Mastering the art of saving is fundamental to being in control of your finances. Whether you want to invest in a portfolio, put down a deposit on a house or pay into a pension, it all starts with being able to put money aside. That’s why I’m always on the lookout for for online tools and apps to make saving easier and more cost-effective.
From budgeting your money to choosing a mortgage, there are loads of hacks to help you manage your money. But, until now, there haven’t been any that are designed to help you save. But that’s all about to change because the UK’s first automatic savings app has just launched – and it really works.
It’s called Chip and it helps you to save in two main ways:
- by calculating exactly what you can afford to save each week, based on how much you’re spending; and
- moving the money into a separate savings account automatically.
The app is an ideal time saver for people who don’t want to spend hours working out their budget. It’s also useful if, like most of us, you sometimes struggle with the discipline of putting money away.
Chip is a chatbot which means the interface works like WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger. I’m a big fan of the GIFs and emojis, which give the app a friendly feel. You can select an instruction such as ‘save more’, ‘save less’ or ‘withdraw’, or hit ‘live chat’ to speak to a real human.
How it works
- When you sign up to Chip, you give it read-only access to see the transactions in your current account.
- An algorithm tracks your income and spending and uses the data to calculate the amount you can afford to save that week.
- Every few days, Chip transfers money from your current account to your Chip savings account via Direct Debit.
Special interest rate for early users
The app has just launched and the team behind it are giving away some great incentives to the first people to download the app and create an account. They’re offering a base interest rate of 5% plus an extra 1% for every friend you invite – up to 10%. Considering that interest rates are in the doldrums and you’re lucky to get even 1% on an instant access account with any of the major banks, it’s worth doing.
To take advantage of this deal, you need to click here – it takes you to a landing page where you can enter your phone number. You’ll then get a text from Chip with a link to download the app, and your number will be on a list of users who get the special 5% interest rate.
What about security?
Any financial product or service that wants your data should prove that it’s legitimate and safe. Chip is pretty upfront about its credentials, but I did some digging and read through all of the fine print anyway. This is what I found:
- Chip is an authorised agent of Prepaid Financial Services, which is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and has an e-money license.
- Your Chip savings account is actually an E-Wallet hosted by Barclays.
- Your data is encrypted with 256-bit bank-grade security and your details aren’t stored anywhere.
It’s no substitute for long term savings such as a pension, but Chip certainly makes life easier and it’s a great way to boost your short term savings. I love the chatbot interface and it’s really easy to use. The promotional interest rate is better than anything you can currently get from a bank or building society, which makes saving with Chip a no-brainer. To sign up with the 5% interest rate, click here to download the app.