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.

Explain Portify to me in three sentences

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). This is called Flex Finance and you access it by paying for Portify’s premium option, Portify Prime. For £6.99 a month, you can 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. You can only use Flex Finance every 14 days.
  • 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 is working on a few new features, including a more traditional loan product that will also help you improve your credit score. There is also a “quiz” section in the app, where you’ll be able to brush up on your financial knowledge and take part in prize draws offered by sponsors.

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 – some features still haven’t launched and 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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