yolt review

Yolt Review UK 2021 – Does This Take The Throne?

If you’re looking to get on top of your finances, an app can do some of the heavy lifting on the data for you. However, you might be overwhelmed with the different choices (I know I was!). In this article, I’ll provide you my Yolt Review (as at November 2020).

What is Yolt?

Yolt is a money management app that connects your separate bank accounts so you can view and track your spending all in one place. Their aim is to “give everyone the power to be smart with their money”.

We believe that staying on top of your money shouldn’t be a hassle. That’s why we built Yolt with a fresh approach, smart insights and easy actions, so you can make the most of life.

Pauline Van Brakel – Yolt CPO

It is an ING Bank venture, meaning it has the support, funding and security know-how of a big retail bank.

Launched in the UK in 2017, the app boasted 500k users within its first 18 months, and have now expanded to Italy and France.

Yolt uses the Open Banking API to connect your bank accounts.

What is Open Banking?

Open Banking is a fairly recent development in financial services in the UK, which has allowed other financial technology startups to provide services that they wouldn’t have previously been able to.

It has basically allowed you to provide access to your financial data, such as transactions and accounts, to third parties such as Yolt.

The idea behind Open Banking is to encourage more competition and better services from financial services providers.

For more information on Open Banking, this guide/explainer from Money Saving Expert is very useful.

What are Yolt’s main features?

Connect your bank accounts

Connect all of your bank accounts so that you can see your full financial picture in one app. This is the bread and butter of money management apps, so it doesn’t provide anything its competitors doesn’t at this stage.

That said, the onboarding is very simple and guides you towards how to connect your accounts.

Automatic categorisation

Transactions are automatically categorised based on what Yolt thinks they should be. You can easily override this and apply your new category against the other transactions from the same vendor.

Budgets

You can set budgets for different categories and track spend against these.

When you setup a budget, Yolt will tell you your average monthly spend for the category. This is a helpful piece of information so you know whether your budget is realistic (and indeed challenging!).

However, Yolt has no functionality to setup customer categories. This means you’ll need to make do with their originally programmed categories. Even though they have a few, it is a shame that this cannot be customised.

Analytics

Under your “Transactions” tab, you can view your spending by category, by merchant, by tag or over time. This gives you great control over your transactions and finances.

It is super easy to go back and see your spend on any of these dimensions by month too.

You can analyse your spend by a certain category over time really well too, with a handy bar chart showing your progress over time. Super handy to spot any big months or months where you’re smashing your historic average!

The homepage “dashboard” has some handy insights and visualisations too. My favourite’s are:

  • “Total Spent” on the dashboard: showing you how much you have left of your overall budget
  • “Most Used” categories displayed visually as a pie chart: great to see at a glance where your money has been going

Fix to payday

You can set your budgeting period to match your payday period – a really useful feature to give you more insight on your spending in a certain period.

You can set this to be a fixed period i.e the 1st of each month, or to be set as a custom period with options for people who get paid every 4 weeks, or for people who get paid on the last workday of the month as an example. A handy feature!

Subscriptions

I’m always banging on about how it is wise to stay on top of your subscriptions and recurring expenses, and Yolt makes it a breeze.

It will surface your monthly subscriptions, with an easy way to add new transactions if it isn’t recognising them automatically.

Where Yolt excels though is you have the ability to set a custom renewal date. This is handy for the likes of insurance, utilities, phone bills etc because it acts as a handy jog for you to renegotiate cheaper rates when the renewal rolls around.

What are the advantages of Yolt?

Analytics

For an app-only money management service, they have done a very good job of their analytics in my opinion.

You can easily find your progress by category, by merchant or by tag over time. Not to mention getting a quick visual snapshot in the dashboard when you first open the app.

This dashboard will show you how much you have left of your budgets for the period and what categories have been spending the most.

This balance of having a quick visual snapshot but having the ability to drill down into the data easily is hard to accomplish, so big thumbs up to the Yolt team here.

Subscriptions

The ability to add in a renewal date is a super handy way to keep track of when you can negotiate some sweet discounts (or cancel if not needed).

Great feature which should enable you to be across your recurring expenses.

Budgets

I found it easy to create a budget, with plenty of different categories to choose from.

Finding the performance against these budgets was also effective and useful too – a big thumbs up from me!

Coaching

Under the “actions” tab, they have a few guides to help you manage your money. They help walk you through how to set up your budgets, and even though they don’t go very deep, they’re a helpful way to coach you through the first few interactions with the app.

The guides you can choose from are:

  • Make your money go further: helps you to set up budgets and track against them
  • Master your monthly spend: helps you to set up a budget and check your subscriptions
  • Getting started
  • Personalise Yolt

Where does Yolt fall short?

Exporting data

Sometimes you need to export your transactional data to a spreadsheet (you never know when the desire to get nerdy with your data hits you).

Having all of your transactions in one place with Yolt provides a good opportunity to save a lot of faff downloading from the individual banking apps/platforms.

Yolt does have this feature in its settings tab (go to “Accounts” tab -> hit the cog in the top right -> then “Privacy settings” -> then “Download your information”), however when I attempted to download the data for this Yolt review, the file they provided was not able to open or load. I’m hoping a one-off but I wasn’t able to access my file on other laptops.

Adding offline accounts

Not all financial institutions are yet using the Open Banking API system, which means that apps like Yolt can’t connect to them.

Even though this is no fault of Yolt, I was surprised to see no capability to add an offline account in the Android version of the app.

This feature is available on the iOS version of the app though, simply follow the instructions on their article here.

Not having this feature means it is very hard to track a full picture of your finances, including your net worth, using this app. You’ll likely have to combine with tracking using a spreadsheet.

No custom categories

Even though there is a range of pre-built categories to track your spend against, there is no way to create a custom category.

This will be fine for most people, but if you want to track your spending at a very granular level or with some unique categories, you won’t be able to do it with Yolt.

Pushing the new Yolt Card

Users have complained that they are being pushed to take out the new Yolt Card, which is a prepaid card that you can use and connects with your app.

I’ve been using the app without setting up the card account, which has formed the basis of my Yolt review. However, because some people in the Trustpilot/Play Store reviews have complained that they aren’t able to use the app without signing up to this card I thought it was important to flag. One to watch, as they may force you to take it out to continue using the service in the future.

What banks is Yolt compatible with?

Yolt uses the Open Banking API, and so is dependent on banks to have signed up to have it enabled. Most of the high-street banks and their smaller competitors are listed, including:

  • Barclays
  • Halifax
  • Monzo
  • Starling
  • HSBC
  • Lloyds
  • TSB
  • Nationwide
  • RBS
  • and more….

To view their full list, visit their list here.

What investment accounts is it compatible with?

Including your investment or loan accounts is a great way to get a complete picture of your finances. However, once again it is dependent on these financial institutions having signed up to the Open Banking API.

The accounts that you can connect are:

  • Nutmeg

Check out their full list available here to see if yours has been added.

Is Yolt safe and secure?

Yolt have a dedicated section on their website explaining the security measures they have in place to support their users, including:

  • Yolt never sells the data it collects from you
  • They’re a licensed Open Banking 3rd party provider
  • They’re supervised by the European Central Bank
  • They use the most up to date encryption
  • Yolt runs regular penetration and security tests to make sure the data is protected
  • They are an ING Bank venture, and therefore must meet the same privacy and security standards applicable to a bank

The app also has the ability to use biometric security such as your fingerprint.

How does Yolt make money?

Yolt is a free app, and so you may be thinking where does their revenue come from?

Well, within the app there are options for other services with other providers such as combining pensions (using PensionBee), growing your savings (using Raisin) and investing your money (using Wealthify).

Yolt will get a commission when you sign up via these links (or are paid as standard advertising).

They have explicitly stated on their website’s FAQs that they do not sell your data. This is in line with their competitor Emma, but is a different strategy to Money Dashboard.

Yolt has recently launched a card too which it will likely start promoting more, but my experience on the app was fine without it.

What is Yolt best used for?

Simple spend tracking against budgets.

If you’re looking for a more complete personal finance app that will track your full net worth, then Yolt is not for you. You might be better off with either Emma or Money Dashboard.

However, as a spend tracker it is remarkable simple and has a clean interface so you should be able to have it working for you quickly.

What are people saying about Yolt?

On Trustpilot, Yolt has a decent 4 out of 5 star reviews based on 279 reviews at the time of writing.

Some of the positive reviews mention things like:

  • ease of tracking
  • ability to track budget categories
  • the ability to consolidate accounts

However, some of the bad reviews had a few common themes:

  • inability to customise the categories
  • pushing their new Yolt Card

On the Yolt Card, this is a new feature in 2020 that allows you to spend with a Yolt-branded physical or virtual pre-paid card. You load money onto the card and then spend with it as you would normally. This data is then able to be tracked in your Yolt app along with your other bank accounts.

On the Play Store, the Yolt app has a 3.4 out of 5 score out of 4,111 reviews.

On the App Store, the Yolt app has a score of 4.5 out of 5, with 12,800 reviews.

What platforms is Yolt available on?

Android or iOS at the moment, no web app available.

How do I get it?

Either sign up on their website, or by downloading the app on the Play Store (Android) or App Store (iOS).

My Yolt Review – The Verdict

For a simple budget tracker, Yolt does the job very well.

If you have simple finances and want something quick and easy, then Yolt could do the job for you nicely. As a result, the verdict of my Yolt review is a cool 3.8/5 stars.

The reason it isn’t in the 4s is due to flexibility. The inability to add offline accounts on the Android app, lack of web app and the inability to add custom categories are features that we should be seeing.

If you’re looking for a more complete personal finance app, then it’s competitors such as Emma or Money Dashboard will be what you’re looking for.

Note: Yolt are updating their Android app currently, so I expect some of these shortcomings to be fixed.

Other articles on budgeting apps you may like:

I hope you found my Yolt review useful! Have you had any experience with Yolt? I’d love to hear your opinion on it in the comments section below.