Updated: 22nd January 2022
A bit different from the other firms we review in this space – Plum offer digital wealth management, plus a host of other services for managing your money.
What is Plum?
Plum is an investing platform with a difference. Not only do they have 1,243,533 customers (as at May 2022), but are one of the few apps to link banking with investing. It means that they could be a one-stop-shop for your day-to-day spending, while at the same time facilitating investing in their range of 3 oven-ready portfolios. The other benefit of the banking hook-up is that you don’t need to open a new bank account to use Plum’s ‘little n often’ round-up service, which means you will barely notice you’ve started investing – it really is that simple. You can also see all your spending and investing in one place, with smart budgeting tools and ‘pockets’ for your money, some of which can earn interest. There are 12 ready-made portfolios at Plum which have snappy titles like ‘Best of British’ or ‘American Dream’, making it easy to understand where the investments are made.
Overall Score 3
What accounts are available?
This is one of the lower scores in this section and that’s just down to the fact that there’s only really two-and-a-half account types available. There’s the non-tax-wrapped General Investment Account (GIA), and Individual Savings Account (ISA) and half a Self Invested Personal Pension (SIPP) – that is to say that you can build your pension pot with Plum, but then when you want to draw your pension you’ll have to take it elsewhere.
What kind of investments can I make?
Full points for Plum here. There are 12 portfolios available (only 8 in the SIPP) but rather than just saying they are low, medium or high risk, they are grouped in other interesting ways. For example there’s a ‘Tech Giants’ portfolio, a ‘Best of British’ one, and a ‘Clean and Green’ one too. Of the 12 you should be able to find something that tickles your fancy. According to Plum it takes under 5 minutes to get started and you can invest with as little as £1.
What account features are available?
On the face of it this is a pretty poor score. We asked Plum about automatic rebalancing of your portfolio and they said they would get back to us, but didn’t. On the plus side there are some services available that could be useful but are outside the remit of our scoring system. For example, Plum also offers cash accounts for smart savings. There’s also something called Money Maximiser so you can manage your cash better. They can also help you with your household bills and finding the best deals. None of that helps with the section score though.
How can I access my account and get support?
Bang on mid-table here. The Plum service is app only – there’s no website equivalent access, so you need to make sure you’re happy with phone based access. Whilst you can use the chat app to ask questions, we didn’t find the questions we asked had answers the team knew. There’s no phone access to support either.
How much does it cost?
Plum charge a bit differently than some of the others. There’s an ‘annual average fund management and product provider fee’ (although its not clear who gets the product provider fee) and then they charge a minimum of £1/month for Plum Plus, which is basically their own fee. You can also pay more for extra services.
Is the plum app worth it?
Well that depends on what you mean by ‘worth it’?! If you are looking for a cost-effective investment app, then the answer is yes. They score 5 out 5 in our review for costs. Plum charge slightly differently from some other platforms as they have a ‘subscription fee’ which is charged monthly. The good news is that (as of May 2022) it’s a fixed fee of £1/month, with the first month for free if you opt for the ‘Plum Plus’ service. You may upgrade the service for more features and greater access, but if you’re just starting out investing in 2022, then the ‘Plum Plus’ service gives you access to a General Investment Account and the Plum Individual Savings Account (ISA).
In terms of other fees, the funds included when buying a ready-made portfolio also have fees attached – these go to the fund management company to pay them for running the fund. Plum also charge a platform fee – added on top of your subscription fee – which pays for the running of the Plum investment app.
These fees won’t come out of your bank account like the subscription fee, but instead are automatically removed from the value of the fund itself. At the time of writing, Plum’s average fund management and platform fee across its 12 portfolios is 0.48% – so if you invest £1,000 on day one, a year later the average charge would have been £4.80. That seems pretty reasonable to us.
Is the Plum App trustworthy?
When you save and invest with any app or platform you will want to know that the company you’re using is trustworthy. That’s especially so in recent times as there’s been lots of new investment apps and platforms launched in the last 5 years. The good news is that to be able offer any investment services legally, firms have to be authorised and regulated to do so by some official body. In the UK, that’s the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), and we’re pleased to report that Plum is indeed regulated by the august body.
Plum’s website is also very secure – they support face & fingerprint ID, and use 256-bit TLS encryption.
There are more than 75,000 reviews of Plum on Trustpilot, the App Store and Playstore – overall, Plum score 4.7 as at May 2022.
So, if you choose to save and invest using Plum, then you have some reassurance that they can be trusted. In fact, Plum have written their own article going into much more detail about it all: View this here
Can you make money with the Plum App?
The short answer to this is, yes, you can make money with the Plum app. But there’s no safe way of making money when you’re investing through any app. The investments you make may rise in value – but they may also go down in value too. As with all investing, there are two key things you can do to minimise the risk of your investments losing you money: give it time, and spread your money around.
In other words, don’t use the Plum investment app to try to make money overnight. Building wealth requires long term investing, by which we mean at least 5 years. Also, by putting your money in one of the 12 ready-made portfolios designed by Plum, you are already spreading your money around because you’re not just investing in a single company’s shares; you’re buying a basket of shares, all under a common theme like ‘Best of British’ which includes a wide range of UK company shares and tracks the performance of the FTSE All-Share Index.