YNAB review

We take a closer look at this personal budgeting software.

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YNAB
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HSBC Advance Bank Account

HSBC Advance Bank Account

  • £125 reward when you switch your main current account (from non HSBC-Group products)
  • Minimum arranged overdraft of £1,000 on account opening
  • Earn 2.75% AER / gross interest with the linked HSBC Regular Saver
  • Fee free international transfers and no monthly fee

You Need a Budget (YNAB) is a fintech app that’s crossed the sea from the United States. YNAB is a budgeting app. And while it’s not the first fintech app to help you control your spending and saving, it is certainly one of the most detailed.

We’ve reviewed it to help you decide whether that level of detail is just what you need.

What is YNAB?

YNAB says that “with just four simple steps” you can rein in your budget. YNAB provides a straightforward system to help you understand your income and outgoings and plan ahead for bills, holidays, insurance and the unexpected.

How does YNAB work?

YNAB works from an app on your smartphone; you link your bank accounts to the app.

Registration and account set-up are as simple as advertised. It takes less than 15 minutes to fill in your personal details, set your budget and list your expenses. The app itself balances depth and functionality well, coming with five tabs including:

  • Budget. This is the meat of the app. A breakdown of your income and the different directions it’s heading in. If you have provided a detailed breakdown of your budget, YNAB can lend you a hand in making sure you’re keeping up with your financial responsibilities.
  • Accounts. From here you can sync bank accounts to YNAB and view accounts you have already linked. If your bank isn’t listed on the YNAB app, which is currently the case for many UK banks, you can enter your bank balance and details manually.
  • Transaction. Record a transaction on the YNAB app, give a description of what it’s for, when it cleared and for how much. This is then considered alongside your budget.
  • Settings. Self-explanatory. From here you can edit your budget settings, start a new budget, view your account details, read FAQs and write reviews.

Using YNAB abroad

YNAB isn’t a current account, so you won’t be spending money through it whether you are at home or abroad. However, YNAB can help you save for your holiday and keep you from overspending while you’re away. You can start a new budget exclusively for your time abroad, and YNAB will notify you to help you stick to it.

If you're travelling abroad

If you are heading overseas and are thinking about travel money, head to our travel money section for the cheapest deals on foreign currencies, or to our travel section for tips on how to get cheap flights!

YNAB fees, limits and pricing

As mentioned above, YNAB doesn’t offer a current or savings account and so doesn’t come with a long list of fees and limits. YNAB charges a monthly subscription fee of $6.99 (or about £5.20), so less than your Netflix or Amazon Prime subscription. YNAB also offers a 34-day free trial, so you can try before you buy.

Is YNAB safe?

YNAB has a number of measures to keep your details safe. First, your information is kept behind a password of your choosing, which is then secured by industry-level encryption. Your data is only held for a limited time, and all account-pairing technology is of the highest standard.

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Data indicated here is updated daily
Name Product Ratings Interest (AER) Arranged overdraft Key benefits Link Representative example
We say
★★★★★
You say
★★★★★
0%
39.9% EAR variable
£125 when you switch
Go to site
Current account switch service guarantee badge
Plus earn 2.75% AER / gross interest with the linked HSBC Regular Sever
To be eligible for HSBC Advance, customers will need to pay in a minimum of £1,750 per month or £10,500 over 6 months and must qualify for a minimum £1,000 arranged overdraft. To be eligible for the £125 switching offer, customers must switch from a non-HSBC Group current account product. Other T&Cs apply. Representative example: If you use an arranged overdraft of £1,200, you’ll be charged interest at 38.9% (0% EAR variable on first £25, 39.9% thereafter).
We say
★★★★★
You say
★★★★★
0%
15% EAR variable
Award-winning current account, apply in minutes
Go to site
Current account switch service guarantee badge
No fees for spending or withdrawing cash overseas - currencies are converted at Mastercard’s standard exchange rate
Representative example: If you use an arranged overdraft of £1,200 you'll be charged interest at 15% EAR variable.
We say
★★★★★
You say
★★★★★
0%
39.94% EAR variable
Interest and fee free overdraft
for first four months when you switch
Go to site
Current account switch service guarantee badge
Up to 15% cashback at a range of major retailers
Representative example: If you use an arranged overdraft of £1,200 you'll be charged interest at 39.94% EAR variable.
We say
★★★★★
0%
N/A
Guaranteed acceptance plus a credit building feature
Go to site
Account fee of £5.95 per month.
We say
★★★★★
0%
N/A
Guaranteed acceptance
Go to site
Current account switch service guarantee badge
Earn cashback on your purchases when you shop through the ThinkMoney rewards portal
Account fee of £10 per month or £15 per month.
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Pros and cons of YNAB

Pros

  • In-depth breakdown of your income and outgoings.
  • Customisable and detailed budgeting help.
  • Manually or automatically enter your bank accounts and balances for YNAB to help you manage.
  • Helps to keep you on top of your financial responsibilities.
  • Helps you understand your net worth and the current size of your budget.
  • Prioritise your spending to customise your experience.
  • Available on-the-go.
  • Safe and secure.

Cons

  • Currently not optimised for use in the UK.
  • The app cannot pair with many UK banks.
  • Hefty subscription fee.
  • Slightly busy user interface in comparison to other budgeting apps.

What other options are available?

YNAB is a great tool to help you bring your finances under control. While it is available in the UK, you might struggle to pair your British bank accounts with the YNAB app.

However, you can manually enter your account balance and details which will allow you to use the app’s features properly. It is important to remember that YNAB cannot work miracles, and it requires effort on your part to stick to the budget!

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