Gain Fans

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apps gain fans by helping users handle their money
When John Penberthy-Smith convinced his student daughter to download a financial planning tool, he hoped to pick up some insights into the way millennials use technology to save more money.
As customer director at the UK’s Money Advice Service, a government-backed organisation that provides free and impartial guidance to consumers, he had watched a wave of apps and services come to the market and wanted to see first-hand how they worked. The veteran marketing executive was impressed by the results.



“She is now a massive convert and has saved hundreds of pounds using it,” he says of Plum, one of the more popular tools. “It’s a great example of using new technology to try something that seems hard to do, like creating a positive savings habit.”
Plum launched just over 18 months ago and has attracted more than 100,000 users. It is an artificial intelligence service, known as a chatbot, which works on Facebook’s Messenger tool. Users provide the service with access to their online bank accounts and Plum’s algorithms assess their spending habits. The chatbot then gives recommendations on ways to save money, as well as allowing the user to set goals and check their balance easily.

The app has recently started offering investment products, encouraging its customer base to put their savings to work in funds.
Millennials and the smartphone savings revolution
Mr Penberthy-Smith says the rise of financial planning apps and tools is a direct result of consumers taking greater control of their personal finances through online banking.


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He points to a handful of other tools that are generating a lot of interest. These include Monzo, a branchless challenger bank that operates through its app, Squirrel, a budgeting tool, and Atom Bank, which offers mortgages through its app.

What links these, says Mr Penberthy-Smith, is their simplicity. He adds that they meet the four elements the UK government’s Behavioural Insights Team, or so-called “nudge” unit, identified as being crucial to encouraging changes to behaviour: that they are easy to use, attractive, socially engaging and timely.
“We have seen a surge in digital aids for people with their finances over the past five years,” he says. “It’s a really vibrant sector.”
Gain Fans Gain Fans Reviewed by Efukikata Efet on 11:51 Rating: 5

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