Ok- what I love(d) about Chip: it took a manageable amount of money a few times a month and before I knew it, I had a few hundred pounds saved that I otherwise wouldn’t have saved.
Things that are turning me off Chip these days:
-I feel hounded to do this ChipX thing. I have no interest in stocks and shares and all. I save about £1000 annually with Chip. It’s not worth doubling my monthly payment for that amount, is it? In any case, I keep getting messages from Chip about it, and when I went into the app today, I see that I’m already on it (‘free trial’ that I knew nothing about- maybe I touched the wrong button at some point?)
-Then the confusion- I tried to turn off ChipX and just go back to AI. When I did, it did that passive aggressive thing of saying the mock chatty way something like, ‘Sure thing- so you want to double your fees from (whatever)% to (whatever)%- we can do that for you.’ Or something- you know what I mean. Anyway- I either double my monthly fee to go X, which won’t be worth it for me, or I increase my fees (what fees are these?)??
-So- anyone else feel that things have become more complex? I just want Chip to take a few pounds a month and me not to feel it. If I go ChipLite (is that still an option? Is it completely free?), can I just programme it to take, say, £12 three times a month? Chip tends to take much the same amount every time anyway: am I as well setting up a standing order to a savings account and ditching Chip?
I have no sensible response but I cannot wait to read the responses. I am totally behind you with everything you have said. As a shareholder I want CHIP to succeed but the annoyance level of CHIP lately just makes it not seem worth it.
I have shares too. I can’t for the life of me remember why I thought that would be a good idea when I bought them: I can’t even sell them, can I?
The friends and family I introduced have gone down the route of setting up standing orders, it’s a shame as I am an investor but they just wanted the simple savings system.
Hi bdoh1888 - I completely agree with you. It’s worth saying that I’m an investor and have been quite excited for ChipX for ages, it’s been a long time coming!
I also haven’t taken advantage of the ChipX product, mainly due to it’s fees. I currently have a Stocks and Shares ISA with Vanguard which I find to be much more affordable (fee is a percentage of your deposits, somewhere in the region of 0.2%). While the ChipX product is good, you’re effectively paying a premium in fees from what I can understand as you’re still having to pay a percentage fee to Blackrock for access to the fund (similar to Vanguard) but with a £1.50 premium to Chip on top.
To me, it’s much easier and cheaper to just stick with Vanguard
with its lower fees and use the Chip only for its autosaving feature (which is great btw).
I do feel slightly hassled by the app, constantly reminding me to use the ChipX product but I won’t be unfortunately.
According to Chip on LinkedIn there are 129 employees at Chip. If the average salary of an employee is £50,000 (see links at bottom of post) then Chip is spending around £6,000,000 per year on salaries. Every time you save via a debit card, Chip has to pay a fee. Although Chip has raised a lot of money from crowdfunding (£23 million according to Crowdcube), the cost of employees and fees to run the product are adding up. If Chip has 300,000 users and 25% are active and paying £3 per month then the company is earning around £3 million per year which goes some of the way to paying the bills but is not enough.
Most startups spend more money than they make at the start because they’re paying for growth, however there is a limit on how much money you can keep spending: at some point, people are going to stop investing. Chip has to stop losing money before investors stop adding more money, which means getting every user to at least pay enough to break even.
If you’re an investor then it is a good thing to see Chip start charging every user, because otherwise they would run out of money and shut down and your investment would be worthless. As a user, these confusing changes are probably terrible and its clear that Chip is struggling to create a sustainable model. Compare to Plum for example which has half as many employees and 5x as many customers.
Chips latest company accounts aren’t released yet but when they are you should check and you’ll probably find that they’re losing at least half a million pounds per month and so it’s understandable to see the rapid experimentation of charges for customers. I predict more crowdfunding within the next 12 months so they can keep going.
I’m Alex co-founder and CMO. Thanks so much for all your feedback - we really appreciate the time you all take.
SO two cents from me. We have two very clearly defined user types- we have those who use Chip to automatically save and save up for things. This was obviously Chip’s initial USP to autosave. We still have a lot of users who enjoy and love Chip for that. For those users paying £1.50 to autosave and make the most of the Ai is great.
We also have another type of user who in the last 6 months has actually become the larger cohort in the user base. These users use Chip to get returns on their cash. We started this by launching Chip+1 and have seen huge popularity from that account with shout outs from some of the biggest names in finance. We will continue to be bringing these people the best savings products… however with interest rates super low at the moment and inflation higher - having money in cash savings actually means you’re losing money over time. No savings product currently beats inflation which means you are (i’m afraid to say losing money). … so! that’s why we want to implement a product (ChipX) that gave the control of saving with the returns of low, sensible, diversified investing. The BlackRock funds are massivley diversified and although your capital is at risk they are very vanilla and a better option for long term money than funds.
Anyway, i would love your feedback. We’ve seen massive popularitty in ChipX that has blown away our expectations - so we’re always looking to make it better.
Ok- thanks for the reply.
My point, though, is that it’s not clearly defined. I seem to be on a free trial of ChipX (27 days left, I’m told, to my surprise) that I didn’t know I’d signed up to. Presumably I’ll be charged £3 next month if I don’t cancel it?
There was also all that stuff about the ewallet being disbanded and all. THAT was basically what I thought the Chip USP was: it would take money from my account and keep it for me. That was the start of me losing track of what was happening: then all this stuff (proper heavy-selling) about ChipX has just left me feeling confused and hassled by something that I’d always recommended to people as being effortless and helpful.
So- I’m no further forward: I’d be better just setting up a standing order into a savings account, would I?
And my investment in Chip- did that just keep the company going or is it worth anything?!
Hi Alex. Have you seen massive take up of ChipX because it’s automatically applied to people’s accounts, who then don’t realise they’ve been upgraded to something they didn’t ask for, rather than people opting in?
I’ve left a comment elsewhere on the forum but I don’t think that’s the right thing to do. The amount of marketing too has been enough to put me off keeping ChipX out of principle - far too many emails, messages in the app and push notifications.
Totally agree with you bdoh1888, additional services(especially that come with charges) should be ‘opt in’ not ‘opt out’. Its customer service 101. Imagine if your bank upgraded you automatically to a ‘Premium Account’, and started charging you £1.62 a month without asking?
Same in having simple, clear T&C, but since they constantly change everyone I had originally referred has since left.
Alex- you’ll acknowledge there’s not a lot of positive feedback on this thread, will you?
Also- do you admit that I was upgraded to a higher monthly charge without me opting into that?
Ok- Alex seems to have said his piece and isn’t answering any more questions. Those other less partisan people who replied: is Plum a better platform for me if I just want saves and for it to keep my money safe for me?
I’m genuinely troubled by Chip’s tendency to move me into different levels of charges without consulting me. They did this by not properly signalling the £1.50 charge when it was introduced, and they’ve done it again by moving me onto a ‘free’ trial of ChipX for a month (what’s the point in a month’s trial of ChipX??) without consulting me, then one of the co-founders comes into this discussion thread to brag about the high uptake, when he’s presumably including me as one of the people in that uptake!
Thanks in advance- any advice appreciated.
You need to remember it’s the weekend and people do have lives away from this forum, it’s work for Alex after all.
I’ve been with Plum and withdrew all my funds from there to invest in CHIP, mainly as an investor from the start, I needed to be supporting the product.
As for Plum, CHIP is in reality exactly the same thing, savings, investments etc.but with a much better return on savings, I think Plum is 0.4%.
They do have some quirky features like round-ups, rainy day putaways and the 52 week challenge but in essence they’re the same. Be careful with the rainy day challenge as you’ll be skint in no time with the British weather😄
As for customer service Plum truly sucks! In comparison you’re better off sticking with CHIP in my honest opinion.
Sorry for the delay in responding, I was at a wedding this weekend so quite busy.
I’ll address a couple of points if that’s ok: Firstly about the ChipX trial being opt-out rather than opt-in. So we took the decision to give the whole user base half price of ChipX for 28 days. Obviously with the intention of launching ChipX to the biggest bang possible, but also to reward our community with half price of the feature suite. I like to think we’ve been very transparent with the comms on “what’s happening and how to get value”. Arguably we’ve been too loud with these comms but I guess it’s a trade off between not being vocal enough and people not noticing v.s. being very loud with comms and people not liking the persistent nature of the comms.
I completely take on board your feedback though - and I want you to know we’re discussing it all internally in Chip. In hindsight I still think opt-out but everyone receiving the same, fair discount is the best way to launch a feature to the biggest fanfare possible - but I completely accept not everyone will agree with me. As I mentioned I do really appreciate your feedback and we will factor this in.
Secondly, about the direction of the product. So (for those OG Chip users) you’ll remember we started with a core proposition of “auto-saving”. That was our USP and what Chip was all about. For some of our user base that’s why they love Chip, however it’s not what’s going to make Chip a unicorn. At the end of the end day our mission is to make the best savings account in the world. There are two really important parts of that mission:
- Helping people save more (autosaving, recurring saves etc.)
- Great returns (best savings rates in the market, access to low risk investment funds etc.)
At the moment we are focussing on cracking the second part of that mission (returns). It’s our opinion that’s how our user base will get real value from the product, not just in the short term but in the long term too. Our purpose for being is to make the world richer - so we feel that focussing on returns (and specifically returns that beat inflation) is so important to that purpose.
Anyway, I hope that give you some insight. Thanks all so much for your comments - I really do appreciate it. I’ll try and respond where I can but i hope you appreciate I’m very busy with the day job (getting Chip millions of customers) so can’t respond that freely.
Hi Alex - thanks for the response. I understand that Chip needs to make itself the unicorn it’s been aspiring to be for a number of years now and as an investor and supporter of Chip, I’m pleased to hear it’s exceeding expectations in terms of popularity.
One thing I would like to clarify though, and you touched on it in your response, the decision was made to offer the entire userbase on the ChipAI plan, the ChipX product for 28 days. I agree this is a great way of onboarding a lot of existing customers onto the product. My issue is, and I’ve just checked this on the app, despite the fact that I was given ChipX for a month as a trial, now that has finished, it has continued my subscription to the ChipX product, at £3/mo, despite the fact that I have NOT made any contributions to any funds. I find this to be slightly disingenuous and could be perceived very negatively by others who have chosen to do the same as me.
Could this be communicated to the user base as a matter of urgency as I don’t think it’s overly clear in the correspondence I’ve received to date - I had to manually ‘downgrade’ my plan to ChipAI
please can you define “biggest bang”? do you mean press attention? are you saying, unambiguously, that the choice to onboard every user onto ChipX was not to maximise revenue?
Alex- thanks for taking the time to respond, but you have to acknowledge that you are NOT addressing the main concerns of the Chip users in this thread.
Firstly: Chip has more than once moved me onto paying more than I thought I was paying, without my express consent. It may be over dramatising it to say that users are at the mercy of what Chip wants to charge them per month, but it’s not over dramatising it to say that you need to keep an eye on Chip to make sure that they’re not charging you money that you haven’t consented to paying.
Secondly: the nature of the urges to embrace the more expensive model even though it may well cost the saver money: this is, as was said earlier, disingenuous at best as well being cynical and irritating, taking advantage of a cornered audience through the app.
Your interventions here, Alex, while I appreciate the time you’ve taken to make them, have NOT addressed the actual concerns. You’ve just reiterated a lot of advertising and management jargon about vision and expansion and so on: Chip really need to treat their uses with a lot more respect, to be frank. You’ve moved me onto payment plans without me knowing about them, and you’ve hassled me to join plans that you know might well cost me money. Completely unsolicited and very disappointing.
I hope you pass this onto your colleagues and I don’t think it’s unreasonable to ask you to consider some compensation for the treatment of the ordinary user here.
I completely agree with bdoh1888, I just checked my Chip account and have been charged £3 for something I did not opt into or want. As a shareholder who invested because of the ability for Chip to help people save, I am very upset at being billed for something without my express permissions. I am now trying to get hold of someone in the Chip app to get my money refunded. Am pretty sure opting people into something where they get billed more is a recipe for legal issues, as I am being offered the option to get money back from Lloyds bank that have oversold premium products that people didnt want, you might want to watch your steps here.
Further to this, the thread was started with someone who is unclear on things when using CHIP. Alex I think you and the rest of the team need to lay-off unicorn wrangling for a day or 2 and have a hard look at the feedback you are receiving from longtime users of the app.
I have managed to get my sister onto using CHIP and now I have to contact her about this CHIPX opt-in fiasco. It’s embarrassing for me as a long term user and investor that this app has gone down this route, where you are aiming for the stars and are blinded by the potential but not looking after the bedroock users of your product.
I disagree with all of you. All communication regarding charges has been clear and given with plenty of notice.
You beat me too it. Yes I agree. Plenty of notice given in accordance with the FCA requirements