Is Subscription Management the Bridge between Insight and Action?

It’s time to move beyond merely presenting data and toward helping customers take informed action on their finances with that data, according to Jonas Karles, co-founder and COO of Minna Technologies, a PFM provider for subscription and recurring payment management.

“We’ve done the pie chart thing,” he told Bank Innovation. “We have seen how we can visualize your personal finance data in different ways. We can have super cool apps visualizing it in different ways, we can do a nice user experience, and so on, and all of that is important, but it’s what we now call PFM 1.0.”

Karles said Minna has been focused on “PFM 2.0,” meaning actionable PFM where customers can see their financial insights and recommended actions, and also act on those recommendations from one screen. “We think that just getting insights is not enough to drive that kind of commitment or engagement that a PFM feature needs today,” he added.

Minna, based in Sweden, gained entry last week into ING‘s Fintech Village accelerator. The company provides a tool that is accessible from mobile banking apps and gives customers an overview of their ongoing subscriptions by analyzing their transactions. This tool also allows customers to cancel existing subscriptions or switch to alternatives services for energy, mobile, broadband, insurance, banking and more.

Through APIs, customers are able to view their contracts with their providers and suppliers, their transaction histories, news of price changes and new offerings, as well as possible actions, all from the Minna feature within their bank’s app. Customers can also connect credit cards and other accounts to create a fuller picture of their subscriptions and recurring payments.

The company claims that customers of partner banks have saved more than 30 million euros by canceling unwanted subscriptions or by switching to better deals through Minna since October 2017. Karles said Minna believes the subscription-based economy is here to stay and that the company will continue to focus on subscriptions and recurring payments.

“I think we are quite innovative when it comes to handling your subscriptions and how you do that, but now our mission is really effortless banking in the subscription economy,” he said. “For us, effortless basically means you don’t need to touch your subscriptions, but someone or something is doing that for you.”

Minna makes money from banks from its subscription-based business model, from commissions from suppliers when customers switch to their services–which Minna splits with the banks–and from transactions.

Minna currently operates in Sweden, Denmark and Finland, and, soon, in Norway. Karles said the company hopes to expand to Belgium and the Netherlands in the near future, thanks to its admission into ING’s accelerator, through which it will develop a proof of concept with the bank. He said Minna is also eyeing an entry in the U.S., eventually.

The company’s current clients include Swedbank, Danske Bank, OP Bank, and ING.

Minna isn’t the only provider offering action-based PFM 2.0 solutions.

For instance, Yolt, an ING-owned money management app, recently partnered with price comparison service MoneySuperMarket to provide Yolt’s U.K. users access to an in-app price comparison service, which also allows users to seamlessly switch energy providers. Yolt already allowed users to categorize their spending and then set budgets across all of their connected accounts.

Several speakers at Bank Innovation Ignite 2019 in Seattle last week talked about the need to help customers take the next step with data they’re being provided, and to provide as much meaningful and actionable functionality in one place as possible.

Ruben Izmailyan, founder and CEO of Budgit, which essentially provides a marketplace through which banks can provide customers access to third-party features, said during his startup’s DEMOvation Challenge presentation that a bank needs to be a “financial wellness hub” for its customers. “We realized we needed to break down the silos and deliver a simple and elegant integration that does not cannibalize existing digital channels but, instead, enhances them with a portfolio of best-in-class applications,” he said.

Matt Richardson, Senior Vice President and Head of Product Solutions at Citizens Bank, said during a panel on payments that banks need to be thinking about how to use data to anticipate the next logical step a customer will take, rather than just making it easier to take that step.

Alex Carriles, Head of Online Banking at BBVA Compass, during a panel on customer experience, cautioned that customers are still afraid of doing things with virtual assistants for fear they will do something they don’t want to do. “We take them all the way to the end but they actually, literally, have to press the last button,” he said of the bank’s in-app search function, which pulls up suggested actions.

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