Ease of switching has enabled consumers to shop around for banking and financial services products, but this can leave with them with accounts dotted across providers. Edinburgh-based Money Dashboard, which has 500,000 registered users, is a personal finance management service that aims to ease this burden by offering users a holistic view of their finances – and all for free.

The company was set up in 2006 by open banking pioneer Gavin Littlejohn. He has since become chairman of the Financial Data and Technology Association (FDATA), a trade association that lobbies government and regulatory authorities to open up the financial sector. Steve Tigar, a Money Dashboard shareholder who joined the company 2014 and became CEO in 2015, helped Mr Littlejohn set up FDATA.

“We took the view that it’s the consumers’ data, and if they want to have it in any app of their choice, they should be able to do that,” he says.

Mr Tigar became CEO as Money Dashboard was entering a new phase. It brought its first product to market in 2009-10, having secured seed funding from Par Equity, an Edinburgh-based angel syndicate, but didn’t begin to scale up and seek a monetisation strategy until 2013 when it received £3m of series A funding from London-based Calculus Capital.

“Up to that point, it had all been about getting a product to market that was free,” says Mr Tigar.

The much-publicised rise of open banking, which FDATA has promoted, was also a crucial factor in the acceleration of Money-Dashboard’s growth over the last few years. Pre-open banking, the company had to rely on consumers sharing their banking to access its services, which, Mr Tigar says, many people didn’t like.

“It became clear that was an impediment to growth. The product has been ahead of its time for quite some time. This year will be pivotal.”

There is now “a massive uptick in conversion rates” – helped by a loyalty scheme that gives users a stake in the business if they become members and refer others – and the company is expanding its platform to include new services such as credit and household bill management. Ultimately, Money Dashboard wants to be consumers’ primary banking relationship without being a bank.

“That will be an evolution,” says Mr Tigar. “We’ll start payments and move into the savings space, credit and household bills this year.”

The company, which is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, has no ambition to be a financial adviser. Instead it aims to provide customers with guidance on how to make the most of their money. This might, for example, take the form of a nudge that tells them a sum of money sitting in a 0% interest current account could do better in a cash ISA.

Last summer, Money Dashboard raised £4.6 million from institutional investors and a crowd funder, which allowed it open to new headquarters in Edinburgh and a London office. It also went from 20 to 40 staff and now hopes to expand across Europe, Brexit notwithstanding.

The sine qua non is implementation of second Payment Services Directive. Once that has happened, hopefully later this year, Money Dashboard will initially offer an English-language service across Europe. It may later offer to multilingual services.

Meanwhile, it is working on monetisation streams. These involve selling anonymous aggregated data to clients such as hedge funds and asset managers. There are also plans to use that data to offer customer insights. Such ongoing innovation is Money Dashboard’s current focus.

“We think the winning digital money manager will deliver a marketplace proposition that delights consumers,” says Mr Tigar.