Life is full of unpleasant financial surprises, from the car packing up to the boiler giving up the ghost. The trouble is that a large number of us don’t have any savings to turn to when those unexpected bills come in. A study by Skipton Building Society earlier this year found that around a quarter of us have no savings at all.
This not only makes it harder to deal with those nightmare expenses when they pop up, but also prevents us from being able to go on that dream holiday or finally put down a deposit on a house of our own.
Thankfully, even if you aren’t that great at budgeting there are now a host of services which basically do the hard work for you, helping you squirrel some cash away on a regular basis without even noticing it’s gone. Chip Chip is a clever free app that has read-only access to your bank account, and monitors your usual spending habits.
From here it essentially works out how much you can afford to save, based on the way you generally spend your cash and regular commitments. Then every couple of days it asks if you want to transfer spare cash to your Chip account – an account in your name which is fully protected and ‘hosted’ by Barclays . You can opt to manually transfer cash into the Chip account if you’re feeling particularly flush too, cancel any proposed Chip transfers or simply pause the service at any time too. If you have something specific that you are saving towards – a holiday perhaps – then you can set a ‘goal’ in the app, and Chip will calculate how long it will take to put that money aside.
It’s important to note that the money in your ‘Chip stash’ won’t earn any interest, at least initially. But you can earn 1% for every friend you invite to try the service, valid for a year, up to a maximum of 5%. Chip users can withdraw cash from their account at any point if you need it, though you’ll need to do it before 2pm on a work day for the money to return to your normal current account the same day. What’s more, Chip’s maths boffins are so confident in their algorithm that if the app makes an automatic transaction that drops you into your overdraft by mistake, the firm will chuck a tenner into your account as an apology.
First Published by the Standard