More people are turning to mobile phone apps to manage their finances and save money by spending more wisely.
Each app was originally linked to just one bank, but there are a growing number which will include accounts from different banks and building societies in various countries.
This could be helpful for second home-owners, or people who move to France but who maintain an account in the country they moved from.
The most widely used app is Bankin’ (bankin.com), which was created in France in 2011.
It boasts 3.2 million users in France, England, Spain and Germany, with more than 300 banks signed up.
They include all the major banks in France, as well as Barclays, Bank of Scotland, Bank of Ireland, First Direct, HSBC, Halifax, Lloyds, Nationwide, Natwest, TSB and Royal Bank of Scotland.
The Bankin’ app is free and, once you have downloaded it, you connect in your accounts.
Its algorithms then look at your accounts and produce graphs to show how much you are spending on, for example, insurance, energy, internet, food and phone subscriptions.
If it detects that you are spending more than average, it will alert you to the fact, and give advice to look for a better deal. It will also warn you if you are about to go overdrawn, and predict how much money you will have left at the end of the month. Advice is sent by the app’s artificial intelligence, but you can opt to communicate with a human “finance coach” if you wish.
You can also use the app to move money from one bank to another, though at present this is limited to within France.
Marketing director Sophie Halliot said not many people want to spend time managing their financial affairs.
She says it is a secure system: “The app is regulated by the Banque de France. We use the strongest encryption algorithms available and you are protected by European and French laws. We, the employees at Bankin’, cannot look at your accounts ourselves.
“It is the app which works out the information you see on your screen.”
The company claims that thanks to its smart algorithms and coach team, it will help you discover unique opportunities to save.
Financial company Deloitte says most bank clients in France prefer to talk to a person but app use has risen from 9% in 2018 to 14% this year.
Most (66%) use their own bank’s app but more are turning to new multi-account, multi-bank apps such as Bankin’.
Others include Linxo, Gérer mes comptes (formerly Iswigo), Budget Insight and Max, created by Crédit Mutuel Arkéa as a ‘personal assistant’ for clients.