The coronavirus storm may finally be passing, but the disruption to many people’s personal finances will be felt for some time to come.
As we emerge from a third lockdown, we could all use some help with managing our money better to build up some reserves for the future.
Last year, The Big Issue became co-founders of The Big Exchange; a social and environmental investment platform with a mission that aims to help make everyone’s money count for more.
Now as part of its continued dedication to making financial services more inclusive and accessible for all, The Big Exchange has developed a completely free mobile app that makes taking control of your financial life easier than ever.
Whether you’re an existing customer or not, it enables you to see all of your accounts in one place regardless of where you bank, invest, save or borrow.
Through a partnership with open banking platform Moneyhub, the app securely links up bank accounts, investments, loans and credit cards to show all your balances and recent transactions instantly without the need to log into separate sites.
The app gives you a complete picture of your personal financial world and offers insights into your spending, saving and investing habits to help you make better decisions and improve your financial resilience. Through the app, you can set spending budgets and savings goals, and plan more easily by seeing how potential changes to your income or outgoings would affect your cash flow.
If you rent your home, there’s a unique ‘rental recognition’ feature – which ties into The Rental Exchange initiative by The Big Issue Group – enabling you to log your rent payments. These will be reported to credit reference agency Experian, helping to boost your credit score and give you access to lower interest rates on any debt you may have.
Nigel Kershaw, chair of The Big Issue Group, says: “The Big Exchange app extends The Big Issue’s mission of finding solutions for those who are financially excluded – creating a fairer world for everybody.
“We’re giving people the tools to build financial resilience for themselves – a hand up not a handout. The app is free and can be really useful for anybody, regardless of their financial status. The Big Exchange app, just like The Big Issue, is all about solutions where everyone is included and nobody is left behind.”
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Jill Jackson, chief executive of The Big Exchange, said: “The Big Exchange is here to help everyone work towards becoming more financially resilient and shape a better future – whatever that means for them and their own personal circumstances.
“The coronavirus crisis has dramatically changed how most of us spend our money and on what. People are also more aware than ever of the need to build up some savings so when life changes, they’re prepared. Now is the perfect time for us all to really look at our budgeting and see how we can make our money count for more.
“The Big Exchange app aims to make this easy. Having totally free access to your entire financial world in one place on your mobile phone can be extremely powerful and can help you spend well, save more and invest better.”
The pioneering online investing platform, launched by The Big Exchange in October, enables investors to track how their money can benefit the planet and its people without necessarily sacrificing financial returns. It enables anyone to invest from as little as £25 a month. Investors can access and manage their portfolio easily through the new app.
‘The Big Exchange app helps to make life a bit easier for people, and that’s something we’re all needing right now,” said Big Issue founder John Bird. “The access it gives to The Rental Exchange is an important step forward, providing millions of renters with the chance to build their Experian credit score; one of our big successes for The Big Issue Group in recent years in helping people to build financial resilience.”
Once you have downloaded The Big Exchange app, simply enter your email address and create a password. If you are already an investor with The Big Exchange, you will still need to go through this process and then link your investment account.
Link your financial accounts
From the ‘My Money’ tab, click the ‘+’ button to add as many accounts as you like. These can include current and savings accounts, investments, pensions, loans and credit cards. Select the name of your provider from a dropdown list and the app will transfer you to their site where you can log in securely and give permission for them to share your data. You will then be able to see all of your balances – and their total – on one screen and you can click on each account to view your recent transactions.
Get personalised insights
Under the ‘Insights’ tab, a ‘Spending analysis’ will show a barometer of how much you are spending across your accounts compared with the same time the previous month. You can also see breakdowns of your spending across categories such as repayments, shopping, entertainment and transport (you can tailor these to suit you). An ‘Income analysis’ shows how much money you have coming in compared to the previous month.
Set yourself spending budgets for any of the categories and the app will send you nudges to help keep you on track. The ‘Forecast’ allows you to see how potential changes to your income or outgoings will affect your financial future. It can help you answer questions such as ‘Can I afford to go on holiday this year?’ or ‘Will spreading the cost of a big expense help my cash flow?’
Make your money work harder
For good. Read tips and tricks articles to find more ways to look after your cash. A new ‘marketplace’ will point you to financial providers that will use your money to benefit the planet and people, as well as your pocket. You can also learn about how investing could benefit you and gain access to fund managers at The Big Exchange to discover how your money can be used for positive impact as well as aiming for profit.
Please remember that when investing, making money is not guaranteed and your capital is at risk. The Big Exchange (TBF) Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Big Exchange Limited. The Big Exchange (TBF) Limited is an Appointed Representative of Resolution Compliance Limited, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN 574048).