Best investment apps
Want to manage your money, invest on the go, and better understand your finances with just your smartphone? Look no further than our selection of the best UK investment apps.
As we gradually shift towards a world where you control your whole life through your smartphone, it’s not surprising that there’s now an armada of apps that promise to help you with your investment and financial needs. To help you work out which deserve a place on your homescreen, here’s our pick of the top 5 UK investment apps.
Best investment apps
|Moneybox||iOS, Android||£1 monthly subscription fee|
Platform fee - 0.45% of investment value per year
Fund provider fees - 0.12% - 0.30% per year
|A simple and straightforward way to invest on the go|
|Hargreaves Lansdown||iOS, Android||Platform fee - between 0.45% 0.1% of investment value depending on amount invested|
Additional fees depend on investment activity
|Taking full control of your investment portfolio from your smartphone|
|Wombat||iOS, Android||Free account (total investment under £1,000):|
No subscription fee
No platform fee
Fund provider fees, payable monthly
Standard account (total investment over £1,000):
£1 monthly subscription fee
Platform fee - 0.45% of value invested
Fund provider fees - monthly charge of 0.07% to 0.7%, depending on investment themes selected
|Novice investors who want to invest in specific sectors|
|Moneyhub||iOS, Android||£1.49 a month, or £14.99 a year||Brings together your bank accounts, savings, and investment accounts to help you stay in control of your money|
|PensionBee||iOS, Android||Annual management fee of 0.50% and 0.95% of total investment amount (fee varies depending on chosen investments)||Combining pensions accounts and easily investing for your retirement|
So, whether you’re new to investing, an experienced pro, or just need help getting on top of your finances, there’s an investment app out there for you.
If you’re thinking about investing but don’t know how to go about it, Moneybox is a great place to start. Its central feature is the ability to round up your everyday purchases to the nearest pound, then invest the rounded up amount. So, if you buy a croissant for £1.50, Moneybox would round that up to £2 and invest the 50p left over. You have control of the process through the app, and can decide which purchases you want to round up. If that sounds like too much hassle, the app automatically rounds up any purchases you haven’t made a decision on after 48 hours (this can also be turned off in the settings).
In terms of where your money goes, you can choose from three different investment options: Cautious, Balanced, and Adventurous. As you’d expect, both the risk and potential reward rises with each level – for example, the Cautious plan is 40% invested in cash, while the Adventurous plan is 80% invested in shares. All three of these plans are comprised of tracker funds in order to limit charges.
And the price of all this convenience? There’s a standard £1 monthly subscription fee, fund provider fees of between 0.12% and 0.30% per year, plus a platform fee of 0.45% of the investment amount (which covers the cost of Moneybox trading in and out of different funds and other operating costs). So, as a very rough guide, you can expect to pay a total fee of around 1% per year – a relatively low figure that reflects the automated nature of the investment process.
All in all, Moneybox is a great option for the novice investor. The app is easy to use, the investment process is easy to understand, and the fees are reasonable and straightforward.
One of the UK’s most popular investment platforms, Hargreaves Lansdown offers a premium service at a premium price, and its investment platform offering includes a fully featured mobile app for investing on the go. One of the key selling points of the service is the range of investments offered – as well as over 3,000 funds, you can easily invest in UK shares, bonds, exchange traded funds (ETFs), and investment trusts. You’re also not limited to the UK, with some European, US, and Canadian shares offered for more specialist investors.
The app is also packed with info to help you invest wisely, from fund and share factsheets to global market reports and currency rates. Handily, you can access all this without signing up to Hargreaves Lansdown, so it’s a great way to develop your knowledge of the current investment climate.
As with any serious investment platform, the fees are rather complex.
There’s a basic fee that varies significantly based on the total amount invested, as detailed below:
- Investment of £250,000 or less – 0.45% of total investment amount
- Investment of £250,000 to £1m – 0.25% of total investment amount
- Investment of £1m to £2m – 0.1% of total investment amount
- Investment above £2m – no charge
On top of this, any investment in shares and investment trusts attracts an additional charge of 0.45% of the relevant investment, with this charge capped at £45.
In terms of trading charges, fund dealing is free. Dealing in shares, investment trusts, corporate bonds, or ETFs costs £11.95 per trade, although this charge is reduced if you trade more than 10 times per month.
Finally, regular monthly investing in shares and some investment trusts costs £1.50 a month, while dividend reinvestment is charged at 1% (with a minimum charge of £1 and a maximum charge of £10).
There’s no denying this is complicated, but the financial industry loves to wrap itself in impenetrable jargon, so that’s not really a surprise. It won’t appeal to novice investors, but if you’re an experienced investor or eager to learn, the Hargreaves Lansdown app is an essential download.
Like Moneybox, Wombat is targeted at novice investors – the main difference is that you have more control over what you invest in. Instead of just selecting an investment plan based on the level of risk, you can choose from 15 different themes, each of which specifically targets a selected sector by investing in a specialised exchange traded fund (ETF).
Select the British Bulldog theme, for example, and you’ll invest in the iShares Core FTSE 100 UCITS ETF, which replicates the performance of the FTSE 100 index of the 100 leading shares in the UK. This means you’ll be investing in household names like Tesco, Next, Vodafone, and Rolls Royce. If you prefer to be on the technological cutting edge, then The Techie invests in the likes of Apple, Google, Facebook, and Tesla. It’s a good idea to invest in multiple themes to ensure adequate diversification, but you’re free to change your selections whenever you want.
Wombat’s charges depend on the amount invested. All accounts up to £1,000 are free – in practice, this means that you pay no subscription fee and no platform fee, and only need to pay the fees charged by the ETF providers. Invest over £1,000 and you’ll pay a £1 a month subscription fee. You’ll also pay a monthly platform fee equal to 0.45% of your total investment, as well as ETF fees.
Wombat also has a big focus on financial education, with its website hosting articles and videos which simply explain the often complex world of investment.
With a simple, low-cost fee structure and its relatable investment themes, Wombat is perfect for inexperienced investors who want to experiment with investing in particular sectors, instead of just choosing a portfolio based on investment risk.
Moneyhub is not an investment app per se, but this financial planning tool is a great way to get on top of your incomings, outgoings, and the performance of your investments.
First, you’ll need to add all your accounts: Moneyhub covers a huge range of bank accounts (everyone from Barclays to Handelsbanken), credit cards, savings accounts, mortgages, pensions, and investments. Once you’ve done this, Moneyhub will keep track of your financial activity, automatically categorising your spending into things like shopping and utilities so you know what you’re spending and where you can save.
You can then set a realistic budget for each category, get alerted with how well you’re sticking to those budgets, and ensure you have enough money set aside for saving/investing every month. You can also see accurate forecasts of your future financial activity, and even find a financial adviser who will offer you personalised advice based on your data.
To provide these services, Moneyhub operates on a subscription model. Subscribe through the website and you’ll pay £0.99 a month or £9.99 for a year, while an app subscription costs £1.49 a month or £14.99 or a month (with Apple pocketing the extra). Regardless, your first month is free, so you can try it and see how you get on.
Moneyhub claims that it needs to charge for its services because it doesn’t sell your data, but competing free apps like Emma and Yolt also make similar promises. Emma also offers a paid service called Emma Pro, while Yolt make commission based on the offers promoted in the app – so it’s up to you to decide which business model you prefer. However, even if you do pay for Moneyhub, it’s unlikely to make much of a dent in your finances.
To invest wisely, you need to make sure you have a good understanding of your financial situation – and Moneyhub is a great way to get on top of your finances and plan for the future. This makes it a worthy download for anyone who wants to manage their money more effectively.
Let’s face it – pensions are, at best, a necessary evil. They’re complicated and hard to follow, and it’s kind of understandable that most of us don’t bother saving beyond the minimum amount until it’s way too late. PensionBeen aims to fix all by allowing to easily combine all your different pensions and managing the whole thing from your smartphone.
The way it works is that you transfer all your existing pensions to PensionBee, and these are then combined into a single PensionBee pension. This lets you easily keep track of exactly how much you’ve got saved away for your retirement, and easily increase or decrease the amount you save every month. What’s really useful though is the retirement planner – this takes your pension savings and your desired retirement age, and clearly shows how much you’d have to live on per year and how long your pension savings will last you. PensionBee also offers great guidance on how tax will affect your pension savings, including a drawdown calculator that will show you exactly how much you can withdraw and when you can do so. Finally, there’s a dedicated UK customer service team, and you’ll have your own account manager (or “BeeKeeper”) whenever you need a bit of help.
Of course, all this comes at a price. The difference is that PensionBee prides itself on transparency, and therefore you’re just charged one annual fee of between 0.50% and 0.95% of the value of your pension. Exactly what you’re charged depends on what investment plan you pick: PensionBee offers a total of 7 plans, ranging from a simple plan that invests in tracker funds to plans that invest in environmentally friendly businesses, or Shariah-compliant companies.
If your pension is worth more than £100,000, then you’ll pay a lower percentage, with the amount over £100,000 charged at half the normal rate. To get a better sense of how this works, imagine you have a pension pot of £200,000, and are on the tracker plan (normally charged at 0.5%). You would pay the first £100,000 at 0.5%, then the extra £100,000 at 0.25%, giving a total annual charge of approximately 0.38%, or £750. The plan providers PensionBee works with (Legal & General, BlackRock, State Street Global Advisors, and HSBC) also incur transaction costs, but these are very low – typically around 0.02% – and therefore shouldn’t significantly impact your returns.
PensionBee is a great service, demystifying the often opaque world of pensions and allowing you to control everything from your smartphone. It’s straightforward, easy to use, and makes saving for your retirement a doddle.
Investment app benefits
There are a number of benefits offered by all the investment apps discussed above, and investment apps in general. The main advantage is convenience – investment apps allow you to manage your finances from your smartphone, instead of a confusing mix of website, phone, and perhaps even face-to-face appointments. Because they don’t need this physical infrastructure, many investment apps also offer investment services at a lower cost than their more old-fashioned competitors.
And finally, almost all the investment apps released in the past few years pride themselves on simplicity and clarity. They strip away layers of jargon, and make it much easier to understand things like your pension or how to invest your money.
What should users look for in an app?
When choosing an investment app, or indeed any investment product, always scrutinise the costs involved. The app explanations above all make clear exactly how much you’re paying for each service, and this information should be fairly easy to find for reputable apps. If it isn’t, that’s concerning, and may mean the provider is trying to trick you into paying over the odds.
Also make sure you pay special attention to the company’s data policy. If you’re handing over important financial details, you want to be absolutely certain that your data is being kept securely.
Finally, make sure to check online reviews for any investment app you’re considering, so you know what sort of service you can expect.