If you’re struggling to save money, Plum might be able to help you.
This AI-powered application can predict how much you can save by looking at your spending habits.
You can also invest with their app using Stocks and Shares ISA or General Investment Accounts.
With a low start-up fund, Plum provides a platform for beginner investors to get into the game.
Read on and learn more about how Plum can help you manage your finances.
Table of Contents
Introduction to Plum
Founded by Victor Trokoudes and Alex Michael, Plum was established in 2016 as a savings and investment app that allows users to manage finances from their phones.
Initially, Plum worked using a Facebook Messenger chatbot, but it’s now available as a stand-alone iOS and Android application.
The founders’ objective is to allow people to save without changing their spending habits. The start-up uses complex algorithms powered by artificial intelligence to determine how much money you can set aside to save. But if you want to, you can also fix this amount yourself.
The money will be automatically deducted from your linked bank account into your Plum account. You can also ask it to stop saving and resume in the future.
Plum has around 1.5 million registered users across Europe, with over £1.6 billion saved and invested.
How to Create an Account at Plum
Setting up an account in Plum only takes about 5 minutes as long as you have all your information. Before you sign up, gather your personal details and bank account details.
Plum will immediately collect your banking data from your account and forward it to TrueLayer, their data partner.
Most major banks in the UK work with Plum, which makes the process seamless.
The list of banks that Plum can support is Barclays, Danske Bank, First Direct, Halifax, HSBC, Lloyds, M&S, Monzo, Nationwide, NatWest, Revolut, RBS, Santander, Bank of Scotland, Starling, Tesco, TSB, and Ulster Bank.
Plum is only available for personal/individual use, so you can’t use it for business or joint accounts.
Plum’s Product Range & Features
There are four main categories for Plum accounts: Basic, Ultra, and Premium.
Here’s detailed information on each:
- Basic: You can have two different pockets for free, Primary and Easy Access pockets. The Primary pocket is your main savings account; this is where you can save your money by withdrawing automatically from your linked bank account. This pocket is great for temporary savings but not long-term ones because it has no interest. The Easy Access pocket pays 2% AER without fees, but you must wait one working day whenever you withdraw. In the Easy Access pocket, you can activate the roundup feature when you round up your purchases to the nearest pound and tuck it away into your Plum account. FCA’s FSCS scheme does not cover the Primary Pocket, but the Easy Access pocket is.
- Pro: You can have a Plum Pro account for as low as £2.99 monthly. All the features in the Basic account are available, and you’ll also be able to access Plum’s 12 investment funds in a risk-assessed portfolio. Your investment fund will be managed by third parties such as Vanguard. At Plum, you must pay management fees at 0.45% of your portfolio and fund fees. There’s also a “splitter” function to split your account into savings and investments and gamify (a 52-week saving challenge). With a Pro account, you can separate funds and set a specific goal to achieve where you can gain interest at 2.3% AER.
- Ultra: You can have a Plum Ultra account for £4.99 monthly. The Ultra account has all the features of Pro in addition to cashback (up to 33% cashback when you shop at their partner retailers), money maximiser (split income into weekly allowances), Plum Card (Visa debit card)
- Premium: You can have the Premium account for £9.99 a month. The Plum Premium account is for more serious investors, with access to 3,000 stocks and 21 funds. These investments are commission-free, and you can choose from many industries, such as tech giants, the green sector, the American Dream, or Best of British.
Research & Education Tools on Plum
Previously, Plum handed over all their investment fund management to third parties, which was why Research tools were not available.
Plum is now offering individual stocks and thus has provided some tools to help investors pick their stocks and track how their funds are doing.
Plum also has a blog section where they share financial articles and a Plummunity forum where members can share their experiences. The research and education tools are still fundamental and could use improvement in the future.
Plum has four different account structures:
- Basic – free
- Pro – £2.99 a month
- Ultra – £4.99 a month
- Premium – £9.99 a month
Other fees include:
- Stock investment fees: Currency conversion fee (0.45%) and regulatory fees (SEC charges – US$0.000008 per dollar and FINRA charges US$0.000145 per share).
- ISA and GIA Fees: Management fee (0.45% of portfolio value) and annual fund manager fee (between 0.13% – 0.88%).
- SIPP Fees: Management fee (0.45%), fund manager fee (will depend on your chosen product).
How to Withdraw from Your Plum Account
To withdraw money from your Plum primary account, log in and click the “Pockets” tab, then “Withdraw.” Enter the amount of money you want to withdraw and submit. Generally, it takes one day to show up in your bank account.
If you want to withdraw from your investments or sell out, go to your SIA or GIA accounts. Then tap Investments, select the specific fund you wish to sell, and click “sell.”
Investment withdrawal takes about seven days to be paid and transferred into your Plum account. When your investments are sold, they will go into your primary pocket. After the fund is deposited to your primary account, you can withdraw to your linked bank account.
Safety & Security
Plum is safe to use because it’s authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) as a Registered Account Information Provider.
This means Plum’s clients are eligible for FSCS or Financial Services Compensation Services, or you could be entitled to compensation of up to £85000 should the company close down.
Please be reminded that the scheme only applies to invested funds. Thus, your primary savings account is not covered by FSCS.
Regarding account security, you will be asked to provide a digital password and biometric authentication when you set up an account.
Customer Support Review
You can contact Plum via telephone, chat, and email. Their team is available from 9.00 – 17.00 on weekdays and 10.00 – 16.00 on weekends.
To test out their customer support, I tried calling the help centre. Unfortunately, they were not able to answer after several tries. I also tried to contact them via chat.
The chatbot responded immediately, but I was asked to wait when I requested a real person. I closed the app after an hour of waiting, but they sent an email responding to my question after several hours.
I checked out their Trustpilot review to find out about others’ experiences with Plum. Plum has a 4.6 score out of 5 or excellent standing.
From the review, you can see that the app is currently having difficulties with its withdrawal process. Due to issues with a provider, Plum’s EU customers could not process their funds.
Their support team provided a real-time status update link to their website. Hopefully, they will resolve it soon.
Who Should Use Plum?
Plum is great for beginners who are new to saving and investing. It benefits those who want to manage their finances, such as saving for an emergency fund or paying off a loan.
As for investing, their simple concept allows you to automatically grow your money steadily without realising it. Moreover, their low minimum fund allows almost everyone to start.
Alternatives to Plum
If you still want to check out the competition, here are a few alternatives that you can use aside from Plum:
- Moneybox: This app has a roundup feature that allows you to save spare change by rounding up your transactions to the nearest pound. For example, buy a £2.49 coffee. The app will automatically save 51p to your account and round up that purchase to £3. You can also use the roundup feature for your Moneybox investment account. Moneybox offers Stocks & Shares ISA, Lifetime ISA, Junior ISA, GIA, and socially responsible investments. Read my full Moneybox review.
- Money Dashboard: The way Money Dashboard works is similar to Plum. It tracks your spending and provides a detailed overview of your finances. It can set budget goals, analyse spending history, and transfer money between your accounts. One of the highlights of Money Dashboard is that the app is entirely free. The downside is the platform can feel outdated. Read my full Money Dashboard review.
- Emma: This platform helps you identify your financial weak spots. It analyses your spending pattern using AI and gives you a report on where you stand financially. It also highlights wasteful spending, such as subscriptions, to suggest where to save money. The standard Emma account is free, but the premium version costs £41.99. The downside to this platform is it doesn’t have a savings function like Plum.
- Moneyhub: the platform links to your bank accounts, investment accounts, credit cards, and savings accounts to give you a financial report. Moneyhub is more extensive in range and can be helpful for people with multiple financial accounts. It’s free for the first six months but will cost £0.99 per month. Read my full Moneyhub review.
Pros & Cons of Plum
Pros of Plum:
- Automatic deposit
- Low minimum investment amount
- Easy setup
- Regulated by FCA
Cons of Plum:
- Limited free features
- Money in primary pocket not covered by FSCS
Plum App Review – Final Thoughts
Plum provides attractive features with automatic deposits, investment portfolios, goal setting, and cashback. You can start saving with the free version and convert to the paid version when you want to invest.
But if you’re an active trader, you’ll be better off finding other platforms that provide more extensive research tools and free accounts.
Overall, it’s still an excellent platform for beginners who need assistance getting their finances in order and steadily growing their savings.