Loose Change is a series of blogposts by members of the UK Money Blogger community where they let loose on a financial issue important to them.
This week Mary Elizabeth from Me More Money shares why she loves digital banking.
The digitisation of banking has changed the way I spend my money. The most significant change is that I am in more control than ever before and have seen my spending habits going wrong.
Before digital banking apps became available, it was difficult for me to keep track of what I had spent on a day-to-day basis.
With the launch of Monzo and Starling Bank’s digital banking services, not only can I check my account balance whenever I need to. But I also take time out each week or month to see how much I’ve spent so far this year – with graphs!
How I Have Seen the Benefits of Digital Banking in my Life
I have an account with Monzo and Starling. Monzo has been my joint account, and Starling my spending account.
Both offer excellent benefits and, for me, have changed the way I treat money and spend it.
Before digital banking, I would rely on paper statements and cash machine points to check my balance, which thinking back was utterly reckless.
The main benefits I have taken advantage of, that have had an impact are:
Spare Change Round-up
The advantage of digital banks, especially challenger banks, is that they push the boundaries of traditional banking and, in my experience, put the customer first.
One of the excellent app features that have helped me save over £800 in a year from doing absolutely nothing is a spare change round-up.
It works by rounding up every transaction you make on your debit card to the nearest pound and putting it into a separate space separated from your account balance.
Both of my Monzo and Starling accounts do this, which means I have formed an additional saving habit without doing anything. The better app of the two right now is Starling Bank, as you have advanced round-up, which means you can supercharge your round-up by up to 10 times!
In my banking app, I have spending categories that I never had in the past. Before, I would have to manually crawl through my bank statement and come up with spending categories. This was an uphill task, and to be honest, it meant I did not do it often!
Now I have changed my habits. As a result, a particular example was I realised how much money I was spending on takeaways! Seeing the total amount I had spent a year to date each month made me change the habit and agree with myself and my partner on how often we would treat ourselves.
Linking into categories in many digital banks, you can now set goals that bring in a game/competition element in your spending. You can select a total spending goal for the month ahead and a goal for each spending category.
Being a competitive type of person has engaged me in checking my balance most days and seeing if I am on track vs my goals.
At the end of each month, I also get a notification to review where I finished vs my goals. This has just created a continuous follow-up cycle for my money management.
I am Setting Money Aside for Bills
Both Starling Bank and Monzo allow me to have separate saving spaces, which means I can divide my money up at the start of the month. Hence, I know exactly how much I have that I can spend each month.
With Monzo, the money I set aside in what they call ‘pots’. I can pay bills straight from this Pot, so once the money is set aside, I don’t have to do anything.
It has given me peace of mind and helped me become more organised. Although I have never failed to pay a bill, I did on occasions go into my overdraft mistakenly because I had not accounted for a statement or spending correctly.
I have never dipped into my overdraft since going fully digital!
Splitting a Bill
Ok, so this hasn’t changed the way I spend my money, but it sure does make it a whole lot easier to recoup expenses.
Now with my digital bank, when I go out for a meal or buy something on behalf of a group, I can send a secure payment link for them to pay me back very quickly.
It even sends me a reminder for those who haven’t paid!
Why this is important to me as an individual, and why it could be essential to others too!
I am not a rich person. I’m just an average person – I work hard and enjoy going out with my friends and family now and then, which can be financially straining at times.
Digital banking has helped me become much more aware of how careful I need to be with my finances. In the future, when I do have a family, I can still provide for them.
Digital Banking has made me realise that being financially secure should be a priority in everyone’s life.
Future generations should not have to worry about how they will pay the bills when it’s their turn to be adults.
Mary Elizabeth is the founder of MeMoreMoney.com, a Personal Finance website that helps people make their money work harder. She is a self-taught finance nerd and featured Personal Finance Expert in GO Banking Rates and Yahoo! Finance.
Articles in the Loose Change series are written by members of our community. The views do not necessarily represent those of UK Money Bloggers or other members. The articles should not be taken as financial advice.