Fancy a tenner to get your New Year off to a good start?
Chip, the clever app that helps you set money aside, is offering £10 to new customers. If you struggle to save, or just want to save without thinking about it, Chip is a great solution!
I’ve been a big fan of Chip since it first launched a few years ago. I opened my account back at the beginning of March 2017 and even bunged a tiny amount at Chip to support their fundraising via Crowdcube. Chip has come on leaps and bounds since then, winning multiple awards including Best Personal Finance App at the 2019 British Bank Awards.
So I thought it was time for an updated Chip review – and now you can get £10 for signing up!
That’s a pretty good deal, when you’d have to save £667 for a year, to earn the same amount from a Best Buy easy access account paying 1.5% elsewhere.
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What is Chip?
Chip is a smartphone app that automatically stashes cash in a separate account, so you can save without thinking about it.
If you let Chip look at your current account, it uses whizzy algorithms to analyse your spending and see how much you can afford to set aside. Connect via a debit card, and it calculates amounts based on average data across Chip users. Either way, it transfers small amounts of money every four days into a separate account.
If you always have the best intentions about saving, but never seem to have any money left at the end of the month, Chip is a brilliant solution. The autosaves do it for you. If seeing a balance in your current account encourages you to spend, Chip helps by whisking the money elsewhere.
Chip also removes any worry that setting up a standing order to a savings account each month might leave you short. It’s great if your income and expenses vary each month, because if you connect your account, Chip just alters the autosaves.
Plus, if you download the app before January 15, using the promo code MOREWITHLESS10, Chip will give you £10!
Previous post: How to save despite yourself
Chip review: what’s good
Quick to download and set up
You can get versions for both iPhone and Android, and it only takes seconds to set up, if you’ve got your debit card or online banking details handy.
Auto saves are super easy
The joy of Chip is that it stashes away small amounts of money you won’t miss. It’s practically painless, and soon builds up a balance.
Get a free tenner
Sign up for Chip via this link before January 15, and you’ll get a free tenner, and I’ll get a few quid too.
The £10 is for new customers only, and you’ll become eligible once you’ve had two auto saves, which is usually within two weeks. The bonus should then be credited to your Chip account within 30 days.
Adjust your save level
You can adjust how much you want Chip to set aside via ‘saves level’ in your profile. There are five choices from ‘serious stuff’ at one end to ‘take your time’ at the bottom.
Control your saves
Chip is brilliant for autosaves, but you can also choose to control what happens when.
Chip tells you in the morning if it intends to move any money, and you can increase, decrease or even hit cancel any time up to 3pm. If you want to take a break, you can pause automatic saves for up to two months. You can also choose to transfer lump sums – see more on ‘manual saves’ below.
Get money out quickly
Ask for a withdrawal before 5.50pm on a weekday, and the cash should hit your current account the same working day, normally within an hour or so. Otherwise it will be the next working day.
So plan ahead if you might need money during weekends or bank holidays, when withdrawals aren’t processed.
Stay safe with security features
When you set up the app, you can enable secure login either with a four figure code or using finger print log in.
Keeps your cash in a separate account
The cash Chip stashes for you is stored as e-money via Prepaid Financial Services (PFS) Ltd in a ring fenced account within a big bank *cough Barclays*.
By transferring your money straight to a separate e-wallet, it can’t be used by Chip, and in the unlikely event either Chip or PFS went out of a business, you will get your money back.
If Barclays goes bust, we’ve got bigger problems on our hands because this kind of account isn’t covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. But I’m not actually betting on the collapse of global capitalism.
Chip review: what’s new
Quicker save transfers
If you connect a bank card, your autosaves happen at 4pm, and manual saves go through instantly. As Chip says, #whoosh
Compared to the early days, when it could take as long as six days for saves to go through, this is a massive improvement.
Bigger manual saves
You’ve always been able to choose to move bigger sums over to Chip – but this used to be limited to £100 a day, and then £100 max four times a month. Nowadays there’s no limit up to the £10,000 account maximum.
Works with any bank
Originally, Chip would only work with a limited number of banks, but nowadays it works with challenger banks too.
You can connect fully with all the big banks (deep breath): Barclays, Co-operative Bank, First Direct, Halifax, HSBC, Lloyds, Metro Bank, NatWest, Nationwide, RBS, Santander and TSB. This involves connecting through to your online bank account (don’t worry, Chip doesn’t see or store your online banking details). Your bank then shares your transactions with Chip, under the new government Open Banking rules.
You can also link up any debit card, which means you can use Chip with challenger banks including Monzo, Starling, Revolut and N26.
Note that if you connect fully, via your internet banking details, Chip will calculate autosaves based on your own transactions. If you only connect with a bank card, it will set aside average amounts.
Chip is so confident about its auto saving calculations, that if you connect fully using internet banking details, Chip guarantees it won’t take money out that will put you into overdraft.
Give yourself goals
Chip now lets you set goals for your money, and track your progress along the way.
You can name up to three goals, select an inspirational image from Chip’s gallery, add different target dates and choose how to split each auto save between them. So whether you’re saving towards a bike, a home or a holiday, Chip will track your progress – and even tell you if the goal is achievable, based on how much you are likely to save.
Get a graph
You can see a graph of your total balance stretching back over time, with saves, withdrawals and any bonuses.
Just look top right on the home screen and click on your Chip balance, or click on ‘activity’ at the bottom.
Chip review: what’s not so good
Chip used to pay interest – but no longer. Back at the beginning, you could earn up to 5% a year, adding one percentage point for a year for each friend you referred. Not any more. Sob.
But the £10 for new Chip customers is actually quite a good deal when rates elsewhere are so rubbish – to earn the same amount in interest, I’d have to save £667 for a year in a best buy easy access account paying 1.5%!
Just bear in mind that while Chip can be mega handy in building up a balance, once you’ve got a decent chunk, you can earn extra by moving it to an interest-paying account.
If your banking is a tangled mix of standing orders and direct debits across multiple accounts (guilty), Chip won’t cover them all, but only one. So choose carefully.
Chip is aimed squarely at the smart phone generation, so brace yourself for a barrage of emojis, bad puns and gifs. I haven’t seen the flirtatious Paul Hollywood one for a while, so maybe he’s been pensioned off in favour of Jonah Hill.
Live chat is far easier to find and use with Chip. You don’t have to wade through multiple pages, reams of FAQs and contact forms and it’s just like using texts, Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp.
However, Chip is a victim of its own success – responses to live chat used to be virtually instant, but now, with many more customers to cope with, Chip warns that you might wait several hours. To be fair, when I tried recently, I got an answer within 15 minutes.
Access to your bank account data
Chip jumps through all the hoops about encryption and data control licences, but fundamentally if you’re paranoid about internet banking, Chip isn’t for you. Personally, I’m all in favour of Open Banking when it makes my life easier, and I don’t mind giving apps read-only access to my transactions. I’ve been using sites where I share access for almost 15 years now, way back to Egg Money Manager, without security issues. You may feel differently.
Digging a bigger overdraft
Based on user feedback, Chip offers ‘overdraft saves’, where auto saves continue even if you’re already overdrawn. You can choose to set a ‘max overdrawn’ limit, so Chip will stop taking money out if your bank balance goes beyond this point.
However, I think that’s a bad plan, as you’ll be racking up overdraft fees and interest on your bank account. Worth connecting your bank account, just so you can make sure Account>Settings>Overdraft Saving is set to Off!
In fact if you’re paying interest on expensive debt elsewhere, it’s a good idea to use extra cash to pay down that debt first.
Chip review: the verdict
Overall, Chip is super easy to use and makes setting money aside practically painless.
I do miss the interest that Chip used to pay, but still really recommend the app.
Once you’ve set it up, Chip does all the hard work for you. If your resolutions for 2020 include saving more or sorting out money matters, Chip is a great place to start.
Chip has developed massively in the nearly three years I’ve been using it, and will be exciting to see where it ventures next!
Now – over to you. If you’re already a Chip customer, what do you think? If not, download the app and earn yourself £10!