‘Beware of little expenses; a small leak will sink a great ship.” -Benjamin Franklin
And yet it is these little expenses occurring on a daily basis that become hard to keep track of! Even for the smartphone generation like ours, the term financial management still seems to be a bit fuzzy. While we all know how much money is pouring into our accounts, few of us have a clear idea on how much is pouring out on a daily basis. For most of us, financial management and investment is something that we normally do once a year at the onset of the (dreaded-by-most) IT filing date. But what if it was possible to keep track of our finances on a daily basis without feeling lost or befuddled?
Money View founded by Puneet Agarwal and Sanjay Aggarwal in March 2014 is one such startup which aims to simplify financial management for users. The Bangalore based startup’s core focus is to make financial management simple, smart and secure; thereby, enabling end-consumers to manage their day-to-day expenses and finances in today’s disorganised finance sector.
Puneet, who has spent over 15 years in the financial technology sector in US, says,
India is at a cusp where financial technology will cause a huge transformation. Everyone wants to make sure that they stay financially fit but it is difficult for a common man to stay on top of his finances as it needs a lot of time, energy, and expertise. So we wanted to make a secure, simple, and smart personal financial management solution giving users the tools to take the right financial decisions. Hence, like our name, our USP is giving a ‘single-view’ access to all your money.
The fact that banks have been mandated by RBI to send notifications to their customers about every transaction related to their account, enables Money View to harness this info to build on tools to track income and expenses, giving the user a simple way to manage expenses.
Show Me The Money!
A user who downloads the Money View app, will be able to receive a single view access to all the inflow and outflow from his bank accounts. The app uses information from SMSes sent from banks, merchants and other billers, and then auto tracks, monitors and analyses the income and spends of users. Then it allows users to send a budget, and keeps them updated in real time about their monthly spends.
Financial management through the app is pretty simple and straightforward. The first view gives the consumers a single view of where their money is. It lists out all the financial accounts that one has, like bank accounts, credit card accounts, and loan accounts.
The second component tells the user how much money he is spending and where. It also auto-categorises one’s spending into categories such as food, rent, shopping etc.
The third component is that the app allows the user to set a monthly budget, enabling real-time budget management. At any given point of time the app will tell the user how much more can he spend in the remainder of the month.
As per Puneet, ensuring privacy and security of user’s financial data has been Money View’s priority from day one. He points out that the data in an SMS, which it harnesses, is actually very harmless. It does not even contain the user’s full account number. The app doesn’t read any OTP message send to the user’s phone from banks/merchants and neither does it capture any sensitive info such as email or password.
Similarly, in order to safeguard the privacy of the data, Money View makes sure that it can’t be shared with anyone without the user’s consent. All the data it gathers is broadly divided into user data and transaction data. What the app does is keep those data separate to keep it anonymous so that even an employee of the startup cannot link the two. Thus it has set in place technical solutions to ensure privacy of user data.
Since the startup aims at financial fitness for all, anyone with a bank account and a smartphone is a potential consumer. It is for this reason that Puneet and Sanjay do not have any specific number of people they want to reach this year but only grow further and become the most preferred personal assistant money manager for as many people as possible.
The Green Account
Money View operates on the philosophy of giving its users an overview of their financial picture. So once users get into this discipline, it leads to saving more money which can be then channelised into investment products which can help it grow further. Hence, it has partnered with ICICI Prudential Mutual Fund this month to launch an app-based solution – the Green Account platform.
Through the Green platform, it will offer two exclusive products—Savings+ and Tax Saver+—allowing users to take a step ahead towards financial fitness by saving money and to grow it faster.
Savings+ is designed as a suitable alternative to traditional saving options. It allows users to park them in Liquid Funds offered by ICICI Prudential Mutual Fund. Meanwhile, the Tax Saver+, the second product offered through this partnership, helps users save on their tax by investing in Equity Linked Savings Scheme (ELSS) option provided by ICICI Prudential Mutual Fund.
Puneet says, “The Savings+ account enables users to transfer excess money to a money market account, thus enabling them to invest in debt instruments digitally. These instruments are high return, low risk offering almost twice the returns offered by banks, and users can withdraw money from them any time unlike an FD. In fact, through the app, the entire investment process just takes 30 seconds if you are KYC-enabled. If not, we give you a paperless KYC way to get you to start investing in two days.”
Consequently, with the launch, the app transitions from being a budget management app to a personal money manager by providing smart options to save and invest their money on-the-go.
3 Mn Financially Fit People And Counting!
Ever since the app went public in November 2014, it has registered downloads to the tune of 3 Mn. The startup has raised multiple rounds of funding from investors such as Alok Mittal, and a recent round of almost $8.5 Mn from Tiger Global, Accel India and Ribbit Capital, last year.
Since the app can be downloaded and used for free like other apps, the startup, until recently, did not have an active revenue model in place. However, now with the launch of the Green Account, it will earn from the distribution fees from its partners on the platform (currently ICICI alone). Consequently, it aims to offer more such products so that above tracking expenses, its users can gain more value from the app. Puneet adds, “Our current focus is to push hard on this partnership with ICICI, gauge the user response and feedback to it, and then evaluate addition of other partners.” A host of other developments have also been lined up for the app.
The Other Money Managers
As far as the financial management space is concerned, Money View is not the only personal assistant available. There are others such as Walnut to track expenses, get bank balances, and split bills with friends; Times Internet-backed money management app Smartspends; expense manager Gullak, which claims to have registered over 1 Mn downloads; and Aditya Birla’s MyUniverse.
Globally, there are many similar applications including Mint, Goodbudget, Mvelopes, Billguard, Pocket Expense, Expensify, and others. There are products such as PolicyBazaar, Bharosa Club, Tavaga, and Scripbox. which offer investment products online to retail investors in order to grow their money.
Money View, however, believes that by taking a consumer-centric approach it can differentiate itself from others, as the competitors are just focusing on a part of the consumer’s financial universe. It, on the other hand, helps consumers figure out the entire financial spectrum. Also, by integrating investment products into its portal through the Green Account, it is hoping to get a step ahead of its competitors and be a complete personal money manager to them in all respects – from tracking expenses, to saving, to growing their money.
While the proposition of Money View is an appealing one for discerning users, its real test would be its ability to differentiate itself from the gamut of financial management apps in the market today. The first step towards it is the Green Account, which puts it a league ahead from simply being an expense tracker app. How quickly is it able to attract more consumers to its fold by introducing more such features while upholding data privacy and security are factors which will determine its further adoption.
Additionally, the success of the Green Account is also important for it as it will validate the efficacy of its business model, thus catapulting it from merely being a free expense tracker. A saying by Rob Berger, founder of the Dough Roller, a popular personal finance and investing website goes, “The best thing money can buy is financial freedom.” By making possible investments from its platform, Money View looks to be on its way to ensure just that for its users. How seamlessly it is able to do that will be its real test of success.