Do you really know how much money you have going in and out of all your bank accounts? Or would you just like a better understanding of your spending? Luckily for you, there are several apps out there that can help you keep track. Take a look at this Yolt review to see if this is the app for you.
10-second Yolt review
Not a bad app is quite customisable when it comes to setting budgets. But to get the most out of it, you will need spend some time setting up the features.
Believe it or not, there has never been a better time than now to have a bank account. Thanks to the switch guarantee, changing your current account couldn’t be easier. This has been great for us as consumers as it has meant that many banks have been clambering for our custom.
The likes of Halifax and Barclays pay you just for using them whilst Santander and Natwest give you cashback on many of your bills (although they do come with T&C’s).
Plus there are accounts like the Nationwide FlexDirect that gives you up to 5% interest on your savings. If you’re savvy (and have the time), there’s no reason why you can’t have multiple accounts and many people do.
I have found that although it earns me extra, having several accounts is much harder to keep an eye on. That’s why I thought I would give the likes of Yolt a try.
What is Yolt?
Yolt is an app that allows you to keep track of your banks accounts and credit cards through Open Banking.
Taken from their website:
We believe that staying on top of your money shouldn’t be a hassle. That’s why we built Yolt with a fresh approach, smart insights and easy actions, so you can make the most of life.”
Pauline Van Brakel – CPO
The app was launched in the UK in 2017 and has grown from 5 to 50 employees in that time and has also launched in France and Italy.
Benefits to the Yolt app
- See all of your accounts in one place.
- Set yourself personal budgets.
- Track your spending by a list of categories.
- Track your spending from payday to payday, rather than month to month.
- Pay your friends through Yolt.
Who owns Yolt?
Yolt has a little advantage over many similar finance apps – it is actually owned by ING Bank N.V. Although not quite so big in the UK, they have over 38 million customers across the world.
Is it free to use?
First of all, and probably most importantly, the Yolt app is free. Personally, unless I had millions passing through my account every month, I would never pay for this kind of app anyway. It’s not meant to change your life but make it slightly easier.
And, at the moment, there are no premium features to pay for either. Most financial apps offer you a basic service with some extras that you need to pay for. With Yolt, everything you see is everything you get.
Is Yolt safe?
Because Yolt is owned by ING bank, it is regulated by the Dutch authorities and can be found on the FCA register.
The app uses bank-grade technology to keep your data safe. Yolt only has read-only access to your financial data. Even if somebody was able to get hold of your phone with the Yolt app open, they couldn’t drain your account. The app does allow you to initiate a transaction from your bank, but when you do so, you will be directed to your main banking app to confirm your consent.
If you’re not familiar with external apps having access to your bank, it is known as Open Banking. It’s becoming more and more popular and you’ll find that even some of the major banks have Open Banking available on their apps, so you can see all your accounts in one place.
Which banks are supported?
There are currently 25 banks supported by the Yolt app.
- American Express
- Allied Irish Bank
- Bank of Ireland (Current accounts)
- Bank of Scotland
- Capital One
- Danske Bank
- First Direct
- First Trust
- MBNA Credit Card
- Marks & Spencer (Current account and credit cards)
- NatWest (Current accounts and credit cards)
- Nationwide (Current accounts and credit cards)
- Royal Bank of Scotland
- Starling Bank
- Tesco Bank
- Ulster Bank
This isn’t the easiest of processes. Because of the security around the app, they want you to prove that you’re really who you say you are. So, you will need to prove who you are by taking a selfie and a picture of some official documentation – for us in the UK, that’s either a passport or a driving licence. If you choose your licence, not only do they want a photograph of your document laying flat, but they also want it positioned at certain angles. This is actually far more trickier than it sounds, and I had to redo the process a couple of times. Taking a photo of the passport is far easier.
Apart from that, you will need to provide a mobile number to confirm your identity and that your accounts are being linked to your phone, which is simple enough.
When it comes to linking your current account, Yolt will redirect you to your banking app to enter your security details. This is a good thing as it means Yolt does not store your log in details.
The best bits of Yolt
Once your details are all in, you can start to customise Yolt depending on your needs. Do nothing and you’ll be able to see a list of all your accounts with a summary of the money coming in, going out and how much you have saved. Or often in my case, how much you haven’t saved.
If you fancy, you can start setting yourself various budgets. There are over 20 categories listed, including items such as cash, bills, groceries and transport. Clicking on one of these will tell you how much you have spent in the previous month and allow you to set a budget for the next month.
So if you find you keep withdrawing money from cash machines and spending it on burgers (I’m not sure who would do a thing like that), you can set a budget so you can keep a closer check on where and when your money is going.
You can ‘tag’ every transaction made from your bank account or credit card. For example, if you shop at Gregg’s regularly, you can tag it as lunch. This gives you a far more accurate breakdown of where you spend your money compared to some other finance apps.
There is also a handy bill tracker. Here you can see how much you’re spending on bills such as energy, mobiles and TV. You can set a reminder for when your contract is due to finish so you can look for better deals.
For those who have family or friends in foreign lands, you may want to take a look at Yolt’s “Send money abroad” option. Here, you can enter how much you want to send and to which country. Yolt will come back with the most cost-efficient company to use.
Some of the other benefits with the Yolt app that may interest you include:
Like similar apps, Yolt offers you the chance to earn cashback when you shop. All you need to do is click on your favourite retailer through the Yolt app, make a purchase and then wait for cashback to arrive.
If you haven’t used cashback sites before (where have you been!), retailers pay the cashback site a small referral fee which the site then passes on to you.
Once you have £5 or more in your rewards balance, you can exchange them for cashback vouchers.
You can usually earn somewhere between 0.5% – 7.2% for each purchase. Some of the retailers listed include:
- John Lewis
You will find better rates at some of the main cashback sites, but this is still worth considering.
Grow your savings
if you fancy getting a bit more for your money, Yolt provides a list of fixed term deposit accounts ranging from 3 months to 5 years. These are a great option if you have a bit of spare cash and the interest rates are very competitive. All the accounts listed are also protected by FSCS.
Invest your money
If you feel a little more adventurous and would like to see if you can get a better return for your money, then Yolt links to Wealthify, a company that offers several different types of investment accounts. These accounts can then be monitored from the Yolt app.
Switch your energy
Unfortunately, many of us stick with the same energy company year after year and probably pay far too much towards our bills. Yolt links to MoneySuperMarket so you can see if you can get a better deal. This is something you could do without the app and the fact is, Yolt will earn a commission if you change suppliers through them. They’re not too bothered if you find the best deal available as long as they get their referral fee.
You can often find decent deals for yourself if you look around. For example, you can earn £50 credit by switching to Octopus Energy.
You can apply for travel, car, phone and home insurance through the Yolt app. But the truth is, there is no guarantee that it’s going to be great value. It would probably be better to visit a couple of price comparison sites to find the best deals.
The job market has changed a lot over the last 50 years and many of us move between jobs, which also means building up several different pensions. Through Yolt, you can sign up to PensionBee, which will allow you to combine all your pensions into one place. Not only that, but you can track their value through the Yolt app.
Send money abroad
If you have friends or relatives abroad, you may know that sending money to them can be expensive. Yolt links to FXcompared, a company that compares different currency exchange services and finds you the best rate.
Problems with Yolt
I find the app far too time consuming. I really want something that is far more ‘set-up and go’.
I don’t want to spend my time tagging transactions into 20 different categories so I know where I’m spending. I know that you will get more accurate results this way, but really, I can’t be bothered. Not when you consider that there are plenty of other rival apps, such as Money Dashboard, that don’t require you to do this.
The app doesn’t work with all banks and financial services. I couldn’t link my Fidelity or Post Office savings account. However, this is slowly changing and after a year, I can finally link my Amazon credit card (handy tip: it pays me cashback every time I use it).
The option for finding the best rate to send money abroad may be useful for some, but I rarely do. Tracking bills is also a helpful option, but the Wonderbill app does this and is far more comprehensive.
What others say
Yolt has a rating of 4.2 out of 5 stars from 262 reviews on Trustpilot and is described as ‘great’.
Some of the positive reviews describe it as:
Amazing app and best in class support
Love being organised so Yolt is perfect
Improve your financial awareness
Whilst some of the not so appreciative reviewers say:
You cannot add custom categories
Poor… Money Dashboard is much better.
You won’t log in again, if you lost your phone.
My Yolt review conclusion
So, is Yolt worth it? The app provides a lot of options when it comes to setting budgets and you can customise plenty of aspects.
However, you will need to spend quite a bit of time setting it up to how you like it and you’ll probably end up not using a lot of the options.
The appeal of a budgeting app is to simplify your finances, not to get frustrated with trying to set it up.
On the plus side, some of my initial gripes I had with Yolt have disappeared over the last couple of years.
The app now syncs much faster to your accounts compared to when it was first released and it’s now compatible with more financial providers.
The other features that come with the app don’t provide much value though.
This is an app to consider, but there are better alternatives out there.
Yolt vs Money Dashboard
As I touched on above, Money Dashboard offers a very similar app to Yolt. And to be honest, Money Dashboard is far easier and looks better too. Yes, Yolt is more customisable, which might appeal to you. However, for me, it’s all about ease of use and this is where Money Dashboard wins it for me.
But, it’s all about horses for courses, so it’s worth you trying out both to see which you prefer.
Other apps like Yolt
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