Fintech startup Plum is doubling the number of countries where it operates. The company is launching its product in five new European countries — Italy, Portugal, the Netherlands, Greece and Cyprus.
Originally from the U.K., Plum is a money management app that helps you automatically set some money aside. This way, users can save money without any manual input. It can be particularly useful for people who earn enough money to save money every month, but also tend to spend everything they have in their main bank account. In addition to its home country, Plum currently operates in France, Spain, Ireland and Belgium.
There are several ways to save with Plum. The app can connect to your bank account and round up all your transactions in the past week and transfer everything over to a Plum-managed pocket of money. You can also decide to set some money aside every week or whenever you get paid. If you want to go one step further and let Plum think about savings for you, the service can also automatically decide how much it should set aside based on your income and expenses.
Users can create different pockets with separate goals. For instance, you could save for your next vacation or for a new bike. Whenever you want to spend money in your Plum account, you can either withdraw money to your bank account or pay with a Plum debit card — but you have to pay a subscription fee to get a card.
While users earn interest on their savings in the U.K., that’s not the case in other markets. This is a bit unfortunate as interest rates are currently rising around Europe. Basic savings accounts seem like an attractive product for people who don’t like to think too much about money.
Plum users can also use the service to buy and sell shares. In Europe, the startup has partnered with Bitpanda to offer cryptocurrency trading. It works a lot like Bitpanda integrations in N26 and in Lydia. You don’t have to download another app to start buying crypto assets.
“We’re delighted to bring Plum to five new European countries and help people manage their finances there. This is a challenging economic period as people are experiencing levels of inflation not seen in decades, leading to cost of living challenges. The need for long-term financial resilience has arguably never been clearer and we created Plum precisely to help people tackle this, helping ensure that your money management is automated and wealth looked after for the future,” Plum co-founder and CEO Victor Trokoudes said in a statement.
Creating a Plum account is free. Users can pay €2 per month to create more sub-accounts, unlock more savings rules and get a card. People who choose to pay €9.99 per month can access more stocks and create recurring stock investment rules. There is also a 2.5% conversion fee on crypto transactions.
Over the long run, Plum could become a financial hub that lets you access several features and services. Unlike many consumer fintech startups, it doesn’t try to replace your bank account. It acts as a companion app and a sort of mini marketplace. That strategy could turn Plum into a mainstream product with less tech-savvy people.