The road to differentiation among fintech startups entered a new phase this week: patenting technology to put a brand’s stamp on it forever.
On Tuesday, personal finance technology startup Movencorp confirmed that it patented its digital financial wellness product. Movencorp is the parent company for direct-to-consumer outfit Moven and its business-to-business entity Moven Enterprise.
The company said the motivation for the move is to establish its status as a pioneer in money management technology. “Having successfully been awarded this patent reinforces our leadership position within the financial wellness and smart banking space,” said Brett King, founder and executive chairman at Moven.
The patent is called Methods and Apparatus for Promoting Financial Behavioral Change. Movencorp’s technology includes a digital feedback communication loop that shows consumers where they are spending their money and how their behavior may have changed. Users also see an overall assessment of where they have spent money, how much they have spent within the past month and how it compares with past spending behavior. It includes a color-coded wheel with green, yellow and red to depict whether customers are overspending.
The visual component explains to users how their spending can affect their financial goals. For example, if a user has eaten out a lot more than usual, they will receive alerts about how their food budget changed and how it may negatively impact their ability to save more money.
In addition, Moven developed TD MySpend, a personal finance app from TD Bank where users can see spending insights on a color-coded circle, an average of what they typically spend, how much they have spent that month and if their current spending will allow them to reach their financial goals.
As digital-only banks and personal finance platforms ramp up their analytics and behavioral insights, King said Moven’s influence on these tools is apparent. “You see that design pattern creeping into other apps,” King said. “Obviously, challenger banks like Monzo and Starling and Revolut use a similar artifact to the spending meter, so we do see that design influence being fairly strong.”
See also: Moven Brings AI to its App
Ron Shevlin, director of research at Cornerstone Advisors, agreed that having a patent on intellectual property will set Movencorp apart from competitors and establish it as a leader. He noted that a patent is less about taking legal action against copycats, but a means to establish the company’s ownership of the design it developed.
“It gives them some credibility, gives them some awareness and gives them some traction in the financial wellness space,” Shevlin said. “The financial health space, from a fintech perspective, is burgeoning. A lot of firms are trying to enter the space.” He added that the attention from the patent could nudge more firms to consider working with Movencorp on personal finance behavioral tools.
According to King, Movencorp has not decided on any legal action against firms that have used its design and approach. “As we’re out in the market talking to people about smarter bank accounts that can make them financially healthier, this is a key artifact to say: ‘We pioneered this; this is why we’re the best in the world’,” he said. “That also supports our position for licensing this technology to other banks around the world because we can say the limit is protected by this patent.”
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