So ING has just launched a smart money app called Yolt, and I was given the chance to try it out before everyone else. I tell you what – it’s a game changer. Long story short, not only did make it really simple to see what money I have, but how I’m spending it – it even found a direct debt I thought I had cancelled in 2013!
A lot of you will know that I’ve had some major financial changes in the last six months. I was made redundant from my job and bought a flat in London on the exact same day.
Since then I have become a self employed blogger and journalist and am getting to grips with sorting out my money (and not doing the best job if I’m honest – so was hoping Yolt would help!).
What is Yolt?
It’s a totally free app for iOS and Google Play users, that puts all your bank accounts and credit cards in one place. It lets you see what shops you’re spending your money at and allows you to set budgets and plan for upcoming debits.
I was also told by its PR that it will be adding new features to the app, such as energy price comparison (and switching). The grand plan is to be able to check on and organise all your finances in one place.
My experience of the app
I’m not very technically minded and I can never remember my 52,000 passwords – so going to be honest, was not looking forward to setting it up. I generally will give something two minutes of my time before I ‘Hulk Out’ and refuse to look at it again if I can’t work it. It’s fair to say i’m not patient when it comes to this kind of thing.
The app itself is bright and really easy to use. You’re asked to put in your basic details and pick a five-digit pin number (which shook me, because aren’t PIN numbers usually four digits – ahem, the year you were born?!)
It asked me to put in my TSB account, which I kid you not took nine attempts. This had nothing to do with Yolt, but because I have so many password protected accounts, with different passwords and usernames, I kept getting it wrong. Luckily, it didn’t lock me out. Phew!
Once in, and could see how much was in my account (urgh!) and more shockingly what I was spending my money on.
So on the main page of the app, it tells you your balance and how much you have to spend until your payday (which you enter manually).
Now I don’t have a payday being self employed, but in my invoices, I tend to ask for money at the end of the month, which was an option I could enter. This main section is called a ‘Smart Balance’ which is an estimation based on past transactions and the balance of your current accounts and credit cards which are known to Yolt.
Once you scroll down a bit, you can see your daily insights which today has told me that money has come in (phew) and from where. There’s a look at the week which includes:
- Incomings, outgoings and savings,
- Top categories (mine were travel, groceries and eating out),
- A direct debit I thought I had cancelled four years ago and
- My top merchants from last week (Southern Rail, Sainsbury’s and Uber).
The app then breaks the spending down into top categories for the month. I spent the most on shopping, groceries, eating out and travel. You can click on these to breakdown the numbers even more, seeing what you have spent. I wish I could have shown you its all on trips to Monaco and Champagne, but it’s literally bus journeys and spinach… hardly glamorous!
In regards to the top merchants this month, I’ve spent £158 at Sainsbury’s. What I don’t like about this is Sainsbury’s is my local shop. This £158 isn’t me doing a proper monthly shop, this is me running in and picking up stuff pretty much every day. It’s really highlighted how I’m wasting money and need to change my shopping habits.
The ‘actions’ section of the Yolt app lets you organise your bills and budgeting.
Currently, you can monitor your bills and subscriptions and set and track your budgets. When you click on the bills section, up pops the money you’re spending on bills. You can then add information to each ‘bill’, such as the payment cycle and renewal date (so you can switch to something cheaper), which the app will alert you to.
When it comes to tracking your budgets, you can pick a category. If you click on bills for example, it tells you what you spent last month. It then (using the info it has on you), takes off that £45 (or whatever number you put in) and tells you what you have left to spend this month.
Yolt also tells me that last month I spent £195 on leisure, so I’m going to budget for A LOT less this month because I need to get on track with my money and need to start saving.
What I honestly think about Yolt
I’m not afraid of dissing an app or financial product on my blog. I’ve done it many times in the past and i’ll do it again.
However, I absolutely love Yolt. There are apps that organise your money, but I’ve never found them that user friendly and frankly, I don’t use them.
I’m no different to most of you. I try and be smart with my money, but keeping up to date with numerous bank accounts and spending isn’t easy (and sometimes I can’t bear to sign in and check).
This does a really good job of highlighting what you’re spending, how much you have left as well as budgeting.
I really wish it had existed a couple of years ago when we started properly saving for a deposit on a flat. I remember spending ages scouring both mine and my partner’s bank accounts to see what we were spending money on and where we could save. It’s literally all here for you now.
I’ve been really thinking about what I don’t like the app – and there isn’t a lot. In an ideal world, I’d get a push notification when I was paid and when looking at my incomings and outgoings, I’d prefer it if the numbers representing money coming in and out were different colours rather than shown by a minus sign. It’s not a big deal, but would make checking your details at a glance a lot easier.
Another thing I noticed is that it’s not filled full of adverts, and i’m not being pushed to switch or buy something – which is often the case with these kind of apps. I know they will be bringing in the ability to compare bills, so hopefully Yolt will be delicate about selling new deals.
Overall, I wouldn’t be without this app now. I like that the more it gets to know you and your spending, the more it can predict future spending and income – and let’s be honest, the less financial surprises the better.
If you are someone who is always saying ‘I need to sort my money out’, the first thing you should do is download Yolt.