Last Updated on 24 October 2022 by Dan
Hello everyone! Today I’m continuing my series of looking at some of the best budgeting and money management apps out there. Today I’m looking at the Snoop App, which advertises itself as a general money management app which helps nudge you into making choices that can help you save.
The Snoop App has a really fun presentation style and great marketing – they have a cute robot who in their present marketing campaign is “Robot Hood, swinging into action whenever your finances need attention!”
However the proof is in the test if the Snoop App can actually save you money as it claims – so on that basis, onward with our review!
How long has the Snoop App been running?
The Snoop App is actually one of the newer money management apps out there, being launched in April 2020. The launch was that rare case of actually being slightly earlier than anticipated, but with many people suddenly finding their finances in potential uncertainty in a very strange year, the founder thought the Snoop App could help and launched it earlier than planned.
On the subject of the founder, the brain behind snoop is Jayne-Anne Gadhia, who prior to running Snoop was the CEO of Virgin Money UK, and alongside her business accomplishments has done a lot of fantastic work to promote women in banking.
How does the Snoop App Work?
Snoop is a little different from some of the other money management apps out there, as is less focused on being a budgeting app and more all around money management. This usually takes place in the form of nudges (or “snoops”) as the app calls them where you’ll be nudged into action letting you know you could potentially save money on a bill (I.E, if you pay a mobile phone bill, a “snoop” might alert you to a stronger and cheaper deal).
To make this happen, the Snoop app uses the “Open Banking” infrastructure which is provides limited read-only access to your bank account and to your credit card accounts. You can select what accounts you want to give access to, however you obviously need to integrate every account you spend or are paid into for a complete view of your finances.
Your first thought might well be “is that safe to do?” – I’ll cover open banking in more detail after the review below.
As with other apps, integrating those accounts is a relatively seamless process. If you already have say, the American Express app on your phone, the Snoop App and the American Express App work together very effectively to make adding each account very easy.
I will just note that the Snoop App took a little bit longer than others to analyse my accounts than other apps – I was told to come back in half an hour after linking my relevant accounts in the Snoop App, whereas with other apps I’ve reviewed connection has been instant. I don’t mind waiting for a good thing, but it was just something I noted.
What the Snoop App does well
Overall the App is well presented – any connected accounts are right at the top, meaning you can immediately see where your overall financial position stands at present.
The part of the App that shows you your personalised “snoops” is the strongest bit of the app. It feels like it’s been developed in a similar way to Pinterest (which is a bold choice) but the Snoop app pulls this off well. What that means is that each tile is a separate piece of potentially useful information, and effective use of relevant company logos helps bring this to life. If you’re particularly interested in what a Snoop offers, you can pin them down and favourite them for later.
I’ve enclosed some examples of Snoops and what they look like below:
I also liked that you could provide feedback on if a Snoop was useful or not after reading it, which (theoretically) would cause you to see more updates of a similar nature in future. I haven’t used the app long enough to be able to see if this really does happen over time or not, but the theory at least is good.
The value of the “snoops” themselves is something I’m including in both the pros-and-negatives of the app. On the pro side the best Snoops really do add some value, and are effective because the the Snoop App’s ability to recognize potential payments and make appropriate recommendations effectively.
For example one of my “snoops” was the Snoop App recognising that I had just paid an energy bill which had increased month-on-month significantly – so it was suggesting I run a quick check through the app to see if I could switch to a cheaper provider.
The negatives I’ll cover further in the “could improve” section.
The Snoop app’s budgeting tools are well presented if you’re after a very quick snapshot of all your spending in one place (such if you have multiple credit or debit cards).
In my original piece on the Snoop App, I’d said that the budgeting tools were a bit limited beyond that – but since I wrote that improvements have been made in order to track and monitor your bills and regular payments – it a good addition. Having said that, services which other apps offer for free only come with the “Snoop Plus” premium option.
A monthly “spending summary” has also been added which details better your spending over the month, an example below:
Finally I will just mention that whoever is doing the content writing for Snoop is doing a great job – reading the articles and “snoops” was generally upbeat, occasionally fun and most importantly clear.
What the Snoop App could improve
As mentioned above, when the “Snoops” are valuable they’re really handy. Where I felt a bit mixed as a money blogger is that quite a lot of the recommendations were essentially nudges into spending more money, rather than helping save.
A good example of this was that the app had noted that I spent some money at the always excellent Hotel Chocolat recently. As a result one of my “snoops” was alerting me to the fact they had a sale on. Now this is sensible marketing, and a good way for the Snoop App to keep things free and make money – but despite being a discount I’m not sure it doesn’t tap into the psychology of buying things you don’t need to be a little uncomfortable seeing that in a money management app.
As also mentioned above, the budgeting tools let you see your overall spending from bank accounts in one place, but are fairly limited – you can’t monitor your cash flow against a payday for example, or see how outgoings match up to income without paying for Snoop Plus. As a result if using an app to budget is your aim, going for one of the more-budgeting focused other apps in the form of Money Dashboard Neon and Emma may make more sense (those links are to our recent reviews of both).
The design is generally great – there’s a couple of slightly odd choices, like the need to pull up a bottom tab to pull up the “snoops” rather than having them front and centre on the app – but that’s a very minor gripe.
Is the Snoop App free?
The Snoop app is completely free to use, however do note that this is partially as your data will be used on an fully-anonymised basis to understand spending and market trends. (Essentially, you are providing free market research information in exchange for the free services of the Snoop app).
There is a premium option called Snoop Plus available on a 7-day trial and then a 3.99 per month ongoing cost – I have written a separate section on if this is worth it further down the review.
Overall review of the Snoop App.
The Snoop App does have some value and is worth installing, as at it’s best it’s very effective at detecting and clearly messaging where you may be overpaying on household bills and nudging you to make changes which can be effective.
Like many similar apps, the commercial reality of needing to make a profit slightly holds the app back, as there are an equal number of prods into spending more money. To my mind this is good marketing, but does spoil me recommending the app if your aim is to minimise your spending. If you’re more relaxed and deal hunting appeals, then it’s a slightly different story.
I feel the app would be stronger if it committed to a course rather than a slight halfway house between a budgeting app and money saver. If the budgeting side was improved to match those of the dedicated apps, there would be a much more compelling argument for use of the Snoop App.
(Note: Since I originally wrote this review I have seen Snoop make considerable efforts to improve the budgeting aspects of the app – whilst I feel they’re not quite as strong as some of the pure budgeting app’s, they’re getting much closer and I added on a half a star as a result).
Where can I download the Snoop App?
(Note: We may receive a small commission for referring you using our link, but it won’t affect the service you receive and per our editorial policy, we always write honestly about what we review, no matter if we get paid or not).
Is Snoop Plus worth it?
Generally speaking no – it adds some useful tricks if you’re using the app for budgeting such as the ability to specify a payday, create spending alerts or put custom categories in place which are all good and the implementation of them is well designed.
The challenge is that if you’re looking for budgeting, most of these services are now provided by other banking apps or Snoop’s rivals in the banking space (see our piece on UK budgeting apps), so the only question really is if you like the Snoop interface so much you’d want to see it in this forward.
Is the Snoop App safe?
As I mentioned above, the Snoop App uses the Open Banking initiative to read our bank account data, so I wanted to include a piece on the safety of open banking.
Open Banking is now a well established part of new rules brought in by legislation under the Payment Services Directive to allow organisations to access and make better use of financial data. The access you grant to apps like the Snoop app is very highly regulated to keep it secure, however nothing can ever be said to be 100% risk free.
All you provide to the Snoop App is read only data – I.E it’s the equivalent of letting the app take a peek at your statement for a short period of time which you must re-permit each 90 days – you don’t give any access to the actual management or the direct login of your bank account.
On on that, just remember you should NEVER give any app or any person any of your account’s direct login details.
Therefore the potential direct harm or someone to make malicious transactions/steal your money is limited, however in a more general sense you should think carefully about who you provide read access to beyond the Snoop App. Given the wrong person read-only access could provide a fraudster or hacking with data on your spending that could help them commit identity fraud.
Have you tried the Snoop App? I’d love to hear your experiences or if you have any further questions! Just let us know in the comments below.
And that’s it!
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