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Micro-saving and investment

Micro-saving and investment


Muckle is passionate about long-term savings and investment moneyboxbut it’s deuced difficult for millennials – those initially targeted by automated investment managers – to scrape by, let alone set money aside.

 

Most acknowledge the benefits of investing even a little over a long period of time, and the beneficial effects of compounding are well documented; now, hot on the heels of services like Acorns and Stash in the States, there is a new series of apps in the UK helping those with little spare cash to start saving or dip a toe in the investing pond.

By linking to a debit card, micro-saving and investment apps allow the user to transfer money into a savings account or sweep ‘virtual change’ following a purchase directly into an investment portfolio in a way that is as painless as it can be.

With a minimum investment of £5,000, some robo-advisers are off limits to very many under-35s; micro-investment apps make it possible to ‘round up’ the £2.80 purchase of a cup of coffee on a contactless bank card to a £3 charge, with 20p swept into an investment fund; this really is ‘look after the pennies….’.

Here is a very brief overview of the apps available - for more detail scroll down and select the ones you are interested in:

Who?What?Where?
moneybox micro-investingiOS and Android app that allows users to round up everyday purchases and invest the 'change' in a stocks and shares ISA investment Visit site
Analyses your spending patterns and transfers an amount you can afford into a savings accountVisit site
iOS app that allows you to set goals and save towards them; social saving as wellVisit site
A smartphone money management solution for children that also allows micro-savingVisit site

Over time regular small investments build up into something larger — 20p a day builds into £6 a month, or £72 per year; better than nothing and, according to advocates of micro-investing the beginning of a savings and investment habit that will grow alongside a millennials’ earnings.

More than 80% of the UK population don’t save because they don’t have any disposable income (BlackRock); 9.61m households in the UK have no savings at all (The Money Charity) and 16m people have less than £100 saved (MAS).

Micro-investing is the way to increase the amount people save by making it easy for people to save very small levels of money; this ‘nudging’ – to ‘not do nothing’ – is at the heart of the micro-saving and investing ethos, investing loose change without really thinking about it.

It is hoped that by making it as easy to invest in the stock market as it is to purchase something from an online store, many more people will embrace the habit of saving and investing.

Anything millennials manage to invest will benefit from compounding – time in the market, not timing the market – and once saving and investing becomes a habit, the increasing totals will feature on a mobile phone screen to savour.

Fees are important as some of the new micro-investing products will have proportionally higher charges than some conventional investments.

When student debts dissipate and millennials start to reap the benefit of their ‘graduate professional premium’, then switching to a more mainstream investment platform may be better value; if the UK follows the US lead, it seems that there will be a plethora of micro-investing platforms in the future – almost certainly becoming more ‘intelligent’ and digitally frowning at the wisdom, or otherwise, of our purchasing habits.

Most banks will have apps to allow users to see a consolidated view of their finances and to a man the robo-advisers have mobile friendly services; here Muckle looks at some of the options that are available:

 

Moneybox at a Glance
Edit
What is it? An iOS or Android mobile phone app
What does it do? Allows purchases to be rounded up to the nearest pound and the change invested
Who is it aimed at? Tech savvy millennials or those with relatively little to spare but wanting to start to invest for their future
What does it invest in? Three risk balanced portfolios of cash, equities and property, rated as 'cautious', 'balanced' or 'adventurous'
What account types does it support? General Investment, ISA, Junior ISA, Lifetime ISA (coming soon)
How much does it cost? £1 per month subscription fee 0.45% of invested funds platform fee 0.23% fund charge
Muckler's view Any initiative to get people saving and investing is to be applauded. With relatively small amounts of cash invested it will take a while to build a significant pot and fees as a percentage are relatively high on the journey. Easy to be cynical, but if it engages the next generation of investors Moneybox will have served an important function.
  Visit Moneybox
Explore Moneybox

 
 
 
 
Moneybox is an app on your phone that rounds up your transactions to the nearest pound, and invests the difference for you.
 
moneybox
Users are required to link a card to the app and use it for all spending that you want to round up; an account can be opened with just £1 and the app is supported by iOS and Android.
 
Users can select from a General Investment Account or an ISA; a Junior ISA is also available (although currently only iOS) and a Lifetime ISA is 'on its way'.

Moneybox is authorised and regulated by the FCA and is covered by the FSCS up to £50,000

'Spare' change is invested in either a General Investment Account (which is limited to £20,000 per week!) or a stocks and shares ISA that invests in 'over 6000 global companies'.

There are three portfolios on offer, each made up from the same three underlying tracker funds in Cash, Global equity and Property.

moneybox

The portfolios are Cautious, Balanced and Adventurous:

  • Equity allocations range from 10% to 60%.
  • Property allocations range from 5% to 35%.
  • Cash allocations range from 85% to 5%.

Graphs display past performance based upon each asset allocation:

moneybox

What are the fees?

You pay £1 a month to Moneybox as a subscription fee, with the first 3 months free.

  • You pay 0.45% of your invested funds as a platform fee.
  • Then you pay around 0.23% on top of that to the fund providers (depending on your mix of funds, which depends on the portfolio you choose).

Moneybox points out that its clients typically invest into its three funds each week meaning that its fees work out at 7p per trade.

The £1 per month is charged per product so a GIA and a Stocks and Shares ISA would be charged at £2 per month.

As an indication, on £10K invested your total fees are £80 a year, or 0.8%; not insignificant, but neither prohibitive.

The challenge is for users to sweep enough into their investment account for it to make a significant difference; the range of round up is between 1p and 99p per transaction, so at an average of 50p a time, and two transactions a day, the amount to invest totals just £30 a month - £360 a year, gross.

From that £30 a month the subscription fee of £1 is deducted as well as 20p in fees - so a net contribution would be just £28.80 per month, taking 30 years to accrue £10,000

Muckle applauds Moneybox in its attempt to engage with the next generation of savers and investors, but the challenges it faces are primarily down to scale; saving a few hundred pounds a year is rarely the way to financial freedom.

However, its relatively simple construction and engaging mobile app will find some fans, and the addition of a Lifetime ISA could give it a following.

Overall, amounts invested need to be significant for its fees to make sense in percentage terms, but Moneybox may be a good way to engage millennials whilst they find their financial feet.

 

 

Visit Moneybox
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Chip at a Glance

 

 
What is it?An iOS or Android mobile phone app
What does it do?Analyses your spending patterns and calculates how much you can afford to save
Who is it aimed at?Millennials that want to establish a savings habit
What does it invest in?Currently Chip only offers a savings account but more financial services will follow
What account types does it support?Chip savings are held in a Barclays savings account
How much does it cost?Chip is free to use; interest is earned at 1% of funds saved plus 1% per introduced friend up to 5% p.a.
Muckler's viewChip is a good entry level product designed to improve millennials' relationship with money.
At 'free' its hard to quarrel with its fees and future developments will be interesting

 

Visit Chip

Explore Chip

Chip is a ‘millennial-friendly’ automatic savings app focuses on young people’s greatest challenge – saving Chip connects to the user’s online banking, analyses their spending and calculates how much they can afford to save without having an impact on their day-to-day spending.

That money is then automatically moved into their Chip savings account.
The app was created in response to the clear need for change in the ways young people manage their money; its mission is to make saving money as effortless as spending it.

An estimated 21% of millennials have gone into an unarranged, and therefore very expensive, overdraft; Chip’s creators aim to help millennials get their finances in better shape.

Chip has a chatbot interface which positions it well for Facebook Messenger’s Bot Store but also enables Chip to communicate with users via friendly, informal messages and enthusiastic use of emojis and GIFs.

The positive relationship that is created between Chip and its users has led to an extremely high 64% conversion from those installing the app to creating an account.

Whereas technology plays an important role in managing people’s money and investments, Chip is designed specifically to empower people to save more money and can be activated in just a few minutes.
A Chip savings account, where a user’s money is held, is a virtual account in the user’s name held at Barclays, and it also works with Lloyds, Natwest, Nationwide, RBS, TSB, Halifax and First Direct- it is available to download now in the App Store and Google Play.

Chip claims high levels of security and doesn’t store your login details; When Chip makes a saving for you, it tells your bank to instruct a Direct Debit payment from your current account to your Chip savings account.

The app is free to download and it does not charge any fees, so the cost is also something you won’t need to worry about.

Key to its success will be how well its algorithm works to identify when you have spare money to save and Chip is so confident in their ability to calculate exactly how much you can afford to save that if it transfers an amount that causes you to go in to overdraft, they’ll replace the money immediately, pay your bank’s charges and deposit a £10 savings bonus to your account.

The app allows you to select from a range of pre-set instructions - ‘savings’, to check your balance, ‘spending’, to see how much you’ve spent that month, and ‘live chat’ to speak to a real person.

You can also tell Chip to ‘save more’, ‘save less’, ‘pause’ or manually ‘save’ up to £150 per day.

You also have the option to ‘withdraw’ your money any time, and move it back into your current account. Chip allows you to earn 1% for every friend you refer - up to a maximum of 5, which is more than competitive with most savings accounts.

Chip is FCA regulated and has plans to further develop its offering a range of financial services (inter alia overdrafts, forex, personal loans) to help the customer have a ‘happier and healthier financial life’.

 

Visit Chip

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Folio at a Glance

 

 
What is it?An iOS (Android pending) mobile phone app
What does it do?Allows you to set goals and make savings on a regular or ad hoc basis by debit card; it allows friends to save together
Who is it aimed at?Millennials that want to establish a savings habit
What does it invest in?Currently Folio only offers a savings account
What account types does it support?Folio savings are held in a Barclays savings account
How much does it cost?Folio is free to use; no interest is earned on saved funds
Muckler's viewFolio is a good introduction to saving and allows friends to save together for shared objectives.
It is attractive if a little one-dimensional and it will be interesting to see it develop.

 

Visit Folio

Explore Folio

Folio is an iOS micro savings app designed to make saving fun, simple and personalised.

Folio tailors and automates users’ savings around specific goals.folio micro-saving

It is the first platform that lets friends save together, and the only service that lets them set aside as little as £1 a day.

On Folio, users can create saving “goals” tailored for things they care about – be it a
holiday, a new smartphone or a ticket to a gig – and save for them daily, weekly, or
monthly.

Folio collects the money for each goal at the user’s chosen frequency, safely holding it in a separate 'wallet' (within a Barclays bank account), until they reach their goal.

It is an innovative way of making saving social and letting friends save together for
a collective goal.

It is quick and easy to download the app and users can begin saving in minutes, and with just a glance, see everything they’re saving for.

CEO and co-founder Marvyn Halfon said: 'We came up with Folio to help a new generation of millennials save for the things that truly matter to them. The current saving tools aren’t
adapted to needs of the next generation and today many young people find it harder to
save for bigger purchases. Folio allows savers to make small but frequent savings for exactly what they want'

 

 
nimbl at a Glance

 

 
What is it?A smartphone money management solution for children that also allows micro-saving
What does it do?Parents add money to a pre-paid MasterCard and can monitor a child's spending
Who is it aimed at?Primarily 8 - 18 year olds, but there is no age restriction
What does it invest in?nimbl currently only supports pre-funded spending and micro-saving
What account types does it support?nimbl is a pre-paid debit card powered by MasterCard with contactless capability
How much does it cost?nimbl is free for thee months, and then charges £10 per child per annum
Muckler's viewA simple and secure way to pre-fund a child's spending and micro-saving is a good way to improve a child's relationship with money.
nimbl's commitment to financial education is to be applauded

 

Visit nimbl

Explore nimbl

nimbl is a smartphone solution for parents and children to make money management easier. Parents can transfer a set amount of money to their children and will then receive a breakdown of what they bought via their own Mastercard debit card. 

The app is aimed at children aged between 8 to 18 years, but there's no age restriction.

The application has two sections; one for parents and one for children. Parents add money to their account via bank transfer or from a debit card. They then transfer this money to their child's account.

The child can pay for items with their own debit card, which works with both contactless and pin payment.

Parents receive a notification each time their child spends money. They can also set limits on their spending, see a detailed statement of how much they have spent and on what, and lock the card altogether – a safety feature to be used if it’s been lost.

There's an annual fee of £10 per child and a household can have up to four cards.

nimbl also aims to get children into the habit of saving by allowing them to round up purchases and put the change into a savings account. Every time your children spends with their nimbl card an amount chosen by them will be transferred automatically into their nimbl savings.

By making savings easy your children will soon learn the benefits of regular saving and managing money responsibly.

Nimbl is passionate about improving financial education and includes a large number of articles written at a level designed to engage young people with savings and investment.

 

Visit nimbl