Payoff.com - more noise in the crowded PFM market?
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6 January 2011Jacob Jegher
I came across the following article yesterday about Payoff.com, a new fintech startup that, "turns financial planning into a game." The blending of savings goals, badges, and social features piqued my interests and I headed over to take a look. The intro video explaining the solution is really slick and does a good job at explaining the service. Once inside however, things get a tad confusing and I can't say that I get the value of the badges or the provided social features. First off - is it secure to provide my banking credentials to this site ? I think the Rudder and Blippy mishaps have taught us enough about this. This startup doesn't have the bank-level security that would be required for a PFM solution (and I'm not referring to account aggregation here). Long time readers of this blog know that I believe PFM belongs at a bank for numerous reasons. I think savings goals are great. SmartyPig still has the best implementation of this in my opinion, the higher interest rate coupled with the retailer bonuses are very compelling. At Payoff you earn badges for your goals and there are "Sur-Prizes" that can be won as you earn more badges. Personally, I don't get the added value of the badges when it comes to savings goals. That is unless you are taking part here in order to play a game. To me, this site looks as if it is geared towards a younger audience. Is financial planning a game? Certainly not. Can it be fun? Absolutely, but there has to be some knowledge transfer and education involved. Firms that will be successful in the PFM space have to find simple ways of providing financial education to their customers. This is especially important for younger users as they are at a stage in their lives where financial literacy is crucial.