The French have never saved so much. Containment requires, with shops and restaurants closed, they have set aside no less than 55 billion euros in just two months. By integrating the additional 20 billion saved during the deconfinement that followed, we reach a total of “75 billion in the space of 16 weeks”, according to the French Observatory of Economic Conjunctures (OFCE). The Banque de France estimates that French savings could reach 100 billion euros by the end of the year.
But with the resumption of various economic activities, many households have started to resume their spending as before. They no longer suffer this “forced savings” by confinement and the health crisis. However, the rise in unemployment and uncertainties invite us to remain cautious. If the government encourages the French to spend their money to revive the economy, building a woolen stocking seems useful to say the least.
For those who are still struggling to save, several applications exist to save money, easily, almost without realizing it. A way to anticipate hard knocks, but also to manage to finance future projects. Here are five applications in France facilitating savings, available on Android and iOS:
Yeeld, an app for young professionals who wants to be fun
Launched in March 2019, the Yeeld application primarily targets young workers, who represent 80% of its clientele. Its operating method is simple: it offers to round each of your purchases to the next higher euro, when you spend with your bank card, to put this sum aside in your Yeeld account. “We offer other rules for automatic savings, there is a lot of gamification,” said Nagib Beydoun, the boss of the company. One of them, that of the “coin flip”, consists in finding the answer to a question – who will be the winner of such a game show on Thursday night for example – with a sum set aside in the event of a wrong answer.
The money saved is stored in a Yeeld account, for which you have an IBAN and a physical or virtual card to make expenses. If you make purchases on Amazon, you have 4% free on the e-commerce site, so that 100 euros saved on Yeeld allows you to benefit from 104 euros on Amazon. But the application remains chargeable. A fee of 2 euros applies each time you withdraw money from your Yeeld account, regardless of the amount. Otherwise, there are two monthly plans offering various features, one at 4.99 euros the other at 9.99 euros, with no additional charges for withdrawals.
The startup, which has never raised funds, already claims 100,000 accounts opened with it, for a total amount of around 20 million euros saved. It will ultimately target one million users in France, despite the existence of several players comparable to this application. “There is room for a lot of people, the market is deep,” says Nagib Beydoun.
Bruno, the app that sees itself as a savings ‘sports coach’ for small budgets
Initially launched on Facebook Messenger in February 2018, the Bruno app can be downloaded on iOS and Android since September 2019. Connected to your checking account, it analyzes your weekly transactions to determine how much small amount you can set aside each week, thanks to to a sophisticated algorithm. The money is then automatically transferred to your Bruno account.
The app should help find pockets of savings. On the other hand, during difficult months, it may happen that no money is saved. And in the event of an unforeseen expense, such as a big fine, Bruno can go so far as to offer you to withdraw money from the app in order to avoid a negative balance at the end of the month on your checking account. The startup intends to promote good practices. “We do not work round the clock (as do other apps, editor’s note). It’s counter-intuitive, it means that the more you spend, the more you will save”, estimates Florent Robert, co-founder and boss by Bruno.
The application costs 3 euros per month, “without any other costs”. She sees herself as an assistant by your side, “a bit like a sports coach”, specifies Florent Robert. With the possibility of setting savings goals. Its users put an average of 100 to 150 euros aside per month. “We are rather aimed at people who do not have great financial means and seek, for example, to finance their expenses for the start of the school year or their vacation.”
Bruno’s users are on average 28-30 years old, “but there are also older ones,” adds its co-founder. The application claims a little more than 100,000 downloads, for 10 million euros saved in total.
Moka, the newcomer who proposes to multiply the roundings
This is the news in the world of apps specializing in savings assistance. Mylo, now Moka, landed on July 20 only in France, but it had existed since 2017 in Canada. Like Yeeld, it works in particular to round up to the euro higher when spending. It also proposes to set up a rounding multiplier, going up to eight. A coffee at 1.50 euros will, for example, result in a rounding to 2 euros. By multiplying the 0.50 cents set aside by eight, you will save 4 euros in total.
You can very well make one-off or recurring deposits on the application. And you have the option to link your savings to concrete goals, short or long term, like buying a bike, going on a trip or owning a home. In addition, a socially responsible investment offer to target your savings should be launched in a few weeks, announces Hélène Cazalières, spokesperson for the application in France. “Moka offers human customer service available 7 days a week,” she adds.
For users, the application is free for the first 30 days, then it drops to 2.99 euros per month for all of its services. Moka targets in particular young people between the ages of 18 and 35, regardless of their means and their knowledge of finance. In Canada, its users – who exceed half a million – have an average age of about 30 years. The app offers cashback offers (discounts) from partner e-merchants in the country. This is not yet the case in France, where Hélène Cazalières sees competition as “something very positive”, showing that there is a real need for services to save.
The Hexagon, where Moka already has a few thousand users, allows the startup to set foot in Europe before exporting elsewhere on the continent. “We are in a mass strategy to achieve economies of scale and achieve profitability more quickly,” said the spokesperson.
Cashbee, an app that wants to make your savings ‘more intelligible’
Launched in September 2019, Cashbee is recognized as a payment institution, supervised by the Banque de France. Rather than letting your savings sleep on an unpaid checking account, the application offers to connect it to another account which offers it a remuneration of 2% for two months, then 0.6% per month. Transfers are made from one account to another at “opportune moments”, specifies Marc Tempelman, co-founder of the startup. They take place when the app’s computer system detects that your account balance allows it, relative to your expenses.
Cashbee then offers a history of your savings, with a color code: green displayed for the periods when you have managed to save well, otherwise orange, or even red when you have not or very little saved. “There is an understanding of the importance of saving, but practical difficulties in saving. Our goal is to make saving more intelligible and smarter,” explains Marc Tempelman.
Cashbee works in partnership with My Money Bank, with which your second paid account is open and can accommodate up to one million euros. Online banking, for its part, pays the startup in exchange for the outstanding amounts it brings. The application remains completely free for users, unlike its competitors. Cashbee targets assets that already have some savings capacity, with an average age approaching 40.
It claims a little more than 13,000 users for 20 million euros saved in total, with a marked acceleration in the amounts saved since early 2020 and the health crisis. Cashbee also aims to export elsewhere in Europe and should soon launch a solution so that your savings help finance the real economy.
Birdycent, the virtual piggy bank to finance small projects
Launched in 2015 and bought in March 2020 by the fintech Treezor, a subsidiary of Société Générale, Birdycent also offers to save by rounding your daily transactions up to the next euro. You can also inflate the amounts set aside by rounding directly to the next ten euros. Everything is then stored in a virtual piggy bank, corresponding to a project you want to finance. “The user can, at any time, break the bank to recover their savings by simple bank transfer”, specifies Julien Mortuaire, CTO (CTO) and co-founder of Birdycent.
“The application is intended for ‘small savings’, that is to say precautionary savings of around 1000 euros per year,” he adds. To fill your piggy bank, it is also possible to make free deposits, up to 49 euros per day. Birdycent also allows you to set up shared piggy banks, in order to save several above and thus have a pot. “This feature is, for example, very popular for financing a joint holiday budget”, emphasizes Julien Mortuaire.
The app is free for users. Birdycent is paid only by selling its technological solutions to banking and insurance players, to enable them to test savings functionalities on a population of users. The mobile app should reach a total of 25,000 registered by the end of September 2020, according to Julien Mortuaire.
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