The rise of money-saving apps.



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Do you have trouble budgeting? Are inflation worries getting you down?

The latest craze in the fin-tech industry could be of help to you. Money-saving apps such as Plum, Cleo & Acorn, make the process of saving money much easier and have been growing exponentially.

Many have complicated relationships with money and don't have the time to manage their spending, let alone have time to budget. Others just may not know where to start. Apps such as Plum, Cleo & Acorn tales the pressure off users and provide a stress-free and effective way to manage your money.

Most money-saving apps use freemium as their business payment model, in which a company offers users basic or limited features at no cost and then offers an upgraded service for an additional fee. However, the additional fee is usually a monthly subscription cost between $1.99-$5. As different money apps offer users different benefits, if opting for the subscription option it is important users research which app would be appropriate for them and their needs.


The money-saving app Plum is free if you want the basic version that allows you to take advantage of AI savings features. If you require more budget benefit features, Plum offers Plum plus, pro or ultra at £1.99, £2.99 or £4.99 a month.

Plum uses an investment 'robot' for your phone that analyses your spending and there is an additional feature that helps you to find better deals on household bills.

Recently Plum has added a widget feature for iOS users, this is to make the process of keeping track of your finances easier, without even having to open the app you can see what is in your customizable saving pots. Plum is one of the first financial apps to offer a widget feature in the UK. The widget feature adds a layer of customisation and aims to help keep customers on track with budgeting and their finances.

According to Airnow Data sources, Plum's daily active users (DAUs) have been consistent over the past year with a monthly average of over 30,000 with over half of the users coming from the United Kingdom.


Similarly to Plum, Cleo's basic version of their app is free, with this you can track your spending, save money and manage your goals. Cleo is an innovative app that connects directly to your main current account and then provides analysis and insights into your spending habits. Cleo also has an AI chatbot feature to ensure your money and budget journey is effortless.

When it comes to the user base, Plum is one of the biggest, with over three million registered users, compared to Plum’s one million.

And like the others, there is also an option to sign up for the premium service. The Cleo+ service gives users the ability to manage their salary and even get cashback offers, for just £5.99 a month.


Acorn takes a slightly different approach to saving money, instead of tracking and budgeting your money, Acorn has a more long-term approach to saving money: through investing.

Acorn has two types of investment accounts: for individuals and families, coming at the cost of $3 and $5 dollars a month.

There are a variety of features included in the various Acorn accounts, on top of the plethora of great nuggets of financial advice that are dotted all over the app, for example:

  • Acorn allows you to Automatically invest spare change. If you choose to opt-in, you can invest as little as $5 at any time or regularly into a portfolio of ETFs.

  • Acorn’s retirement account lets you automatically save for retirement by setting up easy Recurring Contributions - and gives you recommendations on which plan is right for you.

Acorn advertises towards a slightly older audience who need a saving nudge rather than beginners.

According to Airnow Data sources, over the past year global DAUs have been hovering around a more than respectable 500,000 mark across Android and iOS.

Which app do we like best?

There are positives and negatives to all money-saving apps, and finding the ‘perfect’ app for you depends on what you need.

One thing for sure is that, thanks to rising inflation, this market is only going up, and consequently app developers, publishers and studios alike should all be aware of this growing category. We have already covered the rise of another category in the fin-tech space - digital banking apps, and their dramatic impact on the banking industry. With this in mind, one would be foolish to underestimate the rate of growth of money-saving apps and their potential impact on the industry and modern society as a whole.