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Chip app review – want the best auto savings account?

15–18 minutes to read

In this Chip app review, we look at what makes this award-winning, market-beating savings account so special. With Artificial Intelligence at its core, this could revolutionise how effectively people can save. In this Chip app review, we take a closer look at what makes it so darn good and what to watch out for.

Plus, we’ve also got our hands on an exclusive VIP code. So, if you think it’s right for you, you can get access to this invite-only Chip+1 account offering market-beating interest rates. But before you sign up, make sure you read this review carefully. This account isn’t like a traditional savings account and you don’t want to get caught short.

What is the Chip app?

Chip is an award-winning savings app that connects directly to your bank account and uses AI to help make saving money easy.

Its mission is to build the world’s best savings app through a team of software developers, data analysts and entrepreneurs.

This all sounds really trendy and maybe more suited to a Silicon Valley tech startup, but Chip is currently firing on all cylinders. So far, over 300,000 people have signed up for this modern-day savings account.

This article is going to walk you through how Chip has got people excited about savings accounts again and can make a real difference to your financial fitness.

Heads up – We aim to produce honest and accurate content, however, we are not financial advisors. If you need financial advice, Unbiased can connect you with a suitable professional for free. Some of our links may earn us a small commission to help us run the site.

Chip+1 VIP Promo Code - Get 1.25% interest with Chip+1

Currently, the most attractive savings rates are offered by the Chip app are for the Chip+1 account. The challenge is, you need to be referred to the program by a friend.

Well, good news. We have got a special VIP code from Chip app so you can access the Chip+1 1.25% savings rate. Just use the VIP code below when signing up:

Chip+1 VIP Code: EATSLEEP21

You’ll need to download the app and sign up first which you can download here.

Warning: while 1.25% may sound attractive, there are some caveats that may not make Chip good value for everyone. The rest of this article has all the key details you need to know.

Chip savings rates compared

How does Chip work?

Fundamentally, the Chip app uses modern open banking standards to read your financial transactions. It then monitors your transactions and uses Artificial Intelligence to understand how you spend and your habits. Then, it starts to siphon off small amounts of cash every few days.

Next, this money is deposited with Chip app where you can then choose which savings account to allocate your cash to.

Ok, so it all sounds very fancy. But in reality, it’s very similar to using round-ups we’re now so familiar with. It works because taking a small amount of money every so often feels better and is more manageable than a large lump sum.

The difference is, unlike a basic no-frills savings account, with the Chip app you’ll pay a monthly fee. There is a free option, but this strips out some of the auto-save features. We cover this further down.

With Chip app, you can decide how aggressively you want the app to siphon your cash away. Importantly, this allows you to save significantly more than you would with round-ups alone. That said, there are some accounts now, such as Monzo Premium where you can increase the round-ups multiplier.

Chip - Everything you need to know in 60 seconds

Is the Chip app different?

Fundamentally, the Chip app is different from a normal savings account. It connects to your everyday bank account and uses Artificial Intelligence to maximise your savings.

Plus, here are the other neat features you can get from the Chip app that you won’t see in a traditional savings account:

  • Auto-saves – Chip app automatically saves small amounts of money based on your spending. You can set the aggressiveness of the saving on a scale from 1 to 5.
  • Chip+1 – currently one of the best rates on the market and on an ‘invite only’ basis. Get your exclusive account with our VIP code EATSLEEP21.
  • Goals – Chip encourages you to set savings goals. This helps you focus on what you’re saving for and get there quicker.
  • Earn interest – access to market-leading savings rates.
  • Payday Put Away – save the day you’re paid and stay one step ahead of your money.
  • Save Streak – challenge yourself to see how many days you can save for.
  • Withdrawals – get money back the same day.

How to set up Chip app

  • Download the app using this link.
  • Verify your ID as part of the signup process.
  • Verify your debit card – simply take a picture of your card within the app.
  • Connect to your bank.
  • Set a savings goal – or you can do this at a later date.
  • Set up ‘save when you get paid’ – can also be done later.
  • Enter your Chip+1 VIP passcodeEATSLEEP21 to earn 1.25% interest
  • Choose a plan – after your first £100 is saved you can choose either the AI (paid) or Lite (free) plan.

Chip app supported bank accounts

Chip app works the following bank accounts. If your bank is not on the list then Chip app won’t be able to connect.

  • Bank of Scotland
  • Barclays
  • Danske
  • First Direct
  • HSBC
  • Halifax
  • Lloyds Bank
  • Marks & Spencer
  • Monzo
  • Nationwide
  • Natwest
  • RBS
  • Revolut
  • Santander
  • Starling
  • TSB
  • Ulster Bank
Chip Review - Connect your bank

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Chip app fees and costs

Handily, the Chip app offers all customers a free trial to the Lite version for 28 days. Then, after you have auto-saved £100, you will be automatically enrolled onto the ChipAI plan, but you can downgrade at any time.

The ChipAI plan costs £1.50 every 28 days and gives you access to the full features. However, if you downgrade to the ChipLite plan, you’ll then lose the AI auto-save functionality. We’ve detailed the difference in the plans below.

Crucially, you have access to the Chip+1 market-leading 1.25% interest rate account whichever plan you opt for.

Important: after the 25th of April 2021, Chip app is changing the free trial to the first 28 days and now includes the ChipAI plan (rather than waiting for the first £100 to be saved). This is much better as it means you can try all the features including AI for a month for free. After this, you’ll have to choose the best plan for you.

ChipAI ChipLite
Full access to award-winning AI Yes No
Unlimited use of exclusive auto-saving rules, such as Payday Put Aways Yes No
The chance to earn 1.25% bonus in the Chip+1 account on funds: Up to £5,000 Up to £2,000
Deposit into market-leading, FSCS eligible interest accounts Yes Yes
Access to investment funds (coming soon) (coming soon)

Is Chip app good value?

Personally, while I really like the auto-save features, I’m not sold on having to pay for them. By contrast, basic Round-ups in Monzo or Starling are free and an effective way to save a small amount of cash. That said, Chip app allows you to control how aggressively you save.  This is also available in Monzo but again, is a paid-account feature.

Either way, saving small amounts throughout the month is a good habit to get in to. Chip app allows you to do this easily, automatically and intelligently. So, if you struggle to save, it’s worth checking Chip app out, even if you cancel after the trial.

Market-beating interest rates

While Chip app offers access to handy savings features, it’s the Chip+1 account that’s getting all the attention right now. This is the account that you need to be referred to so that you can gain 1.25% interest. You can use our VIP code EATSLEEP21 to get access to Chip+1. In general, savings interest rates are abysmal at the moment, so 1.25% is actually a really good rate.

Remember, if you plan to use the ChipAI plan, then getting access to the 1.25% savings account will offset the costs. Crucially, you’ll need about £1,450 in your Chip+1 account to cover the monthly fee with the interest you’ll earn. Any earnings above this amount and up to £5,000 will be profit. This means in total, you could earn just over £44 per year in interest. Nice.

In contrast, if you opt for the ChipLite plan, you can earn 1.25% interest on balances up to £2,000. This would mean you’d earn a total of £25 per year which is arguably not as good value by a long shot.

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How to use Chip app effectively

Emergency savings

While the actual amount earned each year might not get pulses racing, Chip app is a good place to store money that you might need to access quickly. Its rates beat most other providers in the market by a long way. At the time of writing, the Chip+1 account was even beating the savings account golden-child, Marcus, by two and a half times!

With this in mind, I’m looking at Chip+1 as a good place to store my Emergency Fund. Currently, my Emergency Fund sits in a combination of Premium Bonds and a high-street savings account. By contrast, Chip+1 beats my high-street account by 125 times!

If you don’t have an Emergency Fund, then Chip app is a great place to start building one. Its Auto-save and Payday Put Away features can help you siphon off money quickly and easily. This could make building an Emergency Fund much less daunting.

Overdraft destroyer

Also, Chip app can also help those that have been stuck in their overdraft. By using the features offered by Chip app, you can slowly siphon off money from your account and build a fund to pay off your overdraft.

Usually, paying off your overdraft is not an easy task, especially if you’ve been stuck in it for some time. If this sounds like you, then check out our How to Budget Like a Pro article. It’s what I’ve been using for the last few years. It’s helped me stay on top of my budget and create a savings ‘gap’ to propel my finances forward.

Chip app savings goals

Personally, one feature I really like about Chip app is the savings Goals.

Essentially, Goals are a target you can set yourself and keep track of in Chip app. You can set an amount you’d like to put aside, name what you’re saving up for and then set a target date.

You can have up to three goals and allocate a percentage of your Auto-Saves to go towards each goal.

For example, if your Auto-Save was £20, you could put;

+ £4 (20%) towards your long-term goal (e.g. a house deposit)
+ £4 (20%) towards your medium-term goal (e.g. a holiday)
+ £12 (60%) towards your short term goal (e.g. new trainers)

This is a nifty feature that can help you keep motivated when saving.

ChipX - coming soon!

On the 25th of April 2021, Chip app will launch a new premium plan called ChipX.

Specifically, this new plan will be aimed at those savers seeking better returns through investments.

Fundamentally, you’ll be able to open and invest through a Stocks and Shares ISA or General Investment Account. As yet, we don’t know exactly what you’ll be able to invest in, but Chip app has stated that there will be access to a range of funds.

So, with savings rates so low (even Chip’s) and investing typically returning better results, this could be a great addition to the Chip app.

All ChipAI customers will get a free 28 day trial of ChipX and after this point, it’ll cost you £3 every 28 days.

As always, before jumping into investing we recommend you read our Beginners Guide to Investing – How to bankroll your financial freedom. It’s a great guide that will help you understanding investing better, including the risks and mistakes we’ve made.

Is Chip app safe?

The Chip+1 account is powered by the UK registered bank, ClearBank. Crucially, this means your funds are eligible for the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). This protects up to £85,000 of your cash. However, you don’t earn interest above £5,000 so personally, I wouldn’t plan on holding more than this.

However, money held in your main Chip app account is stored as e-money. Essentially, it is ring-fenced and protected but it is not actually covered by FSCS.

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Chip app reviews

Overall, the Chip app is easy to use and not over-complicated by a multitude of products. In fact, the customer reviews for Chip app back up my own experience. Furthermore, there’s also a lot of gratitude and appreciation here, which we don’t see very often for a financial product.

For example, customers using Chip app have expressed their thanks for helping them to start saving. Some have struggled to save in the past but for them, Chip app has come to the rescue.

It’s not often people thank a financial product in this way. Though we did see a similar thing when people started using Moneybox to get into investing. You can read our full Moneybox review here. However, if you don’t have an Emergency Fund, then you shouldn’t yet be considering investing.

Chip Customer Reviews:

  • iOS app store –  4.5 / 5
  • Google Play store – 4.2 / 5
  • Trustpilot – 4.2 / 5

Chip app vs Hargreaves Lansdown Active Savings

Industry-titan Hargreaves Lansdown now offers an Active Savings product. Essentially, this product allows you access to savings’ accounts from a range of banks and building societies. You can then mix and match these to get access to the best rates currently available.

The benefit of this is that it saves you time trawling the market and it’s all in one place. However, the catch is that Hargreaves Lansdown takes a cut. So whilst the interest rates may be good (eg, 0.5% at the time of writing), there may be better out there if you’re prepared to go looking.

On the flip side, the Hargreaves Lansdown Active Savings account is also free.

Take all this in to account, then, and there appears to be a sweet spot for each option.

For balances lower than £2,000, Hargreaves Active Savings would net you £10 in annual interest, vs £25 with the Chip Lite account and only £7 for the paid-for Chip+1 account. So purely on interest returns alone without considering the other features, Chip Lite is the winner. However, it has a cap of £2,000 in savings which qualify for the 1.25%.

So, increase the savings pot to £5,000, and Hargreaves Lansdown Active Savings is now returning £25 vs. £44.50 with Chip+1 (even after the fees). So, Chip app wins. But again, there is a cap of £5,000 in savings which qualify for the 1.25%.

Now, let’s scale the savings pot to £10,000. Hargreaves Lansdown Active Savings are returning £50 per year whilst Chip+1 is already maxed out at £44.50.

In summary then, whilst they work a bit differently, Hargreaves Lansdown Active Savings generally works for bigger balances based on interest rates alone. But let’s not forget the other funky features with Chip app which may allow us to save more overall due to the AI and positive saving habits it encourages.

What we like about Chip app

  • Auto-saves – anything that helps you save without having a huge impact on your finances is a good thing.
  • Controls – you can choose how aggressively you save and dial it up or down when required.
  • Goals – having a savings goal and a specific time to hit that goal is great for motivation.
  • Savings rateChip+1 is the account to go for with 1.25% on offer.
  • Quick withdrawals – unlike some top-rate savings accounts which have limits and conditions.
  • InnovationChip app is adding investing and savings products into the same platform, similar to market leader Hargreaves Lansdown.

What we don't like about Chip app

  • Cost – if you have under £1,450 saved and are on the AI plan, you’ll actually be paying to save. It also looks like the ChipX plan will be more expensive than its competitors.
  • Saving limits – £5,000 for the AI plan and £2,000 for the Lite plan is a bit stingy and will put off major savers.
  • Interest conditions on the Chip+1 account – see below.

Chip - what's the catch?

Here’s the gotcha’s that you should consider before opening a Chip app account:

  • Fees – you’re automatically added to the AI plan once you auto-save £100. Your monthly fee is taken as soon as you cross this threshold, meaning many people will pay for the plan before they can downgrade.
  • Interest rate (Chip+1 only) – interest is not paid in the traditional sense. It’s actually a bonus paid out of Chip’s marketing budget. Crucially, it’s variable, which means it could get pulled at any point.
  • Interest payment interval (Chip+1 only) – your interest (or bonus) is paid every 12 weeks. It’s calculated each week but will only get paid if you keep your cash in the account. This means if you withdraw your cash at the wrong time in the cycle you could forfeit your bonus payment.
  • Compounding (Chip+1 only) – unlike traditional savings accounts, you won’t earn interest on your bonus payments. That’s fine if you saved up to your maximum amount, but a bit of a shame if not.
  • AI vs Lite plan – if you have less than £3,450 saved and are paying for the AI plan, then you’ll actually earn less interest per year than those on the Lite plan. This is because the cost to have the AI plan takes £1,450 in savings to offset.

It’s important to point out that in our view, none of these raises any serious concerns. However, it’s important to understand what you’re signing up for.

The reality is that savers must be prepared to reviewmove their money periodically to ensure thier cash is getting the best rate.

Chip app review - is it really the best savings account?

There’s no doubt about it; Chip app offers one of the best savings rates currently out there – as long as you open the Chip+1 account! Of course, there is a catch. If you want to save more than £2,000 then you’re going to have to pay for it.

In fact, if you have £5,000 saved with Chip+1, the rate you’re going to get is actually 0.9% once you take out the charges. However, while it’s lower than advertised, it’s still good compared to your other options.

Personally, I feel Chip app would be a good account to consider to build or store your emergency fund. It’s safe, easy to withdraw and it gives you a market-beating rate.

And if you struggle to save, the AI and Auto-Save features could help you easily build a good savings habit. This is one of the cornerstones of mastering your finances. Consider paying for this like investing a developing a new skill that will reap rewards later in life.

Overall, Chip app is a solid savings account. Let’s just hope they can keep the great rates they currently offer.

You can open your Chip account here, just make sure to use the EATSLEEP21 VIP code to get the best rate.

Here’s to Financial Fitness.

EatSleepMoney.co.uk does not offer financial advice and is intended for reference/information only. Remember, you should always carry out your own research and/or take specific professional advice before choosing any financial products or services or undertaking any business or financial venture. If you need financial advice Unbiased can connect you with a suitable professional for free. Investments may go up as well as down and you may get back less than you put in.