Fintech

The Fintechs of 2018

During this 2018 I used many Fintech services that improved my life. Let’s find out which ones did it better.

We’re closing in on the end of the year, which means it’s time to reflect, make some considerations. It ’s also time for family, friends and everything else that comes with the holiday season.

It’s also a great chance to take stock of your financial situation, reflect on what’s gone well this year, what could be improved. And you can improve it with some tools and services that simplify how to spend, save, invest and track your money.

Digital transformation is reshaping financial services and, during these years, appeared many fintech startups on the market that are trying to fulfil what incumbents have not done. As you might know, I have tried many fintechs during this 2018, but there are four of them that changed the way how I manage money, and not only*.

*Before reading my reviews, you should consider that I am 23 years old, I am a student, I live in Italy and I travel often. It is just to understand my persona and that I tried fintechs only available for the Italian market.

Revolut

I know what you are thinking about, I always write and about Revolut, but I am not doing it on purpose. Ok, maybe I could be, considering I am an ambassador (now), but I became it because I am completely believing in that product.

Revolut is a mobile-based current account that allows you to hold, exchange and transfer without fees in 24 different currencies. It let protect yourself abroad with a geolocated travel insurance. You can get instant spending notifications, set up monthly spending budgets and round up every card payment and save up your spare change. It’s safe and there’s a 24/7 customer support.

And all of that it’s free (excluding the insurance). There are more functionalities, Premium and Metal plans that you can compare here.

After more than a year, being their client, I decided to switch from my incumbent bank account (I have an Intesa Sanpaolo account and trust me, it is not so bad as you might think) to Revolut and yes, it changed my life (I am not joking), it let me save lots of money while travelling outside the Euro area and it simply works!

Revolut, as today (December 2018), is available in the European Economic Area and Switzerland. It’s free to open a standard account and if you use my link you can get for free the Mastercard card. Then insert the mobile number, follow the text message URL to download the app (available both for Andoird and iOS) and open the account (takes 30 seconds). Top up £10/€10, verify your identity (Tap more -> Profile -> Verify identity) and select and order the free card [standard delivery]

Curve

I started using Curve when still was a beta and I couldn’t believe that I could make my wallet lighter or even throw it away. As I said, I try many fintechs and banks and I have lots of accounts and cards. Despite I am cashless, my wallet was always bigger than my trousers pocket. Then I found Curve.

Curve is the only card that you need to carry. It’s a Mastercard debit card that lets you to connect your existing debit and credit cards and to do your spending via the one card.

You can connect your Mastercard and Visa debit and credit cards to it using the Curve app (soon Amex cards too), where you can select an active card the moment before you pay, receive instant purchase notifications and categorised spend history. There’s no fee and you can earn points or cash back with regular purchases. If you’ve charged something to the wrong card, you can use the go back in time feature to switch the card paid with any time within 14 days.

There are different types of cards, travelling features and other functions that you can see here. Curve is currently available in 27 countries within the European Economic Area. You can download Curve on Google Play or on the Apple App Store. The base account and the card are free, and you can get started with £5 in Curve Rewards points to spend anywhere when entering my referral code 3N4BS on sign up.

Buddybank

I know this challenger bank from a while and I have written a lot about it in my bachelor thesis. Buddybank is the first iPhone-only conversational bank powered by Unicredit. It gives you a current account plus a lifestyle concierge 24/7 available for any kind of request.

Do you want to book a restaurant, take a taxi or plan your next trip? Buddybank does it. The service use AI and real people to help, over chat, with everyday tasks. You will also get the Mastercard debit (and the credit card), the instant transfers, Apple Pay and the other basic bank services, but the concierge provided by Quintessentially makes the difference.

Maybe I am not the right customer for this service, considering I am young with a low budget and I love to do things on my own, but in the next years I will consider to use it daily. So, if you have an iPhone and you need someone by your side that can help you whatever the question is, and you need humans and not a robot, you need Buddy.

BuddyBank, at the moment, is only available in Italy. The basic account is free and the “Love” plan (the one with the lifestyle concierge) is €9.90 each month. Join here.

Moneyfarm

Last, but not least, I am going to write about investments, for everyone and even for me, a student with a low budget and low savings, but focused on the future. Saving and investing are really important, especially when you are young and you think that you can spend all of your budget or salary. But doing it with a traditional bank it seemed me impossible (Trust me, I tried): you need high amounts, lots of paper to sign and nothing was clear.

Moneyfarm is a robo advisor currently available only to residents of the U.K. and Italy (Germany soon too). The automated financial manager is an excellent entry point for those investors, particularly those who have managed their money online in the past.

Moneyfarm offers you an alternative among the independent financial advisors, with online advice and a transparent remuneration based on a fee paid by the client and that’s all.

Moneyfarm in Italy proposes six diversified ETFs portfolios to satisfy different investor profiles. It has a €5000 minimum account requirement. Concerning the fees, Moneyfarm’s system is as follows:

  • € 5,000 to € 15,000: 1.0%
  • € 15,000 t0 € 200,000: 0.6%
  • € 200,000 to € 500,000: 0.4%
  • € 500,000 or more: 0.3%

Being clear is one of the major features, but there’s more: always-on monitoring, amazing support, financial education (yes, they do it a lot!). I just described some features of Moneyfarm for the Italian market, but if you are English, you should read here about the UK offer.

If you would like to join Moneyfarm and have a discount on your annual fee, just write down my code MF141033 during the registration to get the 10% discount.

The winners

These four fintechs are the winner of no prizes or competitions (some of them won them but it’s not the point). They have won me: a customer, a loyal customer that is spending his time to tell everyone that these four apps improved my life, changed my habits, made me more conscious of money and more financially literate. This is what incumbent banks should do.

They are not universal banks, they do not have all the services I could need, but they simply work, without letting me thinking of anything.

The 2019

I am not going to make a list of which new product I will test and review during this 2019 (I do not like a to-do list at the end of the year), let’s see what I will need, but for sure I am interested in insurtech, p2p lending and crowdfunding.

I would like to say thank you if you have read this post till here and I also thank you if you are going to use my links and codes to join these services and I wish you a happy new year!


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