information for transformational people

Budget 246Helping financial management

There are some financial products that could be useful for those struggling with budgeting and managing their finances. I thought I'd give a round-up of those I'm aware of - this comes with no recommendations of course but if you are involved in debt advice or helping vulnerable people you may want to investigate further.

Very recently, we've seen the launch of SourceCards.

This actually is more of an ecosystem which links Government, charities, donors directly to their beneficiaries and creates 5 budgetting wallets, eg rent, food, etc which governs how monies can be spent. It could transform the way society helps the needy, unbanked and socially disadvantaged in our society.

See how here:

Around for much longer, we also have Think Money. Wages, benefits and tax credits are paid into an account. Money is set aside to cover regular bills and commitments. Therefore clients know exactly what is left over and what's theirs to spend. That spending money is accessible via a Prepaid Debit Card.

See the concept here:

For children and pocket money, see my previous blog about goHenry. This is a Pre-paid Card and App with unique parental controls for young people aged 8 to 18. It was founded by a group of parents, designed specifically with the goal of helping young people learn about money in a safe environment and control spending and encourage savings.

Less prescriptive but helpful in seeing spending and savings vs budgets is B from Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank. B is an intuitive digital banking service created for people who want to take more control of their money. With B, you get a current account, a savings account and an easy-to-use app for tablet and mobile. An app with smart features to give you a clearer view of how you spend and save. including setting budget targets on different types of spending and prediction of when funds will run short.

Similar but independent are apps OnTrees and Money Dashboard that automatically link to multiple bank and credit card accounts and give you an overall view of your finances and various analyses.

Most major bank apps just give you an on-the-go view of your accounts, manage payments, transfer monies between accounts, etc. Of course, this includes being able to apply for a loan! 

Other apps e.g. Toshl require you to enter all your spending and income and so are time-consuming.

On the savings side, I must mention Credit Unions.and the great work being done by To Your Credit to promote these along with a fairer financial system. This initiative of the Archbishop of Canterbury involves many partners and is focused on serving the whole community, where everyone has access to responsible credit and savings and other essential financial services.

One of their initiatives on the financial education and savings side for children is Lifesavers - see my previous blog about this.

A commercial savings product that has emerged is Nat West/RBS' instant savings account with a savings goal tool. You choose what you want to save towards. You can see what you might be able to save with their budgetting tool. Then you choose how much to save and a target date and then see options. Then you commit and monitor progress, changing if your circumstances change. This can also be held as a cash ISA.

I don't know about you but, although there are tools to see our accounts, manage our payments, etc., I'm struck by the small number of products with tools that intentionally help us to be proactive in keeping in credit and helping us save. My worry is that our prolonged exposure to a debt culture has made products such as some of those above be seen as innovations! Everyone deserves better don't you think?

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Geoff Knott, 21/06/2016

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