The smart money management app by Plum includes one or more Easy Access Interest Pockets. Plum’s AI assistant analyses your spending, and gathers up small amounts little and often. This is a painless way of saving money, which happens while you are not even thinking about it. Interest accounts are provided by Investec Bank.
What I like
- A saving guide – Plum actively encourages saving and calculates the optimum amount to put aside, using information safely gleaned from your bank accounts. This could be a good thing for some of the 11.5 million British people who have less than £100 in savings (source: MaPS, 2018).
- Optional saving – the Basic package is free, it costs nothing to give it a try, and gets you started on finding money every month to stash. Plum Plus and Plum Pro offer Easy Access Interest Pockets. Plum Pro offers multiple Pockets for different savings goals.
- More than saving – paying a monthly fee for Plus (£1) or Pro (£2.99) gives savers the opportunity, should they wish, to begin investing savings as well (please note, as with all investments, your capital is at risk). Plus and Pro offer many additional tricks and features.
- Money robot – Plum checks through your monthly bills and, where it has the necessary information, it alerts you if you are paying too much. (You should, of course, always do your own research as to whether you are paying too much and not rely solely on Plum.) The Lost Money service also handles the process of switching, This way, the app is finding extra money for you to save. Plum users can save up to £180 a year on bills.
- Saving ‘moods’ – in Shy mode you begin to save a modest amount, all the way up to Beast mode where you can hoard to the max.
- Frugal – Plum will round up transactions to the nearest pound, then tidy away the change which soon mounts up.
- Rainy Days – you can opt for Plum Pro to add a little extra to your savings every day that it rains where you live.
- Motivational ideas – you can save £1,378 in a year on the 52 Week challenge
- Responsibility – being supported by Plum in keeping on track with savings is a relief for anyone who finds financial juggling stressful.
What could be improved
- Availability – before downloading the app you might have to save for a new phone. You can’t use Plum with anything older than iOS 13. It’s possible to download similar apps on older phones. Unlike some budgeting tools and savings accounts, it’s not on the web.
- Accessibility – there can be a delay of up to 24 hours when accessing funds from an Easy Access Interest Pocket. Other than that there are no restrictions on withdrawals.
- Users have reported a delay when money is transferred from their current account to Plum’s E-wallet.
- Customer Service – while users can chat to someone virtually via the app, personally I find there’s no substitution for the face time you’d get with a customer services representative at a bank or building society.
- Fee paying – there could be more clarity about how additional benefits justify the monthly cost of maintaining a savings account through Plum. With rates currently ‘up to 0.40% interest (AER)’, some tangible financial gain should be evident so that monthly fees from the Plus or Pro accounts don’t appear to cancel out interest earned. However, it’s worth noting that the free Plum account offers users up to 0.20% AER.
- If you regularly have little disposable income after essential bills and food, or none, the app may be inappropriate for you.
How does it stack up?
With monthly fees, using Plum’s Easy Access Account might seem less savvy than opening a traditional savings account, and opting for a free budgeting tool as well. However, ease of use has to be a deciding factor in Plum’s favour, and the free Basic plan coaches you to put money aside, an essential first step, and a good place to start building this habit.
Plum automatically untangles the jumble of present and future bills – freeing up more money for savings. Regardless of interest rates, you could save more with Plum without any effort or mental arithmetic. Choosing an Easy Access Interest Pocket with Plum ensures that there is less disconnect between spending and saving.
The difference between opening and managing a conventional savings account, and using Plum, is the addition of Behavioural Science. Those of us who have tried and failed to modify our spending behaviour will appreciate Plum’s virtual coaching. Plum encourages a sense of community among its users – savers are referred to as Plumsters.
It’s wise to compare Plum with other apps providing easy access savings. Thanks to open banking there is a wide array of AI assistants waiting to get their virtual hands on your bank account, organise it for you, and deposit the excess as savings. It is possible to find apps offering higher interest rates, lower fees, or a range of different features.
Plumsters recommend the app mainly because it transforms them from a spender into a saver, and builds savings using small unnoticeable amounts. Plum has an informative presence on Facebook, where it began.
- Residents in the UK, and the Republic of Ireland, can use the app.
- You must be aged 18 years or over.
- The app is available for iPhone and Android only.
- You must have at least one bank account.
- There is no minimum or maximum deposit. Amounts less than £85,000 in Easy Access Interest Pockets are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.
How to apply
Simply download the app. Set up the link your bank account, and choose Basic, Plus, or Pro.
Is the Plum Easy Access Interest Pocket right for you?
Plum appeals to the generation who prefer to access all financial information on their mobile. Anyone who defiantly uses cash for everything, or budgets on the back of an envelope, might find it hard to adapt.
The app is for people who struggle to establish savings. The moneywise may not need the regular prompting. and prefer to shop around for higher interest rates – good for them.
Money management can be very stressful. The Plum app is for anyone who needs a hand to hold and help to boss their budget.
If you are saving for something specific, Plum will give you the psychological support and financial wizardry to reach your goal.