ARTIFICIAL intelligence for most people conjures up images from sci-fi movies – but it can help you to save money.
Websites and apps can arrange your finances for you at the click of a button, saving you more than £6,000 per year.
Forget A.I. that leads to robots taking over the world – and think of new, friendlier versions such as Chip and Look After My Bills.
STRUGGLING to save? Get an app to transfer your spare cash into a savings account and watch how it mounts up. Some banks offer this service, like Lloyds’ Save The Change tool, which rounds up the amount you spend on your debit card to the nearest pound and transfers the difference to a savings account.
There are also specialist apps, which take a more detailed look at your account to work out how much you can afford to spare. Chip, for example, examines your spending and income, calculates what you are able to save every few days, and moves it into a savings account.
Its makers claim the average user puts aside £1,800 a year without even noticing. Fees for the service are £1.50 every 28 days, or around £20 a year.
ANNUAL SAVING: £1,780
IF you’re always forgetting to shop with your loyalty cards, try Stocard. The app lets you add the main ones — Tesco, Nectar, Ikea, Superdrug, Boots, Costa, M&S — so you don’t need to carry the physical cards around.
In shops you just open up the digital version of the card in the app at the checkout. Your points then get added. Last year Stocard says it saved users around £28, based on £60.8million being collected in loyalty points by its 2.2million users.
ANNUAL SAVING: £28
NURSES, doctors, police officers, firemen, OAP care home workers and soldiers can all get ten per cent off at Morrisons until Christmas.
Anyone who has a Blue Light Card – a nationwide discount scheme available to pretty much anyone working for the emergency services, NHS or armed forces – can get the perk.
Morrisons chief executive David Potts said: “Our emergency services, social care sector and armed forces have worked tirelessly this year, often in exceptional circumstances.”
WE all love a discount code when shopping online but do not always have time to find one. Pouch can do it for you in the background whenever you browse shopping sites. They are add-ons for your web browser, whether that’s Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge.
Pouch will appear as a little button to the right of where you type web addresses. As you browse sites like Currys or Argos it will light up orange to indicate it has codes for that site. You don’t even have to enter them in, it will try them automatically and the money will come off your total if they work. Pouch takes two clicks to install on your browser and is free to use.
It recently had 15 per cent off the Red Letters Day website so a driving experience for £250 had £37.50 off. The average user can save £400 a year, Pouch claims. Honey is another good one that does the same thing.
ANNUAL SAVING: £400
SINGLE mum Gail Hill, from Surrey, has saved £800 since February with the Chip app.
Gail, 54, a pensions administrator, said: “It’s helped me to put cash away. I didn’t have the discipline to do it on my own.
“It takes little amounts here and there – £5 is the lowest and £18 is the highest it’s put into my savings account – and I haven’t really missed that money. I can stop payments if I want to, and it won’t take any further payments once my bank account is down to £50.
“I love that I am saving all the time without even thinking about it. I’m going to use my savings to pay off my credit card debt and then save for a holiday.”
AUTO-switching services such as Look After My Bills, Weflip and Labrador will sort your energy bills out so you don’t have to. The sites make monthly checks on the tariffs available and switch you to the gas and electricity rates they think are the best value.
Most look for a minimum saving of £50 a year to trigger a switch. All you need to do is sign up, and they take care of everything after that. Market leader Look After My Bills has more than half a million customers, with an average reduction of £262.
ANNUAL SAVING: £262 a year
MORTGAGE BY MACHINE
NEED a new mortgage but don’t want to apply to different banks? Online broker Trussle will tell you how much you could save on an existing mortgage within minutes of filling out its online form.
Or, if you’re a first time buyer, it can tell you how much you can borrow. It searches 12,000 mortgages from 90 lenders. The process is not completely automatic since you’ll then get a call from a mortgage advisor to discuss the best deal.
Next you upload documents, including bank statements and P60s, and your application will be checked and submitted by Trussle. The initial application takes about 15 minutes and the firm says those remortgaging save on average £4,128 a year.
Conmen’s bid to profit on auction site
By Ashley Hart, Head of Fraud at TSB
WE are well into the busy online shopping season, and many of us are turning to auction sites like eBay and online marketplaces like Gumtree and Facebook to find gifts and bargains.
But these sites are attractive to fraudsters, too. On auction sites, scammers will list desirable items at great prices – often with low starting bids or very short end dates. The latest Xbox and Playstation consoles are particularly popular at the moment.
If your bid wins, they will ask you to make a direct payment to their bank account (sometimes offering an extra discount) and tell you to avoid using the official payment processes, such as PayPal. But this way you’ll lose your protection.
Also watch out for sellers contacting you after you lose an auction. They will tell you they have another item you can have, but they don’t want to list it and pay fees. Again, they’ll ask you to pay directly.
On online marketplaces, fraudsters will list stolen items for sale, particularly phones and bikes. Or simply pretend to have a bike and take your money for nothing in return.
Before paying, check a bike on bikeregister.com, and check phones by entering the IMEI number into checkmend.com.
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