Are bills getting the better of you? Or are you just looking for a way to reduce your monthly spend? Then take a look at this Emma app review to see how it could help you.
Direct debits, standing orders, PayPal, credit cards and the list goes on. In ways, online banking has made our life easier, but it has also become far more complicated keeping an eye on all the transactions in and out of our accounts.
But with the advent of Open Banking, there have been several apps that allow you to combine all your accounts together and keep a better eye on your spending. One of these apps is Emma.
What is Emma?
Emma claims to be ‘Financial Advocate’. The app is owned by Emma Technologies Limited, a British company based in Lightwater. They were incorporated in 2017.
Taken from their website:
She helps you avoid overdrafts, cancel wasteful subscriptions, track debt and save money. Emma uses state of the art technology to analyse your personal finances and give you the power to make smarter decisions with your money.
Like all personal finance apps, Emma will require a few details before you begin. You will need to give your phone number so that the app can be linked to your phone. And, of course, you will need to link your bank account so Emma is able to analyse your spending habits.
Once you’re ready to go, setting up your budgeting needs is quite straightforward. Emma will show you a list of transactions and you just have to point out which is payday.
Then, it’s just a case of setting your own budget. Although you might be a little confused where to start, Emma tells you your average monthly spend and breaks it down into categories. You can then edit your budget to how you see fit.
Is Emma free?
Well, there’s 3 words I’ve never typed before and never will again. The good news is, Emma will not cost you a penny… unless you want a little bit more.
Like almost any app out there, Emma hasn’t been created just to help you. Of course, they want to make money. Emma offers a paid version of their app which gives you extra features.
Exporting of Data
The Legendary Pro Icon (iOS-only)
A monthly subscription will cost you £4.99 per month. Opt for a bit longer and a 6 month will cost £3.99 per month and a year subscription at £3.49 per month.
Any good reviewer would try this service out, but I’m obviously not a good reviewer. Looking at the options, there is nothing that stands out as being particularly useful. And when one of the features is an icon, it makes me think that they’re struggling to justify the benefits.
What banks does the Emma app work with?
Emma works with plenty of financial institutions in the U.K. including;
- First Direct
- Starling Bank
- Bank of Scotland
- Virgin Money
- American Express
Is the Emma app safe?
Emma has bank-grade encryption, so your data is kept secure. The company is also FCA and ICO registered and Emma only has read only access to your accounts. That means it’s unable to make any transfers or payments from your bank.
There is an option for a daily balance if you wish. So every morning, Emma will let you know how much you have in your account. Personally, that’s not a great way for me to start my day…
Unlike some other finance apps, Emma excludes transfers between your own accounts when working out your budget (there is an option for you to manually do this if it misses a transaction). This can be very useful if you shuffle money around accounts to take advantage of various banking bonuses. Otherwise, it can look like you are spending £10,000’s every month.
At the end of the month, there is a handy little slide show that tells you how you’ve got on. It will tell you all sorts of details such as if you’ve overspent, how you’ve compared to the previous month and where you spend the most.
Emma gives you the opportunity to link to your cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin which is quite rare in personal finance apps. However, the number of people with cryptocurrency is quite small, so this is only a benefit to a few.
Emma provides a list of subscriptions which are debuted from your current accounts. This is incredibly useful when you want to dig out whether you are still paying for a service which you thought you cancelled years ago.
There is a referral scheme… kind of. For every friend you recommend, you’ll receive a free month of Emma Pro. Not the most generous.
There are very few bad points for Emma.
I have daily notifications turned on, so that every morning I receive a message to tell me how much money I have in my current account. However, this balance is always a day behind. Not generally a big issue, but it could be if you relied on it.
Emma offers a reward programme, which sounds more exciting than it really is. This generally consists of taking out trials of a product and receiving some cashback for doing so. These trials will often cost more than the cashback, so it’s more of a discount than a reward. Plus, these ‘rewards’ are available at plenty of other sites, so they are not exclusive.
As I said above, I don’t think the paid subscription is worth the money, so this is something I would avoid.
My Emma app review conclusion
This is actually a very good budgeting app. It’s easy to use and has plenty of features. The only thing that’s missing is an option to make savings from your current account like some of its rivals (although it does link directly to Chip). Apart from that, Emma is certainly worth checking out.
Emma is available for Apple users
Or you can download for Android users
If my Emma app review has tempted you to try a finance app, why not take a look at my review of the best budgeting and personal finance apps.