Just 14% of people manage their money with apps

By Roger Baird on Monday 11 March 2019

Savings and Investment

Customers are more likely to use a pen a paper than a personal finance app to keep tabs on their money.

Less than two in ten people with a smartphone use it to manage their money.

Just 14 per cent of adults use personal finance apps, such as Yolt and Money Dashboard, to keep their personal finances in order, according to a report.

It adds that people are more likely to use a pen and paper (48 per cent), or a spreadsheet (42 per cent) to track spending, said a survey by London-based fintech consultancy 11:FS.

People who do use personal finance apps are likely to use them alongside spreadsheets, notebooks, and even jars and pinboards “to stitch together” a picture of their finances, said the report, called Jobs to be done of Personal Finance Management.

Safety net

These apps first appeared with the 2010 launch of Money Dashboard, the survey said, but by 2016 a number of digital banks, such as Monzo, Starling and Revolut, had integrated money management features into their service.

The low usage of these apps by customers suggests “there’s still a long way to go”, said the report, adding that digital money management apps are only “one per cent finished”.  

However, the advent of Open Banking, could boost the take up of money management apps, according to the report. A change in European Union law at the start of the year ushered in Open Banking, meaning consumers can allow businesses, other than their bank, to access their financial data.

This will allow these personal finance tools to bring together different customer accounts onto a single app.

Two key things customers want help with are managing recurring bills and living costs and building up “a financial ‘safety net’”, the report said.

It said: “Customers are usually good at tracking major regular outgoings (e.g. rent, mortgage), but they often lose track of the multitude of smaller ones (buying lunch, coffee or going for a drink).”   

Emergency cover

Many customers also “struggled to build up a buffer to fall back on for emergency cover”.

The report said money management apps that want to boost their take up should upgrade their user experience to include such features as “a bird’s eye view of their finances” and clarity on incomings and outgoings.

It added that “gamification elements” on an app are useful, for “rewarding good habits” and “making mundane tasks fun”.

The survey was based on 1049 interviews with a representative sample of adults between 18 and 65 who own a smartphone.

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