Money is a bigger taboo than sex, religion or politics, according to new YouGov research commissioned by Lloyds Bank.
We all know a problem shared is a problem halved. But as we’re apparently so reluctant to discuss anything money-related, the M-word can really make us stressed.
The research showed that 56% of young people aged 18-34 are worried about getting on the property ladder, and 32% of people said they find it stressful talking about their finances with family and friends.
Maybe it’s because money management and personal finance isn’t typically taught as standard in schools or because we’re constantly being told that we can’t afford to get on the property ladder because we waste all our money on avocados and craft ale, the thought of sitting down and getting to grips with our finances seems incredibly daunting.
However, the rise of alternative banking is slowly beginning to change all that. The likes of Monzo, Starling and Atom, and even new mortgage broker Habito, are shaking up the sector and making it easier for people to become more money-savvy.
As April is stress awareness month we’re taking a look at how fintech brands are helping people ease money-related stress.
Identifying pain points
People want things that are easy to set up and understand. Traditionally, finance has been associated with complex spreadsheets, lengthy bank statements and talking to people in suits behind glass partitions. And that can be incredibly off-putting for this generation. Fintech brands have identified these pain points and created products that do away with all that traditional stuff. Creating easy-to-use digital products, these companies have listened to people’s fears and provided ideal solutions.
Budgeting is a big concern for people and a huge source of stress. Research has shown that more than a tenth of the population admit to being ‘terrible’ with money and 28% sometimes go over budget.
Monzo recognise this and so a major selling point of their app is making it super easy to budget.
Reddit user flying_pingu said: “I use Monzo for my spending money each month. The instant notifications to tell me I've spent something, the daily total tally and the ability to categorise/make notes on what I've bought are incredibly helpful to make sure I don't spend all my money in the first week after payday.
“They've recently added more features that I'm taking advantage off like rolling up each transaction to the nearest £1 and putting the change into a "pot" for later use, and setting up a sectional budget in the app where you designate a portion of the money to each category.”
Focusing on user experience
It bears repeating that people want things that are easy to set up and understand. And it’s safe to say that all the fintech brands have taken this idea and ran with it. All of their apps and digital solutions are focused on delivering the very best user experience. One that stands out is online mortgage broker Habito. With 56% of young people aged 18-34 worried about getting on the property ladder, Habito have turned to tech to make the process as stress-free as possible. There’s even an online chat that can be used throughout the day to correspond with an advisor.
Speaking to Dock9, Tom Crossman VP of Product at Habito, said: “We're very strong on building that human connection and it's all about using computers in the right way and using AI in the right way, to help efficiently manage that customer journey. Because mortgages are complex, especially for a first-time buyer, we try to make you feel comfortable.”
Being careful with language
Finance jargon is notoriously stuffy and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed while sifting through banking documents as word after word goes straight over your head. Dealing with money is heavy enough without weighing it down further with complex language and niche terms. Revolut make a point of highlighting that the way they communicate with customers forms a huge part of their overall identity.
They’ve even dedicated a blog post to this very subject on their website, aptly named ‘How we write at Revolut.’ In the post they say: “How Revolut speaks to customers, is directly linked to the experiences those customers have. Nobody wants to be spoken to in a way that makes them feel small, or like they’re an inconvenience, or like they’re silly for not knowing what a P-value… niche terms should never make their way into any customer messaging.”
By being honest, clear, empathetic and factual, they speak to each customer like a human being rather than just another number. And that can break down so many barriers.
It seems silly but by simply straying away from the rigid, conservative designs of banking logos and branding, these fintech brands have really distanced themselves from the traditional institutions.
Opting to go for the standard colour among many banks, blue, the co-operative bank logo aims to install trust and security.
Whereas Atom bank, have shunned banking conventions and their logo is a mish mash of colours thrown together in an abstract-looking A.
Atom’s ident looks more like that of a social app which makes people immediately feel more at ease. The co-operative bank doesn’t even have an ident. When you go to download their app, it’s just their name in a blue box.
By adopting these key changes, fintech banking brands have managed to make money-management and personal finance not only less stressful, but have actually encouraged people to talk about their financial situation. Lloyds Bank may have found that money is a bigger taboo than sex, religion or politics. But those that use Monzo for their banking didn’t seem to have a problem sharing their ‘Year in Monzo’ for the world to see:
Faced with high property prices, job uncertainty, and increased career pressures, many people are looking for effortless ways to improve their finances without adding to their already hectic schedules. With a growing number of fintech companies creating apps and introducing UX-focused features to ease the burden, the pressure is on competitors to evolve.
Beth Cunniffe is content manager at Run2