Uuuhhhhh… You guys YOLT is shutting down! 😲
Updated: Nov 18, 2021
In a wildcard move, our much-loved smart money app YOLT has decided to close the curtains. They say that their mission is to “give everyone the power to be smart with their money”, but it seems they will now be taking that vision in a new direction. So, they’re axing their consumer app and re-focusing their efforts on open banking technology instead.
Although it’s a bit of a sudden blow, it’s not altogether surprising. YOLT has faced some fierce competition in recent times, from the likes of Snoop and other money-saving apps. What’s more, Open Banking (or… well we should probably start calling it Open Finance now) is obviously the future of everything. And you know, giving customers the mobility to freely move from service to service increasing financial accessibility along the way… that is doing the world a big favour. Still kind of a shame though.
From a personal perspective it reminds me a lot of my last company, Investec’s fintech baby, Click & Invest. Also born and destroyed from a larger bank. Also kind of a sudden hit. My guess (and the guess of my source) is that ING are probably trying to re-coup some funds and make some urgent cost-cuts.
After all, it’s no secret that fintechs and money apps are not exactly raking it in. Starling Bank was famously the first ever challenger to turn a profit, and that’s a hunking great business-focused neo-banking machine. What hope does a small jam-jar savings app have?
Personally, I will miss them. I like YOLT. I like their content. Distinctive, zappy and full of life, the brand was a lovely member of the fintech family. Although, as always, I do think that there could have been more room for green and sustainable tools. But at least YOLT didn’t greenwash, which gets a loud stamp of approval from me.
So, it’s with a salute and a respectful nod that we say “TOT ZIENS!” (Dutch for goodbye) to YOLT as we know it. An international app with 1.6 million customers and some seriously good press releases, YOLT we will miss you!
Since publishing this blog, PR Manager Amy Monro-Henderson reached out to explain more. Most of my questions couldn't be answered because the final decision is still under review. Fair enough!
Monro-Henderson did however update me on what would happen to those 1.6 million customers who are probably left wondering what to do now. "We want to emphasise that there will be no changes to the app, or the services we provide in the meantime", she explains. "We can assure [customers] that both the money in their Yolt account and the data they hold is safe, and they will still have full access to their account and all app related features".
So, for the time being, it's business as usual for the YOLT customers, although I expect any "refer your friends" schemes will be down the toilet.
In terms of the future, YOLT didn't reveal much. Only to say, "If, and when, a final decision is made and there are any actions customers may need to take, a member of our team will be in touch with them directly". Intriguing! When Click & Invest closed, all customers received a top-up of £100 by way of apology. Of course, the minimum investment amount was £5,000 for most of Click & Invest's life so it's unlikely that ING will fork out for anything that generous. But potentially, YOLT customers could receive a little parting gift or perk... we'll have to wait and see. If I could have any say in it (and obviously I don't) I would plant a tree for every customer.
My jammy source, who goes by the surprising code name of Porkbellies, also managed to sneak me a quote. Not just any quote, one from YOLT's hot-off-the-heels number one competitor Snoop!
"We were sad to hear Yolt is planning to close down it's customer-facing app", comments co-founder of Snoop, Scott Mowbray. "They inspired us at Snoop to move fast and help accelerate the adoption of Open Banking.”
The world of fintech moves fast. Too fast for some! (ahem.... BANKS!.. ahum hum hum). And in this fast-paced metropolis of pirouettes and pivots, some brilliant brands are bound to fall. I'm sure it's not the end of YOLT. They haven't bitten the digital dust yet. But it is the end of an era. And my heart goes out to the talented team who achieved so much, in such a short space of time. Here's to YOLT! 🥂 One of the first to start thinking differently about money.