PensionBee review

Find out how you can combine your pension pots into one easy to manage plan.

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PensionBee
PensionBee Pension

Pensions made simple with Pensionbee

  • Get total visibility of your pension
  • Combine, contribute and withdraw online
  • Protected by the FSCS
  • Your capital is at risk. You could get back less than you invest.
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Pensions can be pretty stressful, especially if you’ve had a lot of different jobs which all use different pension providers. Suddenly you’ve got a whole stack of paperwork and you have no idea how much you’ve got or where it is.

PensionBee aims to make pensions simpler by letting you put all of your pensions into one pot.

What is PensionBee?

PensionBee is a pension service which is designed to consolidate all your pension plans in one place. You can combine them all together with PensionBee and continue paying into one plan with either one-off or regular contributions. As usual, you get tax relief from the money you pay in, based on the amount of income tax you usually pay. You can choose between different pension plans and change it whenever you want.

When it’s time to retire, you can drawdown with PensionBee. This lets you withdraw the money from your pension. PensionBee tells you how much tax you’ll need to pay on your withdrawals, if applicable.

When you join, you’re asked to give as many details as you can about all the pension plans you currently hold, and the team at PensionBee will see if they can find it for you.

If you don’t remember who your current providers are (easily done), you can give PensionBee information about your previous employers. Then its experts will check its database to find your pension providers.

The website and app give you an overview of your plan with a balance and your projected retirement income, depending on when you plan to retire. You can also easily increase contributions should you wish to sweeten your retirement pot a little.

How does PensionBee work?

PensionBee tracks down all your old pension plans and transfers them into one easy-to-use pot.

How do I apply for a PensionBee account?

It’s pretty easy to combine all of your pensions with PensionBee, especially as PensionBee does it all for you. Here’s how:

  1. Sign up for PensionBee.
  2. Let PensionBee know about your old pensions.
  3. Confirm that you’re happy for your money to be transferred.
  4. Manage your new pension with PensionBee’s website and app.

You will need to decide which plan you want to follow. PensionBee does not provide financial advice so cannot recommend you a plan. However, if you can’t decide straight away which plan is for you, you can opt for PensionBee’s Tailored plan, which it says is a “popular option, as it moves your money into safer assets as you get older”. You can switch plans at any time, so no need to stress.

You can choose between seven investment plans, which are managed by some of the world’s biggest investment firms such as BlackRock, State Street and Legal & General. The plans are all sorted based on how risky they are and you can check out their numbered “risk/reward” profile which is on a scale of 1 to 7 (or 1 to 10 for the Future World plan). The smaller the number, the lower the risk to your investments. However, the higher the risk, the higher the return potential.

PensionBee’s plans are

Fund nameFund managerDescriptionRisk/reward score
TrackerState Street Global AdvisorsA simple and cost effective plan that follows the world indices.5/7
TailoredBlackRockA plan which moves your money into safer assets as you get older.3-5/7
4PlusState Street Global AdvisorsA plan for the short or medium term where assets are adjusted on a weekly basisN/A
Future WorldLegal & GeneralA climate-conscious plan which invests your money in low-carbon companies9/10
ShariahState Street Global Advisors A plan meant for people who only want to invest in shariah-compliant companiesN/A
PreserveState Street Global Advisors A plan that invests your money into creditworthy companies for short periods of time, with low risk and low returnN/A
MatchBlackRock A “smart” plan that follows the strategies of the wider pension industry4/7

If any of your old pension plans have guaranteed benefits or require an exit fee of £10 or more to transfer onto PensionBee, your own pension expert, fittingly named a ‘BeeKeeper’ will let you know.

You can set up personal or employer payments into your plan via direct debit, standing order or one-off payments.

Once your PensionBee plan is set up, you can access it at any time on the website or the app to see how it’s performing. If you have further questions and need to speak to one of the BeeKeepers, the company offers a dedicated customer service phone line or live chat.

PensionBee fees

All pension funds (except the state pension) charge an annual fee, although sometimes these are hidden in your annual statement.

PensionBee has a simple, annual management fee which can vary depending on the plan you choose. Unlike some other pension providers, it will not charge you an exit fee should you decide to move your investment elsewhere.

If your pension pot size is larger than £100,000, PensionBee will cut your fee in half on the portion of your savings over this amount.

  • Tracker and Preserve. 0.50% annual fee on balances of £100,000 or less, and 0.25% on any amount over £100,000.
  • Tailored. 0.70% annual fee on balances of £100,000 or less, and 0.35% on any amount over £100,000.
  • 4Plus, Future World and Shariah.0.95% annual fee on balances of £100,000 or less, and 0.48% on any amount over £100,000.
  • Match.0.60% annual fee on balances of £100,000 or less, and 0.30% on any amount over £100,000.

Your annual fee is charged in daily instalments, so you don’t have to pay the whole thing upfront. There’s a handy calculator on the PensionBee site to show you how much each plan will cost you, depending on the amount you have in your pension pot.

How do I apply for a PensionBee account?

Visit the website and fill out a few personal details, including your national insurance number and date of birth, which the ‘Beekeepers’ need to start finding your existing pensions.

You will need to decide which plan you want to follow. PensionBee does not provide financial advice so cannot recommend you a plan. However, if you can’t decide straight away which plan is for you, you can opt for PensionBee’s Tailored plan, which it says is a “popular option, as it moves your money into safer assets as you get older”. You can switch plans at any time, so no need to stress.

What’s on the PensionBee app?

What is a drawdown fee?

Drawdown is a more flexible way to take out your pension when you reach retirement. It means leaving the bulk of your money invested, and just drawing cash out as the need arises. Unlike annuity, this method does not give you a guaranteed monthly income, but can work if you have other means of supporting yourself.

From the age of 55, you’ll be able to take out up to 25% of your pension tax-free (as a lump-sum or in portions spread over time). The remainder will stay invested and you can take it out as and when, but be aware you will have to pay income tax on everything you withdraw over the 25% tax-free allowance.

Bear in mind that, if you choose to keep your money invested, your pension pot will continue to grow or reduce based on the activity of the market.

If you are aged 55 or over and sign up to a PensionBee plan, make sure you won’t need to withdraw all of your money within a year, as this will incur a fee of £480, regardless of your pension pot’s value.

Is PensionBee safe?

PensionBee is a secure company that has over 100,000 customers. It is covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, which means your pension is covered up to £85,000 if PensionBee cannot meet its financial obligations.

PensionBee is also bound by the rules and regulations by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the conduct of the investment business.

Pros and cons of PensionBee

Pros

  • Digital only. With access through the PensionBee website or app (available through the Apple store or Google Play), you don’t have to clutter up your home with lots of paperwork (and it’s better for the planet).
  • No exit fee. Should you decide to transfer your investments elsewhere, there is no penalty for leaving.
  • No extra fees. Unlike many other providers, PensionBee does not charge transfer-in fees, contribution fees, inactivity fees or commission.
  • Flexible access. You can take money out of your fund from the age of 55 if you wish.
  • Refer-a-friend bonus. PensionBee will put £50 into your pension pot if you tell a friend about it and they open an account. Your friend will also receive a £50 gift. There’s no limit to the number of friends you can refer.
  • No minimum contributions.

Cons

  • One pension plan limit. PensionBee will not offer a new plan for customers who do not combine all their old pensions within it.
  • Risk of drawdown fee. If you’re aged over 55 and decide to draw down the full value of your PensionBee fund within the first year of your account opening, you will be charged a £480 withdrawal fee, regardless of its value.
  • No public service pensions. If you have a public service pension (for example from the NHS, a school or the police), you are not allowed to transfer these pensions to a private service like PensionBee under government rules.
  • No international pensions transferable. If you have previously worked abroad and have a foreign pension, PensionBee is unable to transfer it.

The verdict

If you have several pension pots dotted around and would like to simplify your life by having them all in one place, PensionBee is a great option for you. With straightforward and fair fees and an easy-to-use app, it can take the headache out of managing your pension.

Where PensionBee falls short is for those with public service pensions, foreign pensions, or those over 55 who are planning to retire within a year (due to the drawdown fee).

You can visit the PensionBee website to check exactly how much its service will cost you using the annual management fee calculator, so there are no surprises.

Compare Pensionbee with alternatives

Table: sorted by promoted deals first
Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Minimum investment Choose from Annual fee Brand description
PensionBee Pension
No minimum
7 funds
0.5% - 0.95%
Pension Bee is a newbie in the pension market. It helps consolidate your pension plans into one place. Capital at risk.
Hargreaves Lansdown Pension
£100
2,500 funds
0-0.45%
Hargreaves Lansdown is the UK's biggest wealth manager. It's got three different retirement options. Capital at risk.
Interactive Investor Pension
£25/month
Over 2,500 funds
£10/month
interactive investor is a flat-fee platform, which makes it cost effective for larger portfolios. Capital at risk.
Saxo Markets Pension
Saxo Markets Pension
£10
Over 11,000 funds
No annual fee
Saxo Markets gives flexibility and control over your investment strategy. Capital at risk.
AJ Bell Pension
£1,000
Over 2,000 funds
0.05-0.25%
AJ Bell has two different pension options, a self managed pension and one that is managed for you. Capital at risk.
Moneybox Pension
£1
3 funds
0.15% - 0.45% charged monthly
Manage your money with an easy-to-use Moneybox app. Capital at risk.
Moneyfarm Pension
Moneyfarm Pension
0.35%-0.75%
7 funds
£1,500 (initial investment)
Moneyfarm has pensions that are matched against your risk appetite, goals and planned retirement date. Capital at risk.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Price per trade Frequent trader rate Platform fees Brand description
Fineco
£2.95
£2.95
Zero platform fee
Fineco Bank is good for share traders and investors looking for a complete platform and wide offer. Your first 50 trades are free with Fineco, until 30/09/2020. T&Cs apply. Capital at risk.
IG
0% commission on US shares, and £3 on UK shares
From £5
£0 - £24 per quarter
IG is good for experienced traders, and offers learning resources for beginners, all with wide access to shares, ETFs and funds. Capital at risk.
Hargreaves Lansdown Fund and Share Account
£11.95
£5.95
No fees
Hargreaves Lansdown is the UK's number one platform for private investors, with the depth of features you'd expect from an established platform. Capital at risk.
eToro Free Stocks
0% commission, no markup, no ticket fee, no management fee
N/A
Withdrawal fee & GDP to USD deposit conversion
eToro is good for social trading - letting you mirror the portfolios of other traders. Capital at risk. 0% commission but other fees may apply.
Interactive Investor
From £7.99 on the Investor Service Plan
From £7.99 on the Investor Service Plan
No transfer fees or exit fees. £9.99 a month on the Investor Service Plan
Capital at risk.
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Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Minimum deposit Maximum annual fee Price per trade Brand description
Hargreaves Lansdown stocks and shares ISA
£100
0.45%
£11.95
Hargreaves Lansdown is the UK's biggest wealth manager. It's got everything you'll need, from beginners to experienced investors. Capital at risk.
Interactive Investor stocks and shares ISA
£100 or £25 a month
£119.88
£7.99
Interactive Investor offers everything most investors need. Its flat fees makes it pricey for small portfolios, but cheap for big ones. Capital at risk.
Saxo Markets stocks and shares ISA
No minimum deposit requirement
0.12%
£8.00
Saxo Markets offers a wide access to a range of stocks, ETFs and funds. Capital at risk.
AJ Bell stocks and shares ISA
£500
0.25%
£9.95
AJ Bell is a good all-rounder for people who to choose between shares, funds, ISAs and pensions. Capital at risk.
Fidelity stocks and shares ISA
£1000 or a regular savings plan from £50
0.35%
£10.00
Fidelity is another good all-rounder, offering a good package at a decent price. Not suited for trading shares. Capital at risk.
Nutmeg stocks and shares ISA
£100
0.75%
£0
Nutmeg offers three types of portfolios. Choose the one that goes with your investment style. Capital at risk.
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All investing should be regarded as longer term. The value of your investments can go up and down, and you may get back less than you invest. Capital is at risk.

Frequently asked questions

warning iconWarning: The value of investments can go down as well as up so you may not get back the money you invest. Please ensure you understand the risks.

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2 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    JustinMay 19, 2019

    I know very little about pensions. I’ve been working for various companies and I know I have been paying into a few over the years (I’m 35). I’m currently working for a school for the past several months and wish to have everything all in this one. Could I use a service like pension bee to locate all my pensions, get them and put them into my current pension plan? How does it work?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JhezMay 20, 2019Staff

      Hello Justin,

      Thank you for your comment.

      Yes, PensionBee does the work in locating all your pension plans. They work like a tracker to all your old pension plans and transfers them into one easy-to-use pot. Please see more information about how it works above.

      Furthermore, another way to track your pension is to contact Pension Tracing Service or complete an online request form found in the gov.uk website.

      Regards,
      Jhezelyn

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