17 Essential money apps you should try

Andy Webb 25 March 2022

From securing cashback to saving money at the pump, here are some of the best apps guaranteed to ease pressure on your wallet

I know we all likely spend too much time on our phones as it is, but these apps are worth exploring. From budgeting tools to sourcing free food, they’ll all help you manage, make or save money.

Obviously there are many more you could benefit from, so make sure you also download the apps for any service or business you regularly use to see if they have extra features.

The app for... digital banking

If you don’t mind forgoing access to a bricks and mortar bank branch, then you should try the latest generation of banks that are app-only. These make all the day-to-day basics very simple, and have a number of innovations that the high street banks are desperately trying to mimic. My pick of these is Starling Bank, though Monzo is worth a look too.

Tracking your finances

If you have multiple current accounts and credit cards then you can see all your balances in one place via MoneyDashboard. This can also help you keep track of spending, as well as set budgets and view upcoming regular payments.

Keeping on top of your savings

Chip is a smart app that analyses your income and outgoings (via your bank account) to see if you can afford to put extra into savings. If you can, it’ll automatically move some cash over to a separate pot, which offers a competitive interest rate on top.

You’ll want to opt for the free ChipLite tier to avoid a monthly charge.

All-in-one banking 

Curve is different to the digital banks and money management apps—though you do require the app to get access. Once you’ve signed up you’ll be sent a Curve debit card which you can then connect to all your other Visa and Mastercard cards.

When you pay with Curve you can then choose which linked card is charged, and you can do this up to 30 days after the transaction. Again, the free option is best for most.

Managing your loyalty cards 

Many phones will now let you add your different loyalty cards to the inbuilt wallet, but it won’t work for all, which is where Stocard comes into play.

You can add everything from your Clubcard and Nectar cards through to your library membership and any other card that has a barcode. Once it’s added you can clear out your purse and flash the app instead.

Mobile provider goodies

Three, Vodafone and O2 all give customers discounts and freebies via their own loyalty apps. My pick is O2 Priority—in part because it’s also open to Virgin Media customers, but also because it’s possible to get 
a Pay-as-you-go SIM for £10 and get access for six months.

Recent freebies have included brands such as McDonalds, Caffe Nero, Odeon and Greggs.

Scouting the best cinema deals

The Meerkat app, from Compare the Market, offers 2-4-1 cinema tickets every Tuesday or Wednesday and a similar deal on meals out.

You do have to purchase an insurance policy from them to get access, but there’s a simple workaround where you buy a one-day UK travel insurance policy for £1 to qualify.

Scrimping on the theatre

West End shows are often available on offer from the TodayTix app, including daily lotteries for cheap tickets to in-demand shows.

Checking everyday prices 

If you want to check competitor prices or just see how the price you’re seeing compares to recent months then enter the product into PriceSpy—or just scan the barcode.

Winning free money

Download Field Agent to earn a little extra cash from completing simple tasks and providing feedback.

Often you’ll need to take photos of a supermarket display, or talk to staff about a product in a shop—anonymously of course.

Earning surprise cashback

If you’re on one of the major mobile networks, then Airtime Rewards is a must.

You need to scan your Visa and Mastercard debit and credit cards to connect them, and when you next use one of those at participating retailers such as Boots, Asda and Primark you’ll earn cashback to put towards your mobile bill.

Searching supermarket discounts

Try Shopmium to earn money back on purchases at the supermarket. The product range can vary, but it’s often a good opportunity to try something new for less. You need to scan your receipt and the barcode to get the refund.

Doing paid surveys 

I’m not always keen on questionnaire apps—you often get screened out before you earn any money. But UserTesting is a little more robust. You provide feedback on websites, apps and more, and get paid in return for your time.

Saving on parking charges

Often parking your car in a city centre involves going to a pricey multistory or endlessly driving around looking for a space on a side street.

Well you can avoid this with AppyParking which will tell you the location and cost of parking depending on the time you’ll arrive and the duration you’ll stay.

Grabbing discounted food deals

I love Too Good To Go, an app which lists the food shops, cafes and restaurants that will sell at a reduced price to avoid it going to waste. It includes some big chains such as Costa, Yo Sushi and Morrisons, as well as local bakers and more.

Scouring free drink deals

If you live in a major town or city then you can often claim a free drink via the app Dusk. You might also be able to get a discount on food or further drinks.

Finding free water top-ups

We’re all much more used to having a reusable bottle rather than buying single use plastic bottles every time we need a drink—but finding a place to get our water topped-up can be a pain.

That’s where the app Refill comes in handy. It lists where you can find public fountains and the retailers and businesses where you can get free water.

Andy Webb is a personal finance journalist and runs the award-winning money blog, Be Clever With Your Cash

You can follow Andy on his Twitter

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