The FinTech App Revolution

One extraordinary development in the world of FinTech over the past ten years has been the rise of the smartphone and the rise of finance apps with it. Today, millions of transactions occur via apps: Amazon purchases, bank deposits and withdrawals, Bitcoin transactions, Litecoin transaction, stock purchases and sales, money transfers, and more. For those like myself who were around before the FinTech app revolution, this change in the way that people handle finances is astounding. Yet, at the same time, these changes are becoming more and more ingrained in the way that people conduct business. Below is a brief survey of finance apps out there:

Stocks and Investing

Credited for bringing a large number of young investors into the world of stocks, Robinhood’s low barrier of entry and simple interface makes buying stocks easy. In the realm of social media, StockTwits provides a place for experts and neophytes alike to share their thoughts on stocks, bonds, and other market happenings. Further lowering the barrier of entry are a number of apps that do investing for you. These include Acorns, which uses the spare change from debit card transaction for micro-investments, Loyal3, which makes investing in companies you love easy and accessible, and Wealthfront, which will automatically invest a minimum deposit of $500 for free (as long as the balance is under $10,000). And that’s just barely scratching the surface.

Money Transfer

First and foremost, there’s the app that’s so pervasive that it’s achieved the Google-level status of becoming a verb. Venmo me. With no transaction fee on debit cards and bank account transfers, Venmo has become the go-to app for transferring payments from person to person. Long before Venmo, there was PayPal. While PayPal might not be as popular among peer-to-peer transactions, one place where it has retained it’s glory is in the commercial sphere. Whether shopping online (or even at some restaurants), PayPal is the trusted medium of exchange. Then of course, there’s mobile banking. Nearly every large bank in North America (and some smaller banks), boast mobile banking apps, which make transferring money from person-to-person instantaneous. And that’s only the least of it.

Budgeting

Meanwhile, there are a slew of budgeting apps out there to help people save and spend more wisely. Goodbudget, Wally, and Mint are some of the biggest heavy hitters in the budgeting sphere. All three of the apps boast expense-tracking features which translate into spending and saving tips. Of the three, Mint is often viewed as being the most comprehensive–tackling everyday expenses, but also credit cards, student loans and retirement savings.

So with that quick sound-off, the question is, what are some of your favorite finance apps?

Tailored Ads and Buying now : A Big Week for Ecommerce

ferhan patel twitter birdThis past week has already witnessed a marked uptick in products and services that more accurately target and engage with the consumer on some of their favorite platforms. This year’s Advertising week (based in New York) showcased two new services from tech behemoths Google and Facebook that improve targeted ads and ad ratings metrics, while Twitter and YouTube announced plans to make shopping even easier.

Google revealed a new product that will enable marketers to deliver ad campaigns directly to consumers using their email addresses. This new service launched by Google is called “Customer Match” and is a very targeted approach in determining when and what ad a consumer will see when logged in to Google.

Facebook on the other hand, revealed a new tool that gives advertisers a ratings metric when purchasing video ads. This tool is comparable to what advertisers have used when purchasing commercial time on television. This tool is meant to streamline the planning and purchasing process for advertisers.

It’s no surprise that companies like Google and Facebook are leading the way in refining their processes for identifying and capturing their users. In the same vein, YouTube and Twitter both announced the addition of the “buy button” to their service offerings.

YouTube recently revealed that it would simplify the process of transitioning from ad content to product purchase. With one click, YouTube will direct the user from the video content featuring a particular product directly to the retail site. This means that whether the video is a product review uploaded by a YouTuber or the official ad for the product, the viewer can easily shift into shopping mode.

Similarly, Twitter announced that the company is introducing a new feature for tweets. Going forward, a user will be able to purchase a product featured in a tweet in “as few as two taps – one tap on the buy button and a second to confirm the purchase”, according to reporter Vindu Goel. Twitter announced this week that that it plans to roll out this new “buy now” button, that any US merchant can access if it uses Demandware, Bigcommerce or Shopify.

Although these new features are not yet completely available in all markets, the continued push to incorporate targeted advertising and shopping opportunities to new areas of one’s digital life is not slowing down. In fact, the introduction of these services are most likely indicative of more to come.