What are the best banking apps?

Hi all,

I'm looking for a bit of advice about banking apps.

I recently switched from Halifax to NatWest & find the app for NatWest really frustrating and outdated, to the point where I have had my first bounced DD in 8 years.

Due to disability I'm unable to work so do have to manage my money by the penny. Two things that I really relied on with the last banking app I used are 'available balance' and 'upcoming payments'. Although NatWest does have an available balance if you have insufficient funds to make a direct debit the available balance doesn't include any pending transactions so I've been caught out by not understanding their system.

Hence I'm looking to switch bank and I really want to go with one whose app includes these features



  • oli356
    oli356 Forumite Posts: 171
    100 Posts Name Dropper
    Personally I really liked the Natwest app though the actual money management side of it wasn't something I needed to worry about, I just liked the ease of use to send payments etc.

    I'm with Monzo now, it shows only your current balance but also shows 'Tomorrow' payments that are outgoing (at least standing orders, I'm not sure on DD, I think it does, but not 100% certain). Though you would still have to calculate the difference between the current balance and the 'tomorrow' payments. The instant notifications for payments in/out I do enjoy also, you know within seconds if something has happened...
  • Nedebz
    Nedebz Forumite Posts: 2 Newbie
    Thanks, hoping for a bit more than that. On my old app you could see the upcoming payments for anything from 1 -30 days
  • colsten
    colsten Forumite Posts: 17,597
    10,000 Posts Seventh Anniversary Photogenic Name Dropper
    Nedebz wrote: »
    Thanks, hoping for a bit more than that. On my old app you could see the upcoming payments for anything from 1 -30 days
    If this is a feature you want, why did you give up that account? And why can't you go back to it?

    As a general point though, you are trying to use a banking app as a budgeting app. It is unlikely you find something that combines the two satisfactorily as they are two different things. Proper budgeting involves a lot more than the spend your bank knows about for the next 30 days. Most people don't have the exact same income and spending levels for every month of the year, so want to have at least a 6-, more preferably a 12-months budget, on a rolling basis.

    There are a host of dedicated budgeting apps - YNAB, MoneyDashboard, Yolt to mention but a few. Or you could simply use the MSE Budgeting spreadsheet, but that doesn't link to your bank account(s).

    Another advantage of using a dedicated budgeting app is that you can switch current accounts at will, that you can have multiple current accounts at different banks, and savings accounts wherever you get the best rates (this is almost never with the same provider as your current account!). If you ab-use a banking app for budgeting, you are putting yourself into a financial straightjacket from the start.
  • glennevis
    glennevis Forumite Posts: 618
    Seventh Anniversary 500 Posts Name Dropper
    The best banking app for upcoming payment notification is ... Google Calendar.

    I don't rely on a bank or their app to notify me. Banks can add and remove features at any time and if you come to rely on a particular feature there's no guarantee it will always be available.
    NatWest is a good example. I recently opened an RBS current account (NatWest is same group, same software) and they have since announced they will soon be ending weekly balance txts. According to their announcement you can set up "limit alerts" in the app. I can't see how at present.

    Instead I have set up a few recurring monthly Calendar alerts reminding me to "check current account balance exceeds £xx" the evening before upcoming payments are due. I have set the alerts to fire off during a quiet time in the evening when I have time to deal with any action required, moving money around for example. There are certain key dates to check my balance - income going in, DDs going out, for example. All the DDs except my credit card invoice payment are fixed so I just need to ensure £xx is available before the DDs are due. The larger DDs are broadly dated either mid-month or end-of-month and income goes in at the beginning of the month so only 4 monthly Calendar reminders are required. For the credit card DD reminder, if the invoice calls for an unusually large payment, I do a one-off edit of the next applicable Calendar entry to remind me of the amount needed to cover that DD.
    My method only works for me because my bank's app has a widget displaying Live Balance so I can quickly check my balance (not displayed on my home page of course, have to scroll to reach it). Without the widget it would be too tempting to ignore the Calendar alert if very busy. IMHO RBS/NatWest app (on android) has one major flaw; it does not have a widget which shows your live balance. For that and other reasons I would never use them for my day to day banking. BTW I use Santander.
  • crumpetman
    crumpetman Forumite Posts: 339 Forumite
    Lloyds app shows upcoming payments, standing orders and direct debits based on what was paid out the previous month as direct debits can vary from month to month.

    I find it quite useful as it adds them up and shows me that payments totalling, for example, £850 will be.made in the next 30 days.
    CRAIGSVILLE Forumite Posts: 72 Forumite
    I have most banking apps , and I find Tesco + Nationwide the easiest to use with everything you need
  • MovingForwards
    MovingForwards Forumite Posts: 16,658
    10,000 Posts Fifth Anniversary Name Dropper Photogenic
    The NatWest app allows you to see:

    Current balance
    Balance less pending payments
    Check direct debts
    Check standing orders
    When payments have been made / received you can change it into a category eg shopping, home and garden, transport, food, bills etc

    Amongst many other things.

    The nationwide app is old, looks dated but is ok for seeing what the balance is and making payments.
  • Rich1976
    Rich1976 Forumite Posts: 446
    Part of the Furniture 100 Posts Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    I dont bother with budgeting apps. I use a spreadsheet which has all the direct debits listed for our joint account and all of them are set to come out before day 5 of each month.

    The same goes for our individual accounts, all dd's come out by a certain date and what's left is spending money. All I then need to do is just keep an eye on the account balance before buying anything.

    Works very well for me.
  • EarthBoy
    EarthBoy Forumite Posts: 3,001
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper
    Nedebz wrote: »
    Thanks, hoping for a bit more than that. On my old app you could see the upcoming payments for anything from 1 -30 days

    Barclays app has a calendar where you can see all the upcoming standing orders and direct debits for the current month and the next month.
  • kuratowski
    kuratowski Forumite Posts: 1,388
    Fifth Anniversary 1,000 Posts Name Dropper Photogenic
    Virgin Money current account (was previously known as B) is another account having the feature to show upcoming payments for the next month. As well as some budgeting features and savings pots.
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