Saving money can be a chore. However, new tech tools are available that can help take some of the pain out of squirreling away cash. Personal finance app Moven is one tool that can help. Through the use of behavioral feedback and spending trackers, consumers can make better decisions with their money.
The Cheat Sheet sat down with Alex Sion, president and managing director at Moven, for the second part of our discussion on the utility of personal finance apps and his ideas on mobile banking’s future. Let’s join in for the rest of this chat.
The Cheat Sheet: What do you hope customers will get from this app?
Alex Sion: Moven’s bottom line is that the right information delivered at the right time can change your behaviors for the better. As it is for food, so it should be for finances. Consumers need real-time feedback and to be constantly aware of how their spending decisions impact their overall financial situation. You don’t need a budget or a budgeting app to do this. What you need is a money-habits app linked to your spending card; so that’s what we created. Only when consumers have control over their daily habits can they make the long-term lifestyle changes needed to be totally financially well.
CS: What type of behavioral feedback does Moven provide?
AS: Most people go through the day spending rather mindlessly, swiping and one-click shopping without any context on how each spending decision fits into the overall picture of their financial health. Throughout American culture, there’s a lot of focus on physical health and minding what you eat with every meal. There are calorie counters on just about every food item. But what about daily spending decisions and your financial health? There is virtually nothing on that. [At Moven we] think that’s wrong, so we put your daily spending choices into real-time behavioral context.
The main method through which we do this is by allowing the user to see where their finances stand in real time using Moven’s instant digital receipt and color-coded spending meter. It takes no effort for a Moven customer to know where they stand financially with every purchase. Am I spending too much too fast? Am I on track to save? What purchases and behaviors are putting me at risk? The answer to these questions typically require sitting down at a computer and looking at a budget spreadsheet and your bank statements on Friday night. With Moven, you can now get that kind of meaningful insight an instant after your buy your morning coffee. Meaningful insight delivered at the right moment changes behaviors. That’s what it’s all about.
The Cheat Sheet: What other products does Moven have planned?
Alex Sion: Beyond insight on spending, we are soon releasing a number of features focused on savings and credit behaviors. To us, savings is a derivative of smart spending. So, we want to provide you with real-time insight on opportunities to save when you are spending well. We also let you know when your spending habits are beginning to put the things you are saving for at risk. In addition, we plan to use geo-location to recognize when you’re in one of your typical spending spots and let you know if you’re low on funds for usual behaviors — say, for your weekly grocery shop. This might help you with choices to use credit. This will help you answer the questions: do I just go ahead and shop on credit or wait until I’ve got the cash in a couple of days?
CS: In your opinion, what will the future of mobile banking look like?
AS: I think that people don’t want banking products. They don’t care about checking accounts, savings accounts, APR, and all the mumbo jumbo that banks push. What they need is solutions that help them make smart decisions about money while they are in pursuit of fueling their lifestyles. Apps do things like that. Checking accounts, even with a good mobile app, don’t. So, in the near future, you’ll download an app or apps that will help you with money decisions and they’ll seamlessly connect you to the banking products and services that enable you to do money stuff. It won’t be the other way around.
CS: What does the future hold for Moven?
AS: We’re on a mission to take the Moven approach to better money habits global. Currently, Moven has partnerships in place with TD Bank Canada and Westpac New Zealand to bring our different approach to financial wellness and managing money on the move to those markets. And there are many more markets to come.