8 Best New Financial Apps 2017


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P2P, e-commerce, InsurTech, and neobanks–2017 is certainly shaping up to be a great year to shake up your smartphone contents with the latest fintech novelties.

Of course, keeping a watch on the best newcomer apps can be a little challenging. That’s why Bank Innovation has put together its annual list of the best newly-arrived fintech apps, from intriguing P2P services, to stock trackers, to insurance.

Bank Innovation’s top 8 fintech apps for 2017 are:

 

Insurance is a complicated area–which explains why insurtech startups like Lemonade are on the rise.

Launched in 2016, this startup has managed to distill the process of getting home or renters insurance down to minutes, utilizing artificial intelligence technology to walk the user through a simple process on its mobile app.

Users can also use the mobile app for claims, another area Lemonade has taken care to speed up far past the traditional processing times: its record time for paying a claim, which happens to be the record time for paying a claim, is three seconds.

Come on, that’s impressive. Thus far, the only issue with Lemonade is that it’s available in just two states–it launched in New York in September 2016, and recently began operating in Illinois.

Clarity Money:

If you thought the PFM market was too saturated for anyone new, think again.

This Webby nominee has been making headlines ever since its full rollout in January of this year.

The personal finance management app Clarity Money signed 100,000 customers in less than 4 months, and raised $14.5 million in two rounds of funding.

What’s their secret?
Well, according to CEO Adam Dell, “there’s nothing like it on the market.”

“If you think about it, consumers really don’t have a lot of leverage; what they really crave is a partner helping them through [their finances],” he told Bank Innovation previously.

The app uses AI and machine learning to help users lower bills, get rid of wasteful accounts, and create savings accounts, among other functions.

Zelle:

Has there ever been a more anticipated launch of a P2P service? (Venmo doesn’t count; we didn’t know it was coming).

Since this app was announced in 2016, the intrigue has only grown. Zelle is a P2P service supported by more than 20 banks that can be integrated into pre-existing mobile apps.

Features from the app have already appeared within Bank of America’s mobile app. The Zelle branding will be carried across the apps, to advertise its universality to customers. However, it’s the launch of Zelle’s standalone app, slated for later in the year, that’s been the most anticipated.

Aside from its 20 bank partners, Zelle will also facilitate money movement over Visa and Mastercard payment rails to create a fast, connected P2P ecosystem. No wonder it’s called a “Venmo-killer”–and no wonder it’s included on this list.

Starling Bank:

Banking without the bank branch, through your smartphone, or even through Alexa? As a mobile-first bank, Starling is making great headway toward the fintech dream.

The U.K.-based fintech (first Starling, now Monzo–why does the United Kingdom have all of the luck?) is aiming to give its customers all of the same financial products as a traditional bank would. Starling wants to do so without the physical branches, using a digital account, a single bank card, and a mobile device.

The bank has also experimented with smart home assistant Alexa, integrating its API into the device to test out the possibility of voice-first banking. “Voice features are primarily going to be made available through various Starling integrations, like Google Home, Amazon Alexa, Siri, and so forth,” Megan Caywood, chief platform officer at Starling Bank, told Bank Innovation previously. “At Starling we’re focused on making banking easier for people going about their daily lives, and this integration provides users with ease and convenience when it comes to their money – you don’t have to even pick up your phone to make payments with this integration.”

Don’t you love it when an innovation plan comes together? We do.

 


Amazon Cash:

This brand-new offering by e-commerce dominator Amazon works less like a mobile wallet, and more like a gift card–one that moves the process of loading said gift card all to mobile.

To load money onto Amazon Cash, a user will sign up for the offering, choose an amount, and then receive a barcode via SMS. The customer will then go to one of the participating retailers and show the barcode to the cashier, who will then use it to add cash to the user’s Amazon account balance.

Amazon may have only launched this service earlier in the month, but it’s already established a decent cache of participating stores and merchants, including CVS pharmacy and Speedway. It’s an interesting move that could signal wider ambitions for the-ecommerce giant, because Amazon has gotten along fine for nearly 20 years without touching cash.

Daily Change by Wells Fargo:

We love it when banks take a page from a fintech playbook, which is exactly what Wells Fargo did with its new PFM app Daily Change.

Launched in December of last year, the app uses gamification to teach customers how to save. The app offers users challenges–such as drinking tap water (instead of buying bottled), or bringing lunch from home– as well as sends reminders to transfer a set amount from checking to savings accounts. The goal is to encourage healthy financial habits for Wells customers, but also to drive engagement.

“Mobile gamification is expected to be central to the future of personal finance education, especially for millennials, who are accustomed to using their phones for everything,” the bank said in a blog post.


Trigger:

Trigger, founded in 2015, is a mobile-first platform that allows users to set conditional alerts on stock movements, earnings reports, corporate events, and even Twitter sentiments. The app then curates the triggers into a Twitter-like social space, where users can browse and integrate triggers into their own dashboards.

However, thanks to (as a result of?) the latest U.S. presidential elections, the startup got a whole new spotlight this year; Trigger now lets users set up Trump Triggers, which notify users in real-time when the President tweets about a public company.

We know by now that when the President tweets, the markets react, CEOs turn heads, and certainly no one wants to be late to the Twitter-party.

The current triggers are: “If Trump tweets about any publicly traded stock” and “If Trump tweets about any stock in a user’s portfolio,” and are said to be wildly popular.

Jetty:

And finally, the baby on the list.

The platform (yes, it hasn’t translated into an app just yet, but it will), launched last week, offers on-the-go insurance for renters and owners. The mobile-first platform targets city renters and property owners, offering consumers renters’ and condo/co-op insurance plans, aiming to “protect our customers against setbacks of all kinds, from fire and theft to wasted time and money,” according to the company website.

Along with traditional insurance plans–such as medical payments, property and liability coverage–the startup also offers Jetty Passport, removing the need for a co-signer or a security deposit when renting an apartment. The company says on its website: “Swap the security deposit you might never see again with a smaller, one-time fee: just 18% of the deposit amount. It isn’t a loan, but it is that easy.”

The startup raised $4 million in its seed round from various investors (including Ribbit Capital, whose founder seems to be enjoying it.)

Credit: Diana Asatryan

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