Saving money can often be difficult and in some cases, a lengthy process.
Particularly when that voice emerges from the back of your head and convinces you to buy something you don’t need.
But what if I told you there is an app out there that automates your savings effortlessly, emotionlessly and does so in a data-driven fashion?
You would think I was smoking something until I told you it’s made possible by utilising artificial intelligence (AI).
Whatever your opinions may be on it, it turns out it’s really quite handy when it comes to helping you with your finances- as you’re about to find out in this Chip review.
What Is Chip?
Chip, as I alluded to in the introduction, is a money management app much like Yolt.
It was founded in 2016 with the goal of automating and ultimately simplifying money management, particularly when it comes to saving.
Much like Plum, Chip utilises AI to help you save and manage your money.
By leaving your finances in the hands of AI, you also remove the emotional component of money management.
No need for that persuasive voice in your head now!
All jokes aside, Chip must be doing something right because they are popping up all over the British Bank Awards.
Although they didn’t win any awards this year, Chip was highly commended when it came to customer service (second to Triodos Bank).
And perhaps more interestingly, got an honourably mention when it came to The Best Personal Finance App (won by Money Dashboard).
(History Lesson: Chip won the Best Personal Finance App in 2019)
You can view the results in all fields via the British Bank Awards.
How Does Chip Work?
Chip works via an app in which users who sign up, can set preferences that influence their algorithm.
It then merges this information, with data from the bank accounts that you link to chip to create a saving plan for your situation.
What I mean by this is AI works out what is the optimal amount you can put aside safely without impacting your day to day life.
This is the core component of Chip and why it can be so helpful for a lot of people.
It sounds like a great financial partner so far doesn’t it?
Before we take a look at Chip’s features, let’s just take a quick look at how you would sign up and set your preferences.
Sign Up Process
(Note: If you have already signed up, skip this part of the Chip review)
To sign up to Chip, you first need to download their app which is available on both IOS and Andriod devices.
After you’ve downloaded the app, click on it and you’ll be greeted with a series of slides.
Once you’ve looked through them, you can then press ‘get started’.
From here you’ll fill in your phone number and confirm it via a code.
Then you need to fill in some personal details for your account and agree to Chip’s terms.
Verify your identity, then connect your card and you’re all set up!
Perhaps the most interesting part of this Chip review is the features the app provides.
When you are in a competitive space like personal finance, you need to separate yourself from the rest.
You’ll soon see for yourself that Chip has given it a good go.
The foundation of Chip, as we discussed earlier on, is automatic saving.
It’s not hard to see that having a tailor-made, automated saving plan helps you save.
The rate at which you save is entirely up to you and can be controlled via the savings settings.
Click on ‘autosave level’ and from here you can choose the number that best suits you at that current moment in time.
You can set up a date and amount in which Chip can automatically move money into your account.
Simply head over to the saving settings and click ‘payday put away’.
From here you can input your payday whether that be monthly or weekly and set the amount.
After you press ‘complete’ guess what?
If you ever need to save up to pay your overdraft, you can do it with chip.
Just set a limit your comfortable with Chip moving for you and they’ll store it till you need it.
This feature helps people pay off their overdraft in one payment.
To activate this, just go down to the saving setting and click ‘overdraft saves’.
Move the slider, set the amount and you’ll now have overdraft saving active.
chip gives you more control over your saving by utilising the ‘minimum bank balance’ feature.
if you don’t want to see your account go below a certain figure, just input an amount and Chip will disable saving.
This will only happen if you go below the balance you set, otherwise, it will continue to automatically save.
To turn this feature on, move down to saving settings, press ‘min. bank balance’ and set an amount.
If for whatever reason you want to pause automatic saving, Chip allows you to do this quickly and easily.
Set the period of time for which you would like Chip to pause saving, whether that be a week, month or other.
After confirming, you won’t have to worry about money being taken from your account in a period where you may need it all.
Setting yourself savings goals for events such as holidays or even rainy days is a great way to reward yourself.
Not only are you rewarding yourself but you’re actually incentivising saving, which can only be a good thing!
Similar to Starling Bank‘s feature ‘spaces’, users can set a target sum to achieve by a certain date.
To do so, move along to the goals section, click ‘create a goal’ and name it.
Choose an amount and you’ll then be greeted with a notification to say your goal was created.
There are further customisation options such as a display image for your goal and automatic saving percentage.
It’s always useful to know the ins and outgoings of your account, a sentiment obviously shared by Chip too.
Your money will fall into one of these 4 categories:
The report can be accessed by clicking the green arrow underneath your balance.
You’ll then see a clear, visual display of what you’ve been doing with your money (including prior months).
A great way to promote your company is to have a referral program where users can share their links with friends and family to join.
If someone successfully signs up through your link, they receive a reward.
In the case of Chip’s referral program, everyone that signs up via a referral link will receive £5 in their chip account.
To refer someone, click the invite button in the top left-hand corner of the home screen.
Open your contact book and you can start referring from there!
Is Chip Safe?
Chip is now regulated by the FCA as an authorised payment institution.
This news has come fairly recently (march) and is a big boost for the company, opening many doors for them.
The goals of the FCA are:
- To safeguard customers
- Enhance the integrity of the Uk financial system
- Promote healthy competition to improve public service
This means your money is protected by a series of safeguards.
Chip is also proud of its 128-bit encryption software that protects data.
It should be noted that Chip is not protected by The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).
The FSCS reimburse money to customers in the event of a company going bust but does not protect funds classed as ‘E-money‘.
Chip uses the E-money firm Prepaid Financial Services, which creates what’s known as a ‘ring-fenced Barclays bank account.
(Note: Ring fenced refers to a type of account in which the funds can not be used for trading activities)
So in short, your money is safe and this recent FCA approval means that the next milestone is an FSCS protected savings account via a partner bank.
It’s 100% free to get started with Chip and there is no charge to open an account.
There is, however, a small fee if you utilise the AI.
If you automatically save over £100 in a 28 day period, Chip charge £1 (likely to increase to £1.50 soon).
Anything below £100 is absolutely free and manual saving can be activated with no charge at all if you were deterred by the small fee.
Pricing plans, according to an article written by Chip, will be hopefully be launched in the coming months.
The company wants to introduce a 3 tier system i.e free tier, standard tier and a premium tier called ‘ChipX’.
(Note: When this system comes to fruition, I’ll be sure to update this portion of the Chip review and give my take on it)
According to Chip’s profile on Trustpilot, the company has an overall rating of 4.5 from over 400 reviews.
Here’s a quick look at the distribution of ratings.
As you can see from the image above, the majority of Chip reviews are classed as ‘excellent’.
Here’s a summary of the positive reviews:
- It actually helps you to save
- Easy to use
- Innovative idea
Ratings of ‘bad’ makeup only 16% of the reviews and tend to talk about these few things:
- Withdrawal times
- Issues surrounding customer service
So all in all when looking at the Chip reviews collectively, the response to the app is largely a positive one.
Conclusion Of This Chip Review
Now this Chip review is drawing to a close, here’s my take on the app taking into account my experience as well as others.
The app was created with its main purpose being to help people save.
The overwhelming majority of users, including myself, think it does that.
By automating the process with AI, it allows people to get on with their lives whilst Chip is saving for them in the background.
So in that respect, yes the company is a success and has achieved what they set out to do.
However, money management is a competitive space and there are a wide arrange of other apps and even banks that are great in this field.
Chip, in comparison to the competition, could be considered rather simple because it remains true to saving.
Revolut, for example, has many saving capabilities (budgeting, savings goals) but also has the functionality of a bank, allowing investing etc.
So if you are happy with an app that JUST helps you save, then Chip is a great option.
If you are looking for a bit more than that, there are plenty more options out there, many of which I have reviewed.
Here’s a shortlist of the money management apps I have reviewed:
These app-only banks also are big competitors in the money management space:
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