The Two Minute Review
- 🤖 Smart AI helps you take control of your finances.
- 📈 Fantastic interest rates.
- 📱App is a joy to use.
- 💰 The “Brain” section gives you enough control while still letting the AI do the heavy lifting.
- 🧠 High-interest easy access savings pocket is available to all customers.
- 👍 Features are constantly being added.
- 💸 Have to pay to access all services.
- 🤔 Can’t add individual stocks to ISAs.
What The Experts Say
What Users Say
When you exclude reviews the company itself invited and look only at organic reviews the average score is 4.38.
Some Interesting User Comments
We spend hours reading user comments to see what feedback people are giving. Here are some positive and critical comments that stood out to us:
Plum has helped me massively, transforming me from a non-saver to someone who actively wants to save. What started out as pennies or a few pounds has escalated to putting aside payday payments each month, on top of the weekly savings. For the past two years, Christmas has been fully funded through my Plum savings. This year, in addition to my Christmas savings, I have also started saving for Car repairs/MOT and Gym expenses. Plum is a great tool for improving money management, especially for those lacking discipline. This change didn’t happen overnight; during my first year, I struggled with seeing my savings accumulate and felt the urge to spend it. However, as the years have gone by, my money management discipline has grown from strength to strength. With Plum, you can customize your saving preferences as it offers different levels of savings. You can also pause saving when needed, and if you require the money you’ve saved, you can withdraw it immediately or within the hour at the latest. Plum is an excellent tool for gaining control over your finances and making saving easy. I highly recommend it.
I love that Plum automatically transfers money from my account and puts it into my savings and investments before I get a chance to spend it. It’s an easy-to-use app with very useful rules regarding how much money to put away and how to split that money between your different pockets, investments, pensions, etc. If you’ve been intending to start saving and/or investing, I’d definitely recommend giving Plum a try! Most of my family use it already and I’m trying to get my friends to too! My only bugbear is that I wish you had more options to sort the funds in your portfolio as they are currently organised by the amount of money invested. Being able to organise them alphabetically, for example, would be nice! I’d also like the ability to remove funds from my portfolio if I haven’t invested in them or have removed my investments etc. But these are all minor improvements to what is overall an amazing app!
I love that Plum automatically transfers money from my account and puts it into my savings and investments before I get a chance to spend it. It’s an easy-to-use app with very useful rules regarding how much money to put away and how to split that money between your different pockets, investments, pension, etc. If you’ve been intending to start saving and/or investing, I’d definitely recommend giving Plum a try! Most of my family use it already and I’m trying to get my friends to too! My only bugbear is that I wish you had more options to sort the funds in your portfolio as they are currently organised by the amount of money invested. Being able to organise them alphabetically, for example, would be nice! I’d also like the ability to remove funds from my portfolio if I haven’t invested in them or have removed my investments etc. But these are all minor improvements to what is overall an amazing app!
The investment page continually hung when trying to add anything funds to my portfolio. When I tried from my iPhone, I was successfully able to invest in a fund but it errored. Human support ends up being lots of different people in the same thread not reading previous responses. On a positive note, I am glad there is a free trial period because it would be frustrating having to try to get a refund on the money wasted on the subscription.
Most of the functionality here is built into modern app-based banking. After the trial, there’s no warning about the upcoming fee and the support staff didn’t seem particularly interested when I pointed this out.
Pros: This is a decent way to automate saving, especially for those who don’t know where to start or how much will fit within their budget. There are many tools to help make saving less tedious and more interesting. Cons: Many of the aforementioned tools are not free. You have to pay for them. At £4.99 for Ultra, and £9.99 for Premium… Per Month. I find this highly counterintuitive that, in order to really access some core features of other apps like “Saving Goals” or to have tools challenging you to save consistently over a year, the barrier is actually SPENDING money per month. Having to opt out of all the notifications on the first interaction was a bit much. I was getting spammed with options I didn’t need, want, or even have access to. I think they need to re-evaluate what tools are behind the paywall. Some make sense, others don’t.
The Deep Dive
Plum is a money management app designed to automate savings, leveraging artificial intelligence to learn about users’ income and spending patterns. Launched in 2016 by Victor Trokoudes and Alex Michael, the app connects to users’ bank accounts to set aside money without impacting their daily needs. The idea is to make saving effortless while also providing investment options to encourage financial health.
Over the years, it has expanded its features to include budgeting tools, bill analysis, and subscription management – and it’s proving a winning combination as the app has gained 1.8 million users so far.
How It Works
In a nutshell, Plum connects to your existing bank account and uses AI to analyse how much you can spare each month. It then takes this money and uses it to save or invest. Let’s walk you through it in full:
Opening An Account & Linking Your Bank
Signing up is straightforward. You’ll be asked the standard questions like your email address, date of birth and address. Once complete you will need to link your bank account (or if you have more than one you can choose how many to link).
The process for us was simple. We chose to link to a Chase bank account (you have to love that 1% cashback) and it all worked quite seamlessly (see the screenshots above). We just had to choose our bank and then the app was able to detect our account through the phone. The last step was to use our bank’s app to authenticate the linking.
Annoyingly, bank accounts need to be relinked every 90 days but this is down to open banking regulations rather than Plum itself.
You will also need to set up a PIN (you can use biometrics if your phone allows it) and decide if you want to enable push notifications. Some users have complained that the push notifications can be a little too frequent.
After about a 40-second wait, Plum’s magic algorithm came up with an initial monthly figure to save – for us it was £5.72 as we were using a dummy account, but it will likely be a bit larger for most users. It then created a Direct Debit to have this amount sent each month into our “Primary Pocket” (we’ll come back to pockets later).
However, we did have to wait 2 days for our Direct Debit mandate to be set up and this delayed us being able to use some of the app’s features.
Once your account is live you can access Plum’s “Brain” from the home screen. This area allows you to configure how money is taken from your account each month. Here are the ways you can adjust how much is taken:
Adjusting The Mood: You can choose a list from a list of options ranging between “Shy” and “Beast Mode”. This essentially makes the algorithm up to 75% more aggressive or 50% less aggressive when determining how much to take from your bank each month.
Naughty Rule: This sets up a disincentive to shop at a particular store. For example, you can set it to take £2 every time you order a takeaway from Just Eat.
Weekly Depositor: Set aside a set amount each week.
Round-Ups: This feature rounds up transactions to the nearest pound and sets aside the spare change, a simple way to save a little extra without noticing.
Pay Days: Users can align their savings with their paydays, instructing Plum to take a fixed amount right after they’ve been paid when their balance is typically higher.
Rainy Days: We love this playful feature that sets aside a fixed amount whenever it rains. Be careful not to leave it on over winter!
52-Week Challenge: This takes £1 for you in week 1, £2 in week 2, £3 in week 3 and so on. If you have the stomach to go for a whole year you will have saved £1,378.
1p challenge: Like the week challenge but it takes 1p on day 1, 2p on day 2 etc. This will add up to £667.95 across a year.
Once you’ve set the brain rules, there is then the question of what Plum actually does with the money. You have three options – save, invest or spend.
Saving with Plum
Deposits are automatically made to your “Primary Pocket”, the main account where you set money aside. It serves as the primary location for your funds before you allocate or distribute them into different pockets, which can be used for various savings goals or expenditures. The Primary Pocket attracts no interest but offers instant withdrawals.
However, you can set up customisable pockets which earn, at the time of writing, between 3.51% and 4.21% interest depending on the plan you are using (see the Costs section below). These allow you to organize your savings more granularly and earmark funds for specific purposes or goals (indeed on paid accounts you can set a goal figure). For instance, you might have a pocket for an emergency fund, another for a holiday, and a third for a deposit on a house. Those on premium tiers can create up to 16 customisable pockets.
The downside to these customisable pockets is that withdrawals are not instant. If you make a request before 3 pm on a weekday you will get your funds the same day. After 3 pm or any time at the weekend then you will have to wait until the next working day. All in all, we think it’s a pretty small trade-off in return for earning interest.
You also have the option of determining how deposits are split between the pockets (see the middle screenshot above).
Forcing you to pick a paid tier to get the highest interest was previously a pretty big drawback to Plum. However, they have recently launched Plum Interest – a pocket that pays a huge 5.15% interest. You can’t put deposits directly into this (which is a feature we’d like to see in the future), but you can transfer money to it from your Primary Pocket.
It’s an awesome addition as this interest rate beats what you will get with pretty much every high street current account.
It should be pointed out that this interest pocket puts your money into a fund which is run by Blackrock. It’s incredibly low risk as it is made up of 80% government-backed short-term loans and 20% government bonds, but it should be noted anyway.
Investing with Plum
You can also choose to invest the money Plum takes from your bank. They have a range of 3,000 stocks (though only 1,200 are available on most plans – see the Costs section) as well as a selection of funds from big-name providers like Vanguard and iShares. These funds tend to centre around different themes (e.g. green investing, tech stocks), geographical areas or risk levels.
Searching for a stock is quite easy and you get a handy graph of its past price plus info, stats and news about the company. It’s not at the same level of detail as say Lightyear’s app, but it’s not far off.
Searching for funds is a similar process, but you also get a breakdown of what your returns on the fund might be. You sometimes get to see the top ten assets within a fund, but coverage is patchy and we would like to see this info being made available for all funds.
When you buy a fund you will be asked whether you want to set up an ISA or a General Investment Account. The benefit of an ISA is that you can put in up to £20,000 a year and any profit you make will be tax-free. Just be sure that you really want to set up your ISA with Plum as you only get to create one of these accounts with any provider once a tax year.
We’re not sure why, but at the moment you only seem to be able to add funds and not individual stocks to your ISA. We’re not sure why this isn’t an option and it’s something we think Plum desperately needs to add as a service in the near future.
Do note that you will be charged account fees when investing through an ISA or GIA. These are 0.45% of your total account value per year, charged monthly, dropping to 0.15% for the Premium account. This is a competitive fee when compared to traditional brokers. Hargreaves Landsdown for example charges an equivalent fee of 0.45% plus £9.95 for each trade and AJ Bell charges 0.25% plus £9.95 for each trade. However, newer apps like Trading 212 and InvestEngine typically have lower fees.
On the Pro plan, you get the option to repeatedly invest in a particular stock automatically each month. To be honest, we wouldn’t recommend this as it’s best to always review stock performance any time you invest.
Plum also offers a SIPP (self-invested pension plan). We didn’t test this out so can’t fully comment on it, but the provider fee of 0.45% per year applies here too.
Spending with Plum
Plum now offers a spending card to those who subscribe to its Ultra or Pro Tier (£4.99 or £9.99 a month). You can load it up with money from your Primary Pocket and then use it like a current account. We don’t think it will be replacing our main account anytime soon, but we were tempted to use it on holiday as it doesn’t incur any fees for using it abroad, simply charging you Visa’s daily exchange rate.
If you want to go hardcore, you can switch on the Maximiser feature. This works out how much money you need each week and then saves the rest in a pocket so it earns interest. It will then pay you a weekly amount directly to your bank account.
It’s not for the faint-hearted and we’d recommend you get to know the platform before going this extreme!
You get a lot for free, but to make the most of Plum you’re going to have to opt for a premium tier. Here’s what you get at each level:
We would advise starting with a free plan – especially as everyone has access to the 5.15% interest rate. If you like the app then you can move up through the tiers if you find yourself using the app frequently.
How Good Is Customer Service?
We’d like to see better customer service from Plum. There is currently no way to speak to a human so you have to either email or use the “Chat to a human” function on the app. Agents are available 6.30 am to 8.30 pm on weekdays and 8 am to 4 pm on weekends.
In our tests it took over 10 minutes to get a reply – and we were even using the Premium service which is supposed to have priority customer support. Other accounts may not get a reply for a couple of hours according to Plum’s advertised times.
Is It Safe?
As a fintech app, it is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK, adhering to strict financial conduct regulations.
Any money held in your “Primary Pocket” is classed as “e-money” and therefore subject to the E-Money Safeguarding Rules, but is not protected under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. However, any money held in an easy-access or investment account will be protected by the FSCS.
Plum cannot make any changes to your bank account outside of the Direct Debit you allow it to set up. This is because it has read-only access to bank accounts, meaning it can analyse transactions for saving purposes but cannot initiate any transfers.
So In Conclusion, Is It Any Good?
Yes, it’s fantastic. For anyone looking for a way to take the pain out of saving, we think Plum has cracked it. For us, it’s the best savings app currently available.