful suggestions.

There are loads of apps out there that all do different things. I’m going to pick out a few that best capture how open banking could work for you.

CREDITSPRING

Creditspring is an affordable credit subscription service. It offers small interest-free loans for emergencies if you have limited savings or persistent debt. It will lend you £250 on two separate occasions within a year and you’ll get four months each time to repay the loan.

You’ll need to earn at least £20,000 a year to qualify for Creditspring membership and you can’t borrow within 14 days of joining. But it’s fantastic to know you’ll pay no fees if you borrow, making it a far fairer and cheaper alternative to high-cost credit. Plus, it has a Stability Hub to help you get your finances back on track.

UPDRAFT

Updraft is also offering affordable loans for young borrowers, but these are specifically designed to help clear expensive overdrafts and credit cards. The app will then use the loan to automatically pay down your debts – no wonder it has a waiting list of 25,000 people.

It might be a long wait for new users – but Updraft could be game-changing for borrowers who struggle to get on top of wieldy debts at the best of times, let alone after a financial crash. Watch this space…

TULLY

For those of us who need even more hands-on support, Tully is the ultimate digital debt adviser. Once it has all your vital financial information, it can offer tools and information to help you navigate your relationships with financial companies.

Right now, it has a special COVID-19 service to help people request payment holidays from lenders and utility providers. It will also let you know as soon as new support from banks, the government or other organisations becomes available. That’s particularly helpful, as it means you will never miss out on any help you deserve.

CLEO

Cleo is one of a few fun and helpful chatbots available through Open Banking. I liken these apps to your big sister, but even cooler: giving you accurate, real-time info about your finances so you can make better decisions.

The chatty, warm dialogue and helpful visual cues offered by Cleo mean you won’t feel judged or hectored into doing The Right Thing. Instead, it operates on the maxim ‘knowledge is power’ – the more you know about your money, the wiser you can be. It makes budgeting an absolute breeze.

MONEYHUB

Moneyhub is another subscription service, but this one provides an all-in-one dashboard for your finances so you never have to worry about multiple passwords or forgotten accounts ever again. Checking all your accounts in one place is beyond convenient, which is why users feel they get their money back in all kinds of ways from the service

Moneyhub can also analyse your spending, allow you to set goals and chart your progress and send you timely nudges so you can stay on track. It’s a dream app for anyone who hates having their finances all over the place or who likes the idea of a ‘concierge’ who can help you to do stuff better.

MOJO

Finally, Mojo is not just a mortgage broker – I think of it more as a first-time buyer coach, particularly thanks to its MortgageScore™. It tells you how mortgage lenders REALLY see you and what you could do to improve your credit score.

But it’s pretty nifty as a mortgage broker too, promising to find the perfect match and sort it all out for you behind-the-scenes. Young buyers are going to need all the help they can get in accessing mortgages in the years to come, so make sure you download this if you’re a wannabe first-time buyer – you’ll need it!

You’ll find all these apps and many more in the #OpenUp 2020Challenge – check out its website and social channels to see what’s on offer.

There are loads available so have a look – I’m sure you’ll find at least one that’s right for you!

PLEASE NOTE: This article was sponsored by Nesta Challenges and the Open Banking Implementation Entity to help raise awareness of the Open Up 2020 challenge – something that Young Money is pleased and proud to support.

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