Whether you’re saving or investing, we have a wealth of apps at our fingertips to help. It’s time to put two big names head to head – in Moneybox vs Moneyfarm.
Taking charge of your own financial destiny is liberating, and the internet has provided a plethora of opportunities for you to do so. The question is, which investment app should you use to manage your investments?
In this article, we compare two of the UK’s most popular investing apps, Moneybox and Moneyfarm, to help you make the best choice.
Moneybox Vs Moneyfarm – Quick Verdict
Both Moneybox and Moneyfarm are great financial apps, but they suit different types of users.
If you find it more challenging to save, Moneybox is the better choice. However, you won’t receive any advice when it comes to investing and you will need to choose your own investment funds from its selection.
If you want something closer to personalised investment advice and a range of managed, diversified portfolios to invest in, then Moneyfarm is our preferred option (though you will need £500 to get started).
What Is Moneybox?
Moneybox is a savings and investment app. It connects to your bank account, helps you to save money, and gives you opportunities to move from saving to investing. It’s a clean, easy-to-use app that is great if you are starting out with saving and investments.
What Is Moneyfarm?
Moneyfarm is more sophisticated than Moneybox. It’s more like an online wealth manager, with pre-selected portfolios if you are a beginner. If you want to manage your own money more actively, you can select from a range of funds to create your own fund-of-funds portfolio.
How Moneybox and Moneyfarm Compare
When examining these two investment apps, I wanted to get down to the bare bones and compare them across seven main attributes.
1. How Much Money Do You Need to Get Started?
This is the first differentiator between the two apps.
Using the Moneybox app, you can invest from as little as £1. To invest through Moneyfarm, you’ll need a minimum investment of £500. The best way to visualise this difference is that:
- Moneybox helps you to identify where and how you can save money from your weekly or monthly budget, and then gives you options to invest those savings.
- Moneyfarm is an app that lets you invest savings you have already made (or money you have available from your budget).
2. Investment Account Options
Both Moneybox and Moneyfarm give you multiple account options, helping you to benefit from tax efficiencies and invest toward specific financial goals:
- General Investment Account (GIA) – no tax benefits but open to all assets
- Individual Savings Account (ISA) – you can invest up to £20,000 and benefit from tax-free growth and income
- Self-Invested Pension Plan (SIPP) – you get tax relief on your contributions, but cannot access benefits until at least age 55
In addition, you can also save for your child in a Junior ISA (and invest up to £9,000 with tax benefits) through the Moneyfarm app.
The product option widens with Moneybox, with accounts available for those who are trying to create good saving habits and saving toward their first home. These include:
- Simple Saver and Notice accounts – to earn interest on your cash savings
- Cash Lifetime ISA – like a stocks and shares ISA, but with no income tax on the interest on your cash savings
- Lifetime ISA – a special type of ISA to help you save for a deposit on a first home or for retirement
3. Fund Options
Fund and investment options differ greatly between the two apps:
When you invest using Moneybox, you have a choice of 24 funds giving exposure to different types of assets (e.g., shares, government and corporate bonds, and ETFs), geographies, and industrial sectors. You can also invest in a range of U.S. stocks.
You can also choose to invest in one of Moneybox’s Starting Options. Each is made up of a range of diversified funds and designed to meet your specific investment profile – Cautious, Balanced, or Adventurous.
Moneyfarm’s investment options allow you to tailor your investment portfolio more effectively. For example, instead of three investment profiles, Moneyfarm offers a range of seven profiled portfolios through an ascending level of risk. You can also invest using an ESG option (environmental, social, and corporate governance).
At the lower end of risk (Portfolio 1), you have no exposure to shares, with all but 2% of your investment in government and corporate bonds. Between 2016 and 2023, this fund has returned an average of -0.3% per year, underperforming competing funds by an average of 1.5% per year.
At the highest risk level (Portfolio 7), the fund has delivered 7.6% per year on average between 2016 and 2023. This fund is invested mainly in equities (shares) with around 18% in bonds, real estate, and commodities. It has outperformed comparable funds by an average of 2% each year.
4. Advice vs Self-Selection
Moneybox and Moneyfarm also offer a completely different investing experience.
When investing through Moneybox, you are your own money manager. It’s up to you to decide on your risk level and select your own portfolio or tailor your portfolio from its range of funds. For me, this is a small contradiction – the system is great for beginners, but you get no personalised investment advice.
Moneyfarm’s funds are actively managed by an investment team. They have experience and expertise that you don’t have. You start by creating an investor profile. This helps Moneyfarm match you with one of its Portfolios. Best of all, you can reach out to a dedicated investment consultant at any time for support on your investment journey.
Moneybox charges a £1 monthly fee on top of a 0.45% platform fee, and individual fund charges of up to 0.58%. (The platform fee reduces to 0.15% for SIPP funds above £100,000.)
Moneyfarm charges a sliding scale of charges, from 0.75% of fund value for investment balances up to £10,000 down to 0.35% for portfolio balances of more than £500,000. There is a flat fund management fee of 0.2%.
This makes it challenging to make a direct comparison of charges. On the one hand, the ability for you to invest such small amounts in Moneybox is ideal for the beginner investor. However, the £1 monthly fee on top of the other fees can quickly erase any gains, especially if you are investing less than, say, £200 per month.
While the actual calculation is complex, it’s cheaper for you to invest via Moneyfarm.
Both Moneybox and Moneyfarm are regulated by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Your money is also protected under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), which means should Moneybox of Moneyfarm go bankrupt or suffer financial fraud, up to £85,000 of your money will be fully protected.
In addition to this, both apps benefit from bank-level security, which includes data encryption and high-level protocols for logging in.
7. Support and Education
Whatever your investment background, there is always room to improve. In addition, what do you do if something goes wrong, or something doesn’t ‘look right’? That’s why I like to see a lot of support and education materials available directly from the app.
Moneybox’s financial education pages, found by clicking on the support tab on the navigation bar, provide guidance under 16 different categories. You’ll find the answers to hundreds of FAQs here, covering all you need to know about the app and basic principles of its savings and investment features.
If you cannot find the answers you are seeking, its support team is available between 9am and 5:30pm seven days a week. For non-urgent queries, you can contact Moneybox support by email.
In addition to all this information on its support pages, Moneybox also provides a Learn Hub. This is essentially a blog with articles under four headers: Investing; Home-buying; Pensions; and Saving. These are useful, though they lack a little depth and aren’t published as regularly as I would like.
Moneyfarm’s support team is available 24/7, via live chat, phone, and email. The team are knowledgeable and very helpful, though you might need to wait a while to be answered during busy periods.
In addition to this support, you’ll also find plenty of educational material on the Moneyfarm app and website. Its ‘Insights’ page offers advice and guidance in financial planning, behavioural economics, and investment products, as well as a steady stream of news and market roundups centred on financial markets. There is a small range of ebooks for you to download, covering topics such as investment strategy, ISAs, and retirement planning.
For Ethical Investors
If you wish to invest in ethical companies and assets, both Moneybox and Moneyfarm have options for you. Moneybox provides access to five specific ESG funds, while Moneyfarm has developed a mid-risk ESG fund.
How to Get Started
Both Moneybox and Moneyfarm apps are easy to use. Their user-friendly interfaces make it simple to track your investments and make the process of investing easy.
Getting started on both apps is also easy, though follow slightly different processes. You’ll need to be 18 and a UK resident.
Moneybox is only available if you have a mobile phone, and to open an account you’ll need to enter a few basic details:
- Your bank account details
- Your National Insurance number (though this isn’t needed for a General Investment Account)
- Your online banking and credit card accounts if you wish to use roundups to save and invest
It only takes a couple of minutes to sign up.
You can be up and running on Moneyfarm almost as easily. You can register on the mobile app or through the Moneyfarm website. To do so, you’ll need to complete a risk assessment so the robo-advisor can determine which is the most suitable portfolio for you. Then you’re ready to open the product that best suits you, and set up your investments.
What Do Moneybox and Moneyfarm Customers Have to Say?
78% of customer reviews on Trustpilot rate Moneybox as a 5-star app. It gets top marks for customer service, ease of use, and making investment so accessible. However, it receives most positive comments for the way it helps users to save and access mortgages.
Moneyfarm’s rating on Trustpilot is similar, with 69% giving 5 stars and 15% 4 stars. Users highlight the returns, ease of use, communication, and excellent customer service.
The Bottom Line
We like both Moneybox and Moneyfarm, though for different reasons. Both apps are great to use, and easy to sign up to.
If you want to start saving and investing, then Moneybox is the better choice. It’s got a lot of account options that can help you save more easily, and for first-time homebuyers its mortgage service and Lifetime ISA are a definite plus.
However, in the wealth management arena, we prefer Moneyfarm. Its educational materials are superior, and its range of funds (and performance) is more akin to receiving personalised financial advice. The fee structure is simpler than Moneybox’s, and charges are lower.