If you’re looking to keep a tighter leash on your spending and want help saving, then Oval Money may be worth considering. Although it’s not my favourite money app it has some great features and you can claim a free £5!
Oval Money claims to be a free app that helps everyone be “money wise”. Not only does the app allow you to track your spending, but it also allows you to save money too without lifting a finger.
Like all other money apps, you will need to link the app to your main bank account. If you have other bank accounts or credit cards, you can link these too. You’ll also need to provide a phone number and email address for security purposes.
Signing up wasn’t the easiest process as I was unable to find my nationality. I tried under British, U.K. and English without any luck. In the end, I had to choose Gibraltar. But after reading reviews of the app on iTunes, I discovered I wasn’t the only one.
Is Oval Money safe?
I know safety is a major concern for everybody when it comes to these type of apps. After all, it was only a couple of years ago that banks were telling us never to share our banking details with anybody else – especially 3rd party apps. However, there has been some backtracking on this recently. In fact, many banks seem to be promoting Open Banking now.
But how safe is your money?
Taken from the Oval Money website:
Your savings are stored in a segregated account at Barclays. Neither Oval Money, our partner MangoPay, nor the bank have direct access to the funds in your account. As an FCA regulated institution, we are subject to strict requirements and monitoring and your savings are safeguarded as per the Electronic Money Regulations 2011 and the Payment Services Regulations 2009. In case of insolvency, you will be able to claim access to the funds in your account.
So, if Oval Money or MangoPay should go out of business, you can claim your money back from Barclays. But, if Barclays went out of business too, you would probably lose your savings.
How does Oval Money work?
The app will monitor the money going in and out of your accounts. It will provide a breakdown of how much money you earn and where it is spent. This information is provided to you in the form of a rather snazzy pie chart.
The chart is broken down into categories such as Home and Family, Goods, Food and Drink, Leisure, Fees, Transfers and Other.
Now the clever part. You can set the app to save money when you spend n certain categories. For example, you could set the app to save 10% every time you spend money on clothes. At the end of the week, the app will calculate how much you have spent and send 10% of this money to your e-wallet.
You can even link it to your health app. At the moment, 50 pence is transferred out of my account every time I complete 1000 steps.
So it’s really useful then?
Well, I’m not sure how accurate the app really is. For example, in July my total earnings came to £100 but my expenses came to £11,988.21! Apparently, I spent £1733.29 on food and drink and £2150.99 on my Home and Family. Rather disappointingly, I only spent £13.30 on Wellness (although I have no idea what this is).
If I spent that much in a month, I would quickly run out of money!
Saving with Oval Money
I use other apps, such as Money Dashboard, to keep an eye on my accounts so monitoring wasn’t one of the main features that appealed to me. What really interested me was the option to save money.
Being able to spend and save at the same time seemed like a great idea. I decided not to change any of the money-saving settings to see what would happen.
In the space of 14 days, the app took £97.59 from my account. Now, I’m not a wealthy man, so this seemed like a fairly substantial amount.
So, I adjusted the settings so that I wouldn’t be declared bankrupt within a few months.
Since then, Oval Money has been far more reasonable when taking from my account and has actually led to me building up a nice little sum.
Investing with Oval Money
Like many other personal finance apps, Oval Money now gives you the chance to invest your money. The investment products are called ETNs (Exchange Traded Notes).
There are several choices of funds you can invest in, which offer varying returns.
As you can see from above, the Creative Thinking fund increased in value by 14.77% over the last year – far more than a cash ISA would have earned. Although when working out how much you can earn, you need to consider that you will have to pay a 1% management fee for your investment.
Although ETNs offer the potential of greater returns compared to a normal savings account, your capital is also at risk. Investing is something I often do, but only with an amount I’m willing to lose. Always check you know the risks before investing.
My Oval Money review conclusion
This isn’t my favourite money app, but it’s worth considering. The budgeting side didn’t help much, but I’m a fan of how the savings work and the investments have worked well for me so far.
Plus, if you use the code PCVMV8U when you join, we both receive a free £5. And who can say no to free money? Please note though, Oval only pays the bonus once you have made 6 automatic transfers.Join Oval Money >>
And on the subject of free fivers…
Cleo is a rival app to Oval Money and well worth checking out. They will also pay you £5 for joining.
Other alternatives worth looking at are Money Dashboard and Chip. The former allows you to keep an eye on all your accounts and spending, whereas the latter automatically saves from your bank account. But the Chip app also pays you interest, which can be as much as 5% and makes more financial sense.