What is Emma?
Emma is a smartphone focused budgeting app that allows you to connect all of your bank accounts, credit cards (and more) into the app. You can then use Emma to analyse your spending, and use their tools to get more clarity on your finances.
Emma was launched in the UK in 2018, and then in the USA and Canada in 2019. As of 2021, they claim to have over 600,000 people using their app in those 3 countries.
How does Emma work?
Emma exists largely because of the emergence of Open Banking. This new directive, driven by governments desire to hand back the ownership of consumers financial data back to them, means that existing financial institutions such as banks have to open up the data to licensed financial technology providers. One of these provider is Emma. They can now connect to all of your institutions, whether banks, credit cards, savings providers, or even cryptocurrency providers. They can then combine this data, and display it as a complete overview of your entire financial life.
Before, you would need to log in and out of multiple different sites, and then put the data in a spreadsheet so you could have any sort of oversight. Now, with apps like Emma, you can do this automatically. This obviously gives you much more power to control your spending and finances, and can help in cutting costs, saving money, and growing your wealth.
Emma currently have connections with all of the major banks and credit card providers, and also with large cryptocurrency platforms such as Coinbase, Kraken and Binance. They say they will continue to add more different financial providers as time goes by.
How to set up an account with Emma?
To set up your account on Emma, you first need to download the app on to your smartphone and set up an account. Once that is done, you can see the list of supported financial organisations within the app. You choose the ones you wish to integrate, give your consent, and then your data will be populated within the app.
- Connect all of your accounts to Emma
- Spending Categories
- Save on subscriptions via Emma suggestions
- Set your payday and sync to your budget
- Analytics on your spending
- Marketplace – find other financial products
- Save money on bills
- Payments from within the app
The above features are available on both the free and paid versions of Emma. There are also some other features that are only available on the paid versions:
- Goals for savings
- Create custom categories
- Export data
- Calculate your net worth
How much does Emma cost?
The basic version of Emma is free, and within this version you do get many features. Emma have 2 higher tiers also, which offer more budgeting tools:
|Emma Plus||£4.99 per month or £41.99 annually|
|Emma Pro||£9.99 per month or £81.99 annually|
How does Emma make money? It is mainly via the subscriptions, but they will also get commissions for referrals to 3rd party products via their marketplace.
Who is Emma for?
Emma is available to users in the UK, USA and Canada. They focus on personal accounts, with business accounts not currently being supported.
Emma integrates with many different financial institutions, so it is best to check whether they support the ones you use, so you can ensure you are able to integrate Emma and get your data into the app. They UK banks that are currently supported by Emma are:
|Bank of Scotland||HSBC||Paypal|
|Danske Bank||Marks & Spencer||Starling Bank|
|First Direct||Monzo||TSB Bank|
|Tesco Bank||Ulster Bank||Virgin Money Credit Cards|
|Virgin Money Investments||Virgin Money Savings|
In addition, they support some other financial institutions such as Cryptocurrency platforms.
Is the Emma app safe?
As Emma is a budgeting app, and does not hold your money, you do not need to worry that you will lose any money with them.
They do hold your data however, but they utilize Open Banking technology to access your financial data, and claim to have bank level security. They also have ‘read only’ access to your data, which means they cannot make any changes to your accounts. Finally, login details such as passwords are never stored.
Emma App Reviews – what are people saying?
The Emma app has a rating of 3.9 out of 5 – great, on Trustpilot. 71% of the reviews are 5 out of 5, and users are positive about how the app has allowed them to take control of their finances. 14% of the reviews are 1 out of 5 – Bad. These users almost all seem to be upset with the support on offer. There are only a very small number of reviews on Trustpilot, which seems slightly odd for a company that claims to have over 600,000 users. It would be good to check other sources of reviews also if you want to check what other people are saying.
Since the launch of Open Banking, many budgeting apps have taken advantage of the new opportunities and launched. Some alternatives to Emma to check out are:
In addition, there are several neobanks that are quickly growing, which may not have as comprehensive a suite of budgeting options as the above apps, but do have several money management features that could be just right for your needs:
Finally, there are savings and investment apps, that have some budgeting functionality, but then give you the option to save or invest to grow the money you save via budgeting:
The Emma app has some very useful budgeting features, that can really help you to control your budget. Having everything in one place is such a powerful tool, that it almost cannot fail to help. Within the budgeting app marketplace, Emma does not have anything especially unique, and indeed, there are some features that are only available on the paid versions of Emma, whilst some other apps provide very similar features for free. Really it comes down to taste. If you like the Emma app itself, and the way it presents itself, then it could be worth paying the monthly fees. However, it makes sense to try things out on the free version before taking the plunge.