Finspo: The app using personalised insights and positivity to change banking habits


Update - February 2, 2022: Since the publication of this article, Finspo has also launched an online mortgage broking service. The Finspo app is still available though, providing alerts and personalised insights to help users save time and money on their loans.

As a nation, it turns out that we’re not paying a whole heap of attention to a pretty large part of our financial lives: banking.

Research released by Lonergan Research late last year found that over two-thirds of Australians were more aware of the cost of their utility bills than the amount of home loan interest they were being charged.

And while 83% of Australians admitted to switching their phone, internet or energy providers in order to save money, just 21% have negotiated their home loan rate or switched to a more competitive offer.

There’s no doubt that utilities can be a major expense, but they pale in comparison to the cost of home loan repayments for many Australians. It’s a difference which - according to Angus Gilfillan, the chief executive of Melbourne-based fintech and finance app, Finspo - makes the lack of impetus to find a better mortgage deal puzzling.

“We’re quicker to shop around for a cheaper mobile phone plan than we are for a lower home loan rate – even though the potential savings are much greater.”

“What’s staggering is the difference between what people think their banking costs, and what it actually costs. Finspo research showed that the average amount spent by Australians on their banking was $9,500, but when asked about it, people tend to not know or significantly underestimate this number.”

So what’s holding people back? One of the major hurdles to better awareness around banking fees may be a lack of transparency, because the research revealed that 83% of Australians believe that financial institutions should be more open when it comes to interest and fees.

And that’s exactly where Finspo is looking to enter the conversation.

The Finspo approach

Launched in December 2020, Finspo is a financial app with a difference: instead of taking a budgeting or ‘all finances’ approach, Finspo is aiming to dig deep into the banking side of Aussie finances to provide them with insights and motivation to help them save.

“I think it’s hard to appreciate the extent of banking costs when there’s not a level of transparency when it comes to the fees and interest people are paying across their accounts every month. It’s these hidden costs which make it difficult to find savings,” says Gilfillan.

“We find that there’s three relatively simple ways to save though: making sure you’re getting competitive rates on your products, avoiding fees you don’t need to be paying and managing your cash optimally across your different deposit and loan balances.

“It’s not rocket science, but it does take managing. Either you can spend a lot of time managing it yourself, or you can get a partner like Finspo to help you.”

Screenshots from the Finspo mobile app showcasing fee breakdown and banking insights. Source: Finspo

So practically speaking, how does Finspo work? Once users have signed up to the app they can link one or multiple accounts from over 100 banks and financial institutions, including the four majors banks.

Finspo are then able to analyse a users’ account data and provide them with a regular stream of insights, for example, the amount of fees being paid across their banking products or the amount they could save on their home loan.

“We’re all about connecting accounts and trawling through that data every day which - when coupled with market data - helps us provide personalised insights,” says Gilfillan.

“We want these insights to level the playing field because your bank knows how much you’re paying in interest and fees, or when you’re paying more than you need to on your home loan, but they won’t necessarily tell you.”

Accentuating the positives

The Finspo team is striving to offer users more than just a chance to trim their costs though. As Gilfillan explains, it's also about reinforcing positive actions - an approach which is particularly relevant at the time when finances are front of mind for many Australians.

“We’ve looked a lot at the positive psychology around playing to people’s strengths and recognising good behavior and we think that this can encourage people to take up new patterns, new behaviours and, ultimately, better banking habits.

“So we’re trying to get a balance between pointing out opportunities to improve, and recognising when people are doing really well. Some of our insights do just that. For example, telling people that they’ve had a great ‘fee-free’ steak for the past three months or if their cost of banking has been going down, we’ll let them know that.

“I think it’s a really important time right now to get your financial affairs under control, but people have been through a lot, so getting the balance right in terms of supporting them through change is an important aspect of our proposition.”

RELATED: The seven budget and savings apps every Aussie needs

The Finspo App is available to download for free via Apple’s App Store or the Google Play store. Or for the latest news and guides on Australian apps like Finspo, check out Mozo’s dedicated fintech and neobank hubs.

*Finspo is a commercial partner of Mozo, using our Marketview platform and market data.

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