MoneyDesktop formally released its mobile app, MoneyMobile, today. The app has already won Best in Show at both Finovate Fall 2012 and BAI Retail Delivery 2012.
Because of these awards, the fintech sector has been buzzing — some of it positive; some of it not — about the app and its impressive user interface for some time. It is now available for financial institutions to white label and use to attract customers.
Two of the most prominent features of MoneyMobile are its Bubble budgets (pictured at left) and Sync engine, which allows for changes made on a device, say on your iPhone, to be instantly displayed on another (your laptop.) The idea is to deliver the same user experience regardless of device.
Bubble budgets allow users to see the relative size of various budgets and adjust accordingly. In other words, going over budget on pet food, which may be budgeted at $20 a month, is less serious than going over budget on a much larger line item, such as your home improvement budget.
MoneyDesktop CEO Ryan Caldwell told Bank Innovation last Friday that the release of MoneyMobile is part of a different view on PFM at MoneyDesktop.
“We need to stop using PFM as a term to mean pie charts and bar graphs,” Caldwell said. “PFM is anything that helps someone manage their personal finances.”
This may come as a surprise coming from the head of a company known for bubble budgets, but Caldwell is serious about banks transforming the way they see PFM and its utility.
“Banks will have to treat the financial landscape like Google treated the search industry,” he said. “That means doing more — much more — than customers expect.”
Caldwell said banks should emulate Google in how Google piled features on top of search so that when a user searched for, say, a restaurant , they didn’t just get a URL, they got a map and reviews and photos. When banks understand this “Google level of service,” Caldwell said, the relationship between banks and customers will be transformed — and customers will trust banks with more information and more access. This change will fundamentally alter the way customers shop and use money generally, he said.
MoneyDesktop, for its part, is working on deepening the customer relationship for banks by facilitating the recommendation of products for cross-selling — and even purchase — outside the financial institution.
“We’ve built a very robust CRM and analytics product as a complement to MoneyDesktop,” Caldwell said. “It will be ready within the next few months.”
Caldwell also lamented the bad rap the term “gamification” has gotten.
“People hear the term and think ‘Angry Birds,'” he said. “But gamification is in our DNA. We’re built to play games. Banks need to understand this.”
The term “game” does not necessarily mean “fun” to Caldwell. Instead it means a set of rules that, if you act within them, you are rewarded. PFM needs to be like a game, he said, allowing customers to feel a sense of achievement for earning or saving or making wise decisions, or customers will not use it.
“If you look at it and just see that you’re drowning in debt, it’s no fun,” he said.