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The new era of banking has arrived


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Banking isn’t exactly the coolest, most modern or even sexiest of professions. Unless, you know, you find money a turn on – in which case I feel compelled to remind you that money can’t buy you happiness and other clichés.

I also feel compelled to tell you, however, that banking has changed dramatically in the last few years and for students suddenly taking control of their finances, there’s no need to be spooked with nightmares of crusty bank managers and ancient corporations taking hold of your money and slowly eroding away at your soul.

The new era of banking is here: Neobanks and start-up fintech companies are taking over the online space and – newsflash – they’re actually making banking easy, accessible and dare I say it: cool.

1)      Mondo

A new bank for the smartphone generation, Mondo is for people “who want to get things done in a click and who don’t see the need for branches and cheque books” (so definitely no need to fear crusty bank managers).

Essentially this app lets you top-up a Mondo MasterCard at cash machines, in-store or online; any spending can then be live-tracked on your phone. So no more hungover mathematics trying to figure out just how much you spent on that drunken night out...

2)      Loot

For the more visual among us, Loot “shows what you can do, when you can do it and how much it will cost you”; like having your very own financial advisor in your pocket.

With Loot you can categorise your spending and receive reports and instant notifications. You can then easily track where your money goes each month, and even compare your spending to other Loot users (anonymously, of course; so you can rest assured other 'Looters' won’t be judging you on your shoe/Pot Noodle/bad TV sitcom addiction).

3)      Bud

Online banking apps, financial technology and new fintech services do make our lives easier, but when each service offers something different and our phones become overwhelmed with different apps, suddenly these helpful services become a headache.

With Bud, though, you can connect all your different bank accounts and finance apps in one place and build your own personalised and individual banking experience. So no more getting flustered over numerous banking products – browse and combine the ones you need for a cleaner banking experience, and you don’t even need a finance degree to understand it.

4)      Tandem

“We are a good bank” are the opening words on Tandem’s website. The imagery is nice, it’s friendly – the bank works in tandem with the user; we get it. The website even says they don’t use ‘bad hold music’, too – so that’s another tick in the box.

What the app actually does is answer the questions users really want answers to with the help of co-founders. It basically wants to help users take control of their money and identify opportunities to help them save more. So if you want to know why you can’t track your finances like your fitness, Tandem is the app to ask.

5)      Atom

Remembering an account passcode isn’t necessarily a strong point for some of us, and phoning call-centres in the middle of the night to get our cards unblocked is probably up there as one of the most annoying phonecalls you’ll ever have to make.

With Atom, the app uses biometrics to login – so you can literally log-in with a selfie (or voice recognition if you’re not feeling yourself). Plus the app generates every user a personalised Atom logo and it also helpfully shows predicted savings based on interest rates, making that dreamy group summer holiday feel all the more achievable.

6)      Payfriendz

You know it’s cool when there's a ‘Z’ on the end... But joking aside, Payfriendz is actually a simple concept that makes transferring money to friends as easy as sending a tweet or tagging them on Facebook.

The good news is the app is completely free to use and secure. The bad news is there is now no excuse to not pay back your friendz immediately for that Nandos they kindly bought you that time you forgot your wallet.

7)      TransferWise

Most of us have friends and/or relatives from across the sea, and sometimes transferring money across can be a proper hassle. In fact, some banks charge up to 5% in hidden fees when sending money abroad.

TransferWise is cheaper and fairer as it automatically lets you know the precise exchange rate and advertises its fee upfront. So, despite all the uncertainty regarding the value of the pound post-Brexit, it’s still easy to track just how much it costs to send money to your overseas pals.

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