Navigating the Paradox of Choice: Fintech Savings Overload in the UK

Efi Pylarinou
5 min readMar 20, 2024

Cash has become an asset in the current economic environment due to the high-interest rates. Consumers are presented with a dazzling choice of savings options from traditional high street banks to fintech challengers and specialized savings marketplaces. However, this abundance of choices has also created a new information asymmetry, making it challenging for consumers to make optimal decisions.

The Rise of Savings Marketplaces

In the UK, several savings marketplaces have emerged, offering consumers a centralized hub to compare and manage their savings accounts. Platforms like Hargreaves Lansdown’s Active Savings, Savings Champion’s Savers Hub, Raisin UK, AJ Bell Savings Hub, Aviva Save are some of the popular choices, allowing users to shop around and switch between different providers with ease.

These platforms not only provide transparency and enable discovery but also offer exclusive deals and competitive rates than those offered by traditional banks. For instance, Hargreaves Lansdown currently offers the highest one-year fixed-rate account paying 5.15% AER. [1]

Embedded Finance and the Democratization of Savings

Digital banks like Monzo have introduced features like “Pots,” which allow users to create separate savings accounts within their main account, tailored to specific goals. Starling Bank offers visual Saving jars to set money aside from your main balance, for example for a holiday, a bike, rent or bills but these are budgeting tools and don’t pay interest. Revolut offers interest-bearing Vaults with rates that vary by membership (Plus, Premium, Metal membership).

Moreover, savings products are being embedded as we speak into other places, from your car, your retailer, your BigTech wallet provider, your asset manager, your insurance broker, who all want to create superior customer experiences. However, this increased accessibility and variety are contributing to a new kind of information asymmetry, making it more challenging for consumers to make informed decisions. Democratization, savings as a service, embedded finance, are ironically resulting in suboptimal behavior. It is a result of a more complex and distributed optimization problem.

The Suboptimal Savings Behavior

Despite the democratization of savings choices, the overwhelming number of options and the lack of standardization in terms and conditions have led to a new suboptimal savings behavior among consumers. The dazzling array of products, coupled with their distribution across multiple channels, has created a complex landscape that can be difficult to navigate for end users.

This information asymmetry raises the question whether an independent, personalized AI companion could help consumers navigate this new savings landscape and optimize their savings strategies. Analyzing individual goals, risk profiles, and preferences, such an AI assistant could provide tailored recommendations and guidance, helping consumers make the most of their cash assets. A personalized AI companion is not selling any product and hopefully is not getting a kickback from the consumer`s choice.

The Rise of Cash Hubs in Wealth Management

Beyond the savings platforms, the trend of offering cash management solutions is also gaining traction in the wealth management space. UK providers like Wealthify and Quilter have launched cash hubs and savings accounts, recognizing the growing demand for high-yield cash products amongst their clients.

UK wealthTech Wealthify, [2] for instance, has introduced a savings account with an interest rate of 4.91% AER (tracking the Bank of England’s base rate) supported by ClearBank. Wealthify customers can now hold cash savings alongside their investment portfolios on the same platform. That means that a wealthTech now is competing with neobanks and savings marketplaces and every other provider that embeds savings in their business. Consumers have too many choices.

Quilter, [3] a publicly traded UK wealth management player (ex- Old Mutual Wealth mgt) has launched its Cash Hub service, allowing advisers to view their clients’ cash savings alongside their platform investments, catering to the growing perception of cash as an asset class.

“Clients now think of cash as an asset class they want to hold. They want to hold 32-day notice deposits, six-month fixed deposits, 12-month fixed deposits, so we’ve added that to our platform` says Quilter.

Quilter`s digital transformation has resulted in overtaking Abrdn last year and becoming the largest advised platform in terms of both assets and fees.


Cash has indeed become a valuable asset. While the democratization of savings choices and the rise of embedded finance have created new opportunities, they have also led to new information asymmetries and suboptimal savings behavior among consumers.

In 2022, Hargreaves Lansdown conducted a survey that showed that only 6% of people in the UK use an online savings platform. The Savings Guru estimates that cash held in savings platforms represented less than 1% of the entire market. The money sitting in current accounts and easy-access options earning no interest is huge.

In Feb 2024, the FCA urged Brits to ‘make money work harder’ by shopping around for savings rates. While high street banks failed to pass on the interest rate increases, the market once again confirms that `build it and they will come` doesn’t work. Savings marketplaces, vaults & pots, embedding savings solutions, have yet to move the needle of what I used to call back in 2016 `unadvised assets`- the cash sitting in current or easy-access accounts earning nothing. Robo-advisors didn’t manage to move that needle and reduce these sizable amounts. Can savings marketplaces, vaults & pots, embedding savings everywhere, make a difference or are we creating a new information asymmetry and a more complex optimization problem for end users? [4]

Fintechs have clearly created a “choice overload”. I think it is time for innovators to reflect on Richard Thaler`s research (Nobel laureate and pioneer of behavioral economics) who wrote about choice overload in the context of retirement savings plans, showing how limiting investment options can increase participation rates.

The increased complexity of the savings landscape highlights the need for personalized guidance and choice architecture that simplifies decisions by limiting overwhelming choices, which is exactly what Cass Sunstein and Richard Thaler discussed in their work “Nudge”.

Similarly, the research by Shlomo Benartzi and Richard Thaler on the “Save More Tomorrow” program showed how automatically enrolling employees in retirement plans with pre-set contribution increases helped overcome choice overload and improve savings outcomes.

Fintech continues to create more choice overload. The role of personalized AI companions creating trustworthy shortlists, and optimizing continuously for various financial well-being time frames, can be the solution. Who can solve this data riddle?

[1] Best online savings platforms in the UK — Money To The Masses

[2] Best online savings platforms in the UK — Money To The Masses

[3] Quilter, was formerly known as Old Mutual Wealth Management, is a British multinational wealth management company formed to take over the UK wealth management business of Old Mutual plc after its separation of business. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index.

[4] Nudge-Budge banking software lagging in the attention economy

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Efi Pylarinou

№1 #Finance Global Woman Influencer by Refinitiv 2020 & 2019. Top Global #Fintech Influencer, Futurist, #AI, #Blockchain +: 30yrs FINANCE —