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Emma Review – Is it the best budgeting app?

emma review

What’s Emma?

Emma is a cash management app that makes use of open banking to mix info from all your bank accounts, financial savings accounts, credit cards and investments. Emma was launched in 2018 by co-founders Edoardo Moreni and Antonio Marino and in June 2018 it raised round £500,000 in the first spherical of funding. The co-founders got here up with the initial idea whereas learning at Manchester University together, putting up an in depth friendship thanks partially to being the solely two Italians on the course

They moved to Berlin following their research to start out work on ‘Kiria’ a predecessor to ‘Emma’, but it struggled to make an impression and was hit with issues surrounding German banking regulation. With the legal guidelines enjoyable in England, they ditched ‘Kiria’ and moved to England to develop what we all know now as Emma (The identify is made up from the co-founders’ initials)

How does Emma work?

Co-founder Edoardo Moreni describes Emma as a ‘health tracker for cash’ and it is designed to sync your budgets to your payday and monitor all your funds all through the month, whilst at the similar time making you conscious of your future commitments. By syncing all your current accounts, savings accounts, credit cards and investments you will get actual-time info in addition to quick access to historical knowledge.

Who ought to use it?

Anybody that has a smartphone and who struggles to maintain on prime of their finances. Emma’s largest viewers are individuals aged 25-35 intently followed by individuals aged 18-25. That stated, you shouldn’t be put you off should you do not fall into those age brackets; I’m 40 and haven’t any problem in navigating the menus and understanding the features. Nevertheless, one slight criticism I do have is that the general feel of the app when it comes to its design is a bit bit baby-like. I understand they are concentrating on a younger audience, however with the shiny colors and the fundamental emblem being a gummy bear, it feels at occasions like you’re loading a recreation for a 5-yr-previous relatively than an app that may revolutionise one thing as critical as your finances.

Establishing an Emma account

Establishing is fairly simple, you seek for your financial institution/bank card/funding supplier within the app and link them up, logging on as you normally would, providing the relevant security particulars. In case you are not used to signing in online, you might discover it irritating as you will need access to all your bank /credit card/ funding online login and safety details to sync up the app.

What do you get?

After you have downloaded the app and linked your accounts you’ve gotten 4 sections to navigate, summarised under.


The primary feed, comparable in feel to Fb or Instagram the place you’ll be able to scroll right down to entry spending summaries, subscriptions and reminders


More of an in depth breakdown of your present revenue and expenditure across all your accounts. You possibly can access your budgets and take a look at the present month or look again over the previous months.


Broken down into three sections, On a regular basis, Financial savings and Investments and this is the place you possibly can entry your individual accounts, all from one display.


The world where you perform quests, signal as much as ‘Emma Pro’ and entry rewards (all defined under)

What banks are supported on Emma?

  • American Categorical
  • Financial institution of Scotland
  • Barclaycard
  • Barclays
  • Capital One
  • First Direct
  • HSBC
  • Halifax
  • Lloyds Financial institution
  • MBNA
  • Metro Financial institution
  • Monzo
  • Nationwide
  • Natwest
  • Paypal
  • Royal Bank of Scotland
  • Santander
  • Starling Bank
  • TSB Bank
  • Tesco Bank
  • The co-operative bank
  • Virgin Cash Credit score Cards
  • Virgin Cash Financial savings

What are Emma’s stand-out options?


In the analytics section, you’ll be able to select ‘Budgets’ and set up a budgeted quantity for your whole categories, corresponding to payments, transport, groceries and so forth. You’ll be able to move these up and down whenever you want by clicking on the plus or minus in the numerous classes. The app offers you your common spend in every category to assist information you, which is beneficial, however remember that it is taking a look at your complete spend. In the transport part, for example, I price range £300 every month, however the app prompt it ought to be £450 as it was including a one-off quantity I paid for a very costly service I had some time again. A brand new function will probably be coming quickly that may permit you to set a complete finances, which means you possibly can add a savings aim and monitor the complete, quite than simply your wage.


‘Quests’ is Emma’s tackle gamification, encouraging you to discover the app in return for earning badges and icons. It is a neat tackle what is actually a features or FAQ part and it meant that I explored greater than I often would, though the last badges will solely be gained by these which might be keen to shout Emma’s identify from the rooftops as it is heavily targeted on referrals.

Actual-time balances

This section takes your revenue, subtracts your dedicated spending which is not simply your direct debits as the app is intelligent enough to note common commitments, regardless of whether or not you’ve got a recurring cost set up. It’s going to then subtract actual bills (after subtracting your predicted spending) and let you know what’s left.

Every day Balances

An fascinating function and one that I found helpful is the potential to receive a day by day replace throughout all of my balances. It is offered in a simple to know notification, despatched every morning.

Making sense of your cash

Emma has a clever function that excludes inner transfers across your accounts to avoid confusion. This could embrace shifting cash right into a savings account or paying off a bank card. So long as the account you’re shifting the cash to is added to the app, the transaction will probably be excluded, the cash will simply show in the right place.

The one draw back is that Emma doesn’t presently haven’t a ‘Financial savings’ or ‘Credit score Card’ class (as the app has access to your savings and bank cards and so merely updates the balances accordingly). This strategy works effective for me but others with multiple financial savings accounts or credit cards might find it confusing, particularly if the bank or credit card supplier isn’t supported by Emma.


Emma permits you to earn rewards by signing as much as services by way of the app. These are affiliate deals where you, as the shopper, will earn money by taking over the product or service. Emma has made it clear that it does not earn any cash from the affiliate deal and passes it all on to the consumer. That is fairly a normal function and just like different budgeting apps although others (resembling Curve) that combine online bank accounts do go just a little additional and offer you cashback on spending with certain retailers. A frustration with the Emma rewards for me is that they are paid by way of PayPal (one thing I do not personally use) moderately than instantly into your account.

Bank charges Emma app review

Emma supplies a abstract of all financial institution costs and is on a mission to scale back the £10 billion income that banks make from these fees. Financial institution fees may be arduous to know and may typically be hidden amongst other costs and so the summary that Emma supplies could be a useful reminder to examine the charges that your bank is charging (and any related advantages). I might see that I had paid over £160 in bank fees in simply six months and consequently I contacted my financial institution to maneuver from a packaged account (charging £27 a month!) to a free model. I’ve lost a couple of benefits in consequence however have changed them elsewhere at a fraction of the value.

Emma Professional

Emma gives a professional plan which you’ll be able to pay for month-to-month, six month-to-month or yearly. If you select month-to-month, it will value £4.99 per thirty days, six month-to-month works out at £three.99 per thirty days and annually works out at £three.49 per thirty days. You get access to further options akin to custom classes, exporting knowledge, you possibly can rename transactions and you are able to do guide accounting. Cut up transactions can be coming quickly too. I personally do not feel there’s sufficient on supply to convert me to the paid plan as you get so much in the free model. Over time I might anticipate Emma to add more features to the paid version to make it more engaging although with vital funding behind it, they could be tempted to move a few of the presently free options over to the paid model. Definitely, one thing to look out for.

Coming Soon

Emma has confirmed that it will embrace long run financial savings objectives soon, so you possibly can see your progress and monitor it over an extended period (at present you’ll be able to only monitor month by month). Another function coming soon is ‘Complete Budgets’, permitting you to add a savings amount to your budgets, so you’ll be able to monitor that moderately than just your wage. More rewards shall be added over time as Emma is in weekly discussions with new suppliers.

Emma vs Yolt vs Money Dashboard

Yolt was launched in the UK in 2017 and Money Dashboard was based in 2010. Like Emma, each entry your info in ‘learn-solely’ mode. Yolt and Cash Dashboard boast around half one million users whereas Emma presently has underneath 100,000. There’s little or no to decide on between Yolt, Money Dashboard and Emma when it comes to general features but I discover the general consumer expertise is best with Emma, for example, I not often should re-categorise a cost which is a frustration with Yolt. Users have reported a delay of as much as 4 or 5 days in transactions displaying on Cash Dashboard they usually additionally use your knowledge to offer perception for market research corporations, something that Emma has confirmed they don’t do and haven’t any intention of doing.

Cash Dashboard and Yolt look more like a budgeting app should however for me, Emma does a better job general. Apparently, once I questioned Edoardo Moreni about his rivals, while Yolt and Money Dashboard inevitably came up in dialog, it was ‘Cleo’, the AI chatbot that he’s most frightened of.

How protected is Emma?

Emma has bank-grade encryption and so you need to really feel assured that your knowledge is stored securely. It’s FCA and ICO registered and the app has read-solely entry, which means no-one can touch the money. Emma additionally factors out that they have individuals of their workforce that have built security methods for corporations similar to Google, so it seems they taken security very significantly. Emma also does not retailer any banking credentials. Because of this your account cannot be breached at any time limit, even if their servers get compromised.

Emma Safety Abstract

  • Bank grade encryption
  • FCA registered
  • ICO registered
  • Learn-solely access
  • Knowledge isn’t shared with third events


Emma provides a fast set up course of, clean consumer experience and a powerful set of options. Whereas I’m not an enormous fan of the design theme, it isn’t enough to put me off, particularly when you think about what you get for a free app. It’s a powerful device that has helped me to know my finances and make fast financial savings. I don’t really feel that the paid version presents sufficient right now for me to half with my hard-earned cash, however I will be maintaining an in depth eye on developments over the coming months.


  • Straightforward sign-up course of
  • Straightforward to navigate
  • Comprehensive analysis and budgeting
  • Highlight’s wasteful subscriptions
  • Every day balances


  • No financial savings category
  • Rewards paid by way of PayPal moderately than immediately into your account
  • Youngster-like feel to the general theme
  • Not all banks are supported


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