The 5 best budgeting apps you can use at the moment

Here are the best budgeting tools to help you see how much you're spending.

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Updated April 8th, 2020
Name Product UK ATM withdrawals Foreign ATM withdrawals Ratings
Revolut (Standard)
£200 free monthly
£200 free monthly
We say
You say
App-based current account with loads of extra features. (e.g. Real time transactions, payment categorisation, save spare change, free international money transfers, buy cryptocurrency)
Starling Bank
We say
You say
Everything you get from a current account, but with new features for mobile living. (E.g. Goals for saving, spending catgorisation, interest on your balances)
Free up to £200 (Curve Blue) or up to £400 (Curve Black)
Curve simplifies your finances by connecting all of your accounts to one smart card, letting you manage all transactions through the app.
Cashplus Activeplus
£2 unless with the deluxe plan
£3 with current accounts. No ATM fees with traveller card.
Current account and Mastercard - all managed from your phone. Also comes with a creditbuilder option.
£200 free monthly
We say
You say
Monzo is free to spend anywhere in the world and in any currency, with no fees. All money is exchanged using the MasterCard rate.

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Whether you’re living month to month, in debt, or saving towards a goal, everyone needs a budget.

Luckily we’re living in the space age now! There are loads of cutting-edge budgeting apps that will help you manage your spending. Some apps just look pretty, while others will tell you off for buying too many lattes, remind you when a bill is due, or take money and quietly stash it in a savings pot without you noticing.

We’ve rounded up what we think are the best apps out there so you don’t need to do too much leg work.


Yolt - The smart money app | Free, simple & easy to use‎

  • See your accounts in one place & stay on top of your money
  • Connect your current accounts, savings, credit cards, pensions, and investments
  • Backed by ING Bank
  • Download for free on iOS or Android

Why should I use a budgeting app?

You don’t have to. You could whip up a financial modelling spreadsheet instead to track your incomings and outgoings each month using an array of formulae…! You could even update your spreadsheet every day and keep hold of receipts and track your expenses.

Or if you’re a bit lazier, you could download a budgeting app today and it could take care of all of that for you.

The real benefit of these apps over manual budgeting and traditional banks is simplicity and ease of use.

The other benefit is that the apps are mostly free!

While some charge a fee, many banking apps don’t (such as Revolut, Monzo, Starling, Monese). For no money, you can visualise your spending on-the-go and in real time.

Picture not described: digitalbanking-1.png Image: Getty

If they’re free, how do banking apps make money?

A lot of banking apps are drawing in customers with free services, and the companies plan to diversify later with more traditional banking products (such as savings accounts, mortgages, loans, overdrafts). These products provide the apps with potential revenue in the future.

Some apps are partnering with other fintech startups, to cross-sell each others’ services. Head to our news section for the latest developments in digital banking.

What about regular savings accounts?

If you’re looking for interest on your savings, then these apps might not be for you. Though savings accounts might not be for you, either. Interest rates have been low for years, and that doesn’t look likely to change.

Low interest rates have played a part in driving people away from big banks and towards these newer startups.

While a few do offer interest (see below), most don’t.

The way these apps help you save is by acting as pocket accountants, automatically categorising transactions so you can budget better. If you think you’re spending too much on eating out, then take a look at the cold hard numbers. Some apps even provide graphs and charts to ram home the message.

In terms of helping you save up, apps like Revolut and Cleo use algorithms to work out how much you can afford to squirrel away. If you choose, they’ll also automatically transfer the money to a savings pot.

Which of these apps can I earn interest from?

Longer-term savers may be looking to earn interest from their savings pot. A number of these money apps don’t currently offer interest. However, there are some options.

Tandem offers a fixed savings account. Check out our Tandem review to find out more.

Starling offers some interest, so it’s definitely worth considering.

So does Monzo, but you need to be able to put aside at least £1,000 to open a Savings Pot.

Moneybox is an easy and simple investment app which works by rounding up your transaction to the nearest pound and investing the spare change in a share portfolio.

Nutmeg or Plum also offer investment options.


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