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First Direct launches marketplace banking app

First Direct launches marketplace banking app

First Direct is to launch a new app to help people better manage their finances.

The online bank is piloting the 'artha' app, which will allow users to bring data from all of their bank accounts together into one place and categorise their spending.

The app will analyse the data and help them to find relevant financial products, such as encouraging them to switching utility provider.

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First Direct said it will offer products and tools from across the market, including from other providers.

Artha will aim to help people better understand where and how they are spending their money.

Dennis Hall, director at Yellowtail Financial Planning, said: "This could be a useful nudge toward getting people to engage with their finances.

"Budgeting is one of the things people seem to find most difficult, so an app that brings together spending patterns would be useful.

"I suspect this will appeal to app-savvy millennials first and these are not necessarily an adviser’s core market so they do need tools to help them shape a financial strategy."

In a six-month trial, the app will cover areas such as utility switching, investments and credits using products from providers including American Express, Nutmeg and MoneyFarm.

Joe Gordon, head of First Direct, said: "Customers are putting more value on service and experience, not just products, and want companies that focus on this.

"We believe it could make banking better, more transparent and more innovative."

Other features will include transaction lists, which can be shared with other users, and a tool to help people set saving and spending goals.

Mr Hall added: "Although the app links to third party providers I suspect it will eventually try to direct savers to in-house solutions where they exist.

"I welcome anything that helps people better engage with their money, but I am dubious about just how much take-up the app will see."

Ed Maslaveckas, co-founder of Bud, which provides the technology for the app, said: "The open banking movement has promised a lot for a long time now, and it is only through initiatives such as this that we’ll be able to start delivering on that potential."