Financial Literacy and smart phones

We want personal, we want relevant.

Like most education, financial literacy is important but will likely only have an impact if it’s relevant and engaging, not a one size fits all. American Economist Richard Thaler wrote an article on financial literacy back in 2013 for the New York Times,  saying that the successful delivery of financial education was about ‘just in time’ messaging that is offered at the crucial time of the decision-making process. Examples were lessons on student loans just before graduation, or tips on mortgage options before buying a house. He also suggested that smartphones could make the system more user-friendly, thus ‘making it easier for people to make sound decisions.’

Approximately one in five smart phone users has at least one mobile app to support their health-related goals, and 38% of health app users have downloaded an app for physical activity.  Smartphones have changed the way we manage our daily lives, and if real-time analysis and notifications can help create good fitness habits and remind us to move or meditate, it can also help us recognise and adopt better spending habits and financial awareness.  

During Financial Literacy Month in the USA, a forthcoming Center for Financial Services Innovation study showed only one-third of Financial Services companies offer any sort of products to help with budgeting and only thirty-five percent of executives said their institutions are tracking financial health outcomes. There is a disconnect between what is on offer and what the customer might need or want. The high adoption rate of mobile banking apps,  micro-investing and micro-savings apps in the USA, UK and Europe shows us that there are millions of people keen to use the funds they have, to save more, pay debts or just manage it better. Young people might be the highest adopters so far, but our user testing has found that adults in their forties to fifties want to use automated fintech apps also, particularly the family goal sharing function. The numbers show us that people of all ages and demographics struggle with financial literacy, and mobile phone delivery can cut across all the stereotypes, and be accessible to everyone.

In her article for American Banker, Jen Tescher, the President and CEO of Center for Financial Services Innovation talks about the huge financially vulnerable population, saying that they “need is access to high-quality products and experiences built to help them succeed by people who truly understand their financial situations and foibles. They need real-time advice and guidance, tailored to their specific situation and immediately actionable.”  It’s true that financial services have not been very inclusive in their messaging in the past, and we have often seen them miss the mark with financial literacy education because it’s just not interesting, not simple and not relevant.

We all know from our own experiences that smartphones have become an essential part of our daily lives, and fintech mobile solutions are what Navag8 offers because we think that’s where the future of consumers first, financial services lies. Financial apps are all in a race to grab their market share and show their value to consumers, as banks should be.  Our focus is on providing white label fintech apps for banks, wealth managers and superannuation funds to make better use of the data they have, to help grow their customers’ bank accounts, improve their financial wellbeing and ultimately make better financial decisions.

There is a real opportunity for the financial service sectors to deliver lessons in our hands that are timely, personalised and engaging, so the true impact of data-driven financial education is yet to come.

Reader Interactions