Run out of money already? Welcome to London. Yep, it’s an expensive place, but we’ve put together a list of top smartphone apps that can save you cash on everyday living. Go forth and download.
Minicabs often get a bed rep in London, but if you use a reputable firm you’re unlikely to end up on a Crimewatch reconstruction and they’re much cheaper than black cabs. Kabbee provides a nifty price comparison tool that anyone who’s used Kayak will recognise -- input two destinations and Kabbee will fetch the best quotes from over sixty minicab providers before guiding you through a painless online booking wizard. If you absolutely have to gamble with the red blink of a black cab meter, super-slick booking app Hailo is better for hailing one, but for preplanned journeys the Kabbee fare is normally cheaper.
Those unassuming private ATMs you find in newsagents may seem like lifesavers when you desperately need the fare for the journey home, but they’re killers when it comes to fees - often charging upwards of £1 for a single transaction. Mastercard’s app for finding the nearest free cashpoint may be pretty basic, but a surefire way to avoid this particular brand of extortion.
Few tube users are aware that they can claim a full refund if their Underground journey is delayed by more than 15 minutes, which (as any regular user will tell you) happens all the time. We wondered why TfL (Transport for London) didn’t make a bigger deal out of this until we read that an estimated £32m in refunds is left untouched annually. And then it was clear.Savvy travellers can claim their stake by touching Tubetap at the beginning and end of every journey, so that the app can work out whether you’re on time, before automatically filing the paperwork for the refund you deserve if you’re not.
Free for iPhone.
Eating out in London is an eye-wateringly expensive business, but there are bargains to be had if you know where to look. Opentable, which handles reservations for 80% of London’s swanky Michelin-starred eateries, can provide restaurant discounts on everything from quick bites to fine dining in over 4,000 UK restaurants, as well as nearby restaurant searches and the ability to book online.
Citymapper is one of the best apps for getting around London, no matter if you're cycling, driving or using public transport. This app will get you from A to B - even during a tube strike.
Yplan is the one and only app you need to plan your events calendar. Can't decide where to go tonight? This app will give you an extensive selection of what's happening around you. It also allows you to buy tickets for events directly on the app - you'll never have to worry about printing out a ticket again.
If you haven’t spotted Quidco’s name plastered all over the Tube by now, you’ve done well. Essentially, the firm offers cashback for purchases made from major retailers such as Debenhams, Argos and Next (the stores pay Quidco commission, which is passed on to you). You’ll pay the first £5 of your cashback as an annual membership charge, but after that the app is all savings, in the form of voucher codes, check-in deals and cashback offers.
Ever in a shop and have that sneaking suspicion that you’re about to be ripped off for a product that Amazon is flogging at half the price? If so, this app is for you. Simply scan the barcode of an in-store item using your smartphone’s camera, and it will search for the latest prices from across the internet to make sure you’re not about to pay above the odds. The app is owned by auction site Ebay but searches for brand new items as well, pulling in more results in our tests than competitors such as Idealo and Shopsavvy. Not universally loved by the shops, but hey... There’s a recession on, don’t they know?
In the desperate rush to flee London at the weekends, most of us place a misguided faith in the railways to give us a fair price... Rookie mistake. An odd quirk of Britain’s mind-bogglingly complicated fare system is that it’s sometimes cheaper to buy two tickets for different parts of the journey instead of one for the entire trip, even if you’re staying on the same train the whole way. TicketySplit searches for these ‘split’ tickets in advance and can yield impressive savings, as long as you don’t mind explaining the concept to befuddled ticket staff once in a while.
Free for iPhone.
What is TransferWise?
TransferWise is the clever new way to convert money to send abroad. The idea is very simple.
Banks charge you huge fees when you send your money abroad. Then they hide more fees in unfair exchange rates. TransferWise has found a simple way to bypass the banks and make international money transfers transparent and fair. Like they should be. The pricing is transparent. The exchange rate is the real one. The small fee is easy to spot.
Also try out TransferWise's new BIC/SWIFT Toolkit