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Money Dashboard vs Emma – Which To Use For Your Budget?

Financial technology start-up companies, usually known as Fintechs, have transformed the consumer market for financial products in the last few years. New directives such as Open Banking, mean that the big banks and other financial institutions have to now open up customer data to licensed Fintech companies. This has been fantastic for budgeting products, as now it is easy for customers to integrate all of their financial data into one budgeting app.

Therefore, it is not surprising that the budgeting app marketplace has become increasingly crowded in recent years, with many new start-ups entering the space.

In this article we compare one of the older budgeting providers, Money Dashboard, with a newer product – Emma.

Money Dashboard started offering their budgeting app to customers using it on their computers way back in 2011. In 2020 they launched their updated app – Neon – which is focused directly on smartphones, and uses Open Banking technology.

Emma is a far more recent entrant into the market, having launched in the UK in 2018, and in the USA and Canada in 2019. In 2021, they claimed to have over 600,000 active customers using their app.

Money Dashboard vs Emma
Money Dashboard vs Emma – which helps to grow your pennies? | Photo by Sarah Agnew on Unsplash

Contents

Best for: Plans, Costs & Fees

Money Dashboard has no charge for their app. All features are available within the free app, and they do not have any plans with fees etc.

Emma does have a free version of their app, but they also have 2 higher tier versions of the app that have a monthly/annual cost. The costs are:

  • Emma Plus – £4.99 per month or £41.99 annually
  • Emma Pro – £9.99 per month or £81.99 annually

How do Money Dashboard and Emma make money? Generally budgeting apps will make money either by charging for use of their app, or by selling the transaction data of their customers to 3rd parties. In this case, Money Dashboard are very open that they make money by selling data, whilst Emma charge subscription fees for the app, and state that they will never sell your data.

/ Verdict /

Money Dashboard is free, yet sells your data (although it is of course anonymized) so really it comes down to your view on privacy. If you do not want your data used, then this is probably not the app for you. With Emma your data is not used, but they do have quite high subscription costs for the paid versions of the app. Potentially it would be worth checking whether the free version of Emma would suit your needs.

Best for: Features

Money Dashboard

  • All of your bank accounts, credit cards and various other financial products can be connected, so you can create an overall budget.
  • Apply spending categories across all of your accounts.
  • All bills and subscriptions in dedicated area
  • Create your own budgets
  • Available balance to spend after all outgoings.
  • Customise the app to fit your own requirements.

Emma

  • Connections – integrate all of your financial institutions with 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 features above are available on the free version of Emma. The extra features below are only available on the paid versions:

  • Cashback
  • Goals for savings
  • Create custom categories
  • Export data
  • Calculate your net worth

Bank connections

Money Dashboard are currently integrated with over 90 financial institutions, such as banks, credit card providers and others.

Emma also have a large list of integrated institutions, although slightly smaller than Money Dashboard – potentially because they have not been around as long. With Emma you can also connect any accounts you have on cryptocurrency platforms such as Coinbase, Kraken and Binance.

/ Verdict /

Both apps have a comprehensive list of supported banks and other institutions. Money Dashboard have more, but both apps will have enough to support the vast majority of consumer’s needs.

For budgeting features Money Dashboard has a useful set of tools that they have proven to be useful over many years. With Emma, their features are broadly similar, but to get the full benefit of all of their tools, you will need to subscribe to one of their paid plans.

Best for: Safety and Security

Data Security

Both Money Dashboard and Emma utilize Open Banking technology to access your data. Therefore they never have any of your login details, and have read-only access to your data, so cannot make any changes. Both apps claim to have bank level encryption of all data within their systems.

Privacy

Money Dashboard is free, but sells your data. Emma don’t sell your data, but you need to pay for a subscription to get the full feature set.

/ Verdict /

The difference here is very clear. Money Dashboard sell your data, whilst Emma do not, so if privacy is important to you then clearly Emma is the way to go.

Some budgeting apps have either shut down or left the market in recent times. Check out our article Why did Yolt close? And is my budgeting app safe?

Best for: Extras

Money Dashboard has been around for a long time, and they provide budgeting features that are tried and tested, and presented in a sober and almost corporate way. It is likely to appeal to potentially older customers. Emma uses a more gamified, modern look and feel, and utilize elements to assist you in your budgeting that may appeal to a younger audience.

Conclusions

Overall, both Emma and Money Dashboard provide a similar product, but there are certain key differences.

Firstly, the two apps are presented rather differently. Money Dashboard has a more sober restrained approach, with the look and feel of a bank or similar. Emma has more of a modern feel, with gamified elements. It really comes down to which approach you prefer, and which app best suits the way you handle your budgets.

Handily, Money Dashboard is free, and Emma has a free version, so you can easily test out each app to decide which one you prefer, with no cost.