Portify review 2020

We've tried out this new money app for gig economy workers. Here's what we thought of it.

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Portify

The freelancer’s life can be ideal, offering great flexibility and the freedom to juggle different personal and professional commitments. But it can also turn into a real nightmare when it comes to managing your workload and your finances or applying for credit.

New app Portify tries to help with that, offering a range of money tools and finance options to gig economy workers. It can be especially useful if you work for one of Portify’s partner companies, in which case you’ll get access to its complete range of features.

What is Portify?

Portify is a finance app for freelancers and gig economy workers. It offers budgeting tools and a finance option that you can access no matter what your credit score looks like. It mostly works by partnering up with gig economy platforms, which then offer it to their workforce, but you can also sign up directly.

How does it work?

You need to download the app and create a Portify account. You’ll then be asked to connect your bank account(s) to Portify, granting it permission to access your banking data in read-only mode. Features include the following:

  • A solid budgeting tool. It categorises your spending and income, tracks your expenses, gives you nice little “financial reports” with insights on your spending behaviour, tells you if your balance is likely to go below zero and analyses your cash flow. It’s really easy to use and to personalise.
  • A finance option (cheaper than a payday loan). You can access this by applying for Portify’s premium option, Portify Plus, which costs £7 per month. You can then borrow up to £250 for 30 days with no credit checks. Since gig economy workers often have irregular incomes that can make it hard to improve their credit score or access other forms of credit, Portify assesses your eligibility by looking at your banking data instead.
  • Exclusive discounts at selected retailers. At the time of writing, these include Tesco and Starbucks among others. You can only access these if you work for one of Portify’s partners though.

Portify plans and fees

Portify currently offers two tiers of membership plan, with both offering the Portify Credit Boost. With the Portify Plus account, you can also get access to interest-free loans up to £250, but will need to meet Portify’s affordability checks to be eligible.

  • Portify (basic) plan: £4 per month.
  • Portify Plus plan: £7 per month.

Portify features

FeaturePortifyPortify Plus
Credit score building
Low balance alerts
Spending tracking
Financial wellbeing quizzes
Prize drawsx
30-day interest-free protectionx

Portify Credit Boost

This is a new feature that lets members build their credit file by using their Portify membership fee as a regular payment that is then reported to Experian as a credit repayment. Your membership plan is structured as a 12-month contract, with each monthly membership fee treated as a repayment on this contract, which demonstrates that you are capable of making payments on time, potentially boosting your credit score. It is available on both Portify and Portify Plus plans.

Who is behind Portify?

Portify was founded in 2017 by Sho Sugihara (CEO) and Chris Butcher (CTO). They met through Entrepreneur First, a company and programme that encourages experts in various tech fields to found their own companies.

In December 2019, Portify secured £7 million in funding. Investors include Entrepreneur First and VC firms Kindred Capital and Redalpine.

What’s good or bad about Portify?

Pros

  • The app has a good range of budgeting features that really help you figure out how much you earn, spend and save every month.
  • Portify’s finance option is cheaper than many payday loans.
  • You could qualify for finance even if your income isn’t very high and your credit score isn’t great.
  • Features are really tailored to gig economy workers and their financial needs.

Cons

  • The app is still very new, and sometimes it shows – the overall experience could be smoother.
  • The monthly fee isn’t that cheap if you consider that you can only borrow small sums.

Is Portify safe?

Portify is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and all your banking data is encrypted.

Portify accesses your accounts in read-only mode, which means you can see your balance and transactions on the Portify app, but you can’t move your money or make payments.

Am I eligible for Portify?

Anyone can download the app, connect their bank accounts and use it as a budgeting tool.

Eligibility criteria for the finance option are as follows:

  • You must connect your main bank account to Portify and use it frequently.
  • You must have at least 60 days of account history on your bank account.
  • You must meet a minimum income threshold.

The bottom line

The Portify app brings together a range of features that can be useful for gig economy workers and is nicely tailored to their needs. The app still needs a bit of work, but all in all, it does a good job of predicting your expenses and cash flow and helping you stay on top of it.

The financing side of it has its pros and cons. It won’t always be cheaper than an overdraft, especially after the FCA’s ban on fixed overdraft fees. On the other hand, you’ll need to pass a credit check to get an overdraft, so this may be an easier option. Always keep in mind that there is no such thing as free borrowing – Portify doesn’t charge any interest, but the fixed fee is still pretty costly compared to the borrowed amount.

Frequently asked questions

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