Which Personal Finance App Is The Best For Freelancing?

Over the past 10 years, personal finance apps have seen a huge rise in popularity – particularly within the millennial and Generation Z communities. Being able to access your accounts, budget for the essentials and save for the leisurely all at the touch of a button is incredibly appealing to the screen-led generations – and it’s not hard to see why.

But what can you actually do with a personal finance app, and what makes them so engaging to use? More importantly, with more and more young people choosing self-employment over a full-time job, which app is best fit for freelance money management?

I tried out three of the most popular free personal finance apps available on the market right now to find out which app fit for my individual needs. Scoring each app on how well they worked, their unique features, user engagement and security, I put them through their paces to find out which app I would honestly recommend to my fellow freelancers.

But first, what can you do with a standard personal finance app?

So the core feature of a personal finance app is to provide visibility and easy access to your bank account, without needing to sign in to their actual site. However, the user is also encouraged to save money, budget, and track their spending through these apps, highlighting exactly where their money goes. It might help to think of these apps as a more judgemental bank account, where instead of simply showing you the figures, they sass you about how much money you spent on takeaways last month…

Let’s test…Yolt.

Designed by a Dutch finance company, Yolt was the very first personal finance app I ever got my hands on. With their slogan of ‘Unthink Money‘ they implemented a huge range of features and widgets to help the user categorise their spending and consolidate their different bank accounts into one simple space.

What are the standout features of Yolt?

  • Customisable dashboard
  • Upcoming payment predictions
  • Budget tracker
  • Savings tracker
  • Top spend categories
  • Customisable labels and categories
  • Month by Month tracking
  • Timeline of spending
  • Yolt Pay (untested)
  • Touch ID login

How does it benefit freelancers?

As Yolt is so easy to personalise, you can easily create a tag or a category for each invoice payment, expense or tax to keep track of them throughout the year. It also helps you to monitor money from months gone by, allowing you to have full visibility over any changes, losses or improvements to your earnings.

Are there any downsides?

Unfortunately yes. Whilst Yolt is great in terms of keeping your personal details secure, it recently went through a phase of increased security, where all users were required to provide complex verification. Since then, many (including me) have lost access to their account due to a failed ID verification. This was really disappointing for me as I loved using the app but was locked out due to a poor quality photo of my passport.

Overall rating: 8/10

Let’s test…Emma

Despite having severe reservations about its gummy bear motif, Emma was my second personal finance app to try out (well…after getting locked out of Yolt). Described as a ‘financial advocate’ to the user, Emma is essentially designed to be your budgeting best friend. With a highly personalised ‘voice’ representing Emma, the app carries some of the same features as Yolt, but seemingly judges you more for your less essential spending.

What are the standout features of Emma?

  • Fun, engaging UI
  • Weekly spend tracker
  • Daily account notifications
  • User spending comparisons
  • Income averaging
  • Budget tracking
  • Customisable tags
  • Receipt upload option
  • Touch ID login
  • Notes
  • Merchant social media links

How does it benefit freelancers?

So one of my favourite elements of Emma is the ability to upload images or screenshots of your receipts to be stored next to each individual purchase. As a freelancer, this is a really great feature for working tax and expenses without needing to keep endless scraps of paper. I also like the fact that you can customise a lot of the features to have the information you need right where you need it. Plus, the daily notifications of my account balance really do help me to stay aware of incomings and outgoings, such as late invoice payments and expenses.

Are there any downsides?

So the only real downside I found when comparing Emma to Yolt is that there aren’t quite as many features you can play with as a user. Whereas I could easily spend forty minutes editing, customising and organising my spending in Yolt, I don’t feel quite as engaged with the Emma app.

Overall rating: 7/10

Let’s test…Plum

Plum was my final finance app to test after reading a lot of positive reviews from previous users. Described as ‘your money’s best friend’, the UI is directly targeting the younger generations, with heavy emoji use and direct ‘app to user’ chats. Just as with Emma and Yolt, you can link up your account balance and receive notifications, however, Plum doesn’t carry quite as many ‘bonus’ features as the previous two. Seemingly focused more on saving and investing money than tracking and organising it, Plum also offers unique investment opportunities for its users.

What are the standout features of Plum?

  • Personal Plum Chatbot
  • Inbuilt savings account
  • Range of saving options
  • Brain Rules for saving
  • Plum Investments
  • Touch ID login

How does it benefit freelancers?

For any freelancers looking for a simple and easy way to deposit your money – whether it be savings, tax funds or investments, Plum is a great place to start. With detailed and honest analytics of savings and investment rates, Plum does provide a wealth of information on smart investments which is always pretty useful. The app also splits your savings into different ‘occasions’, such as overdraft savings, payday boosts and general savings.

Are there any downsides?

To be honest, I really don’t rate Plum as a useful personal finance app. I found it a little confusing to use and very limited in terms of the features I could access through my account. The only feature I really enjoyed was the chatbot, however, it was definitely a little heavy-handed with the emoji branding…there are better ways to target the ‘youth’.

Overall rating: 3/10

In general, the apps I found all had their own personal and individual features for helping freelancers manage their money. However, if I had to recommend just one for future freelance use – I would definitely pick Emma!

I hope this post has helped anyone looking to better manage their money through an app! Thanks for reading!

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