Personal Finance Apps To Boom In 2016


Mobile technology has been redefining the way we work, travel, eat and live. One area, where technology has been making significant and meaningful impact is finance. In the recent past be it ecommerce, net-banking or bill payments, mobile technology has made online transactions easy, simple and fast.

Today, there is literally no aspect of banking that one cannot do using one’s mobile phone. But can technology go the next step and help us manage our personal finance in a smart and simple manner? More importantly, are we ready to trust technology with our money matters? The answer lies in striking the right balance of using smart technology and making a conscious effort towards becoming financially fit.

According to a report by IAMAI and KPMG, “As the third largest smartphone market in the world, India is expected to reach 314 million mobile internet users by 2017”. The sheer volume of smartphone users in the country opens up a huge window of opportunity for leveraging mobile technology and mobile applications as an agent of change. In this day and age of mobile wallets and app-based payment gateways, what better way to track expenses and plan finances than use an app on your smartphone.

Therefore, we feel the concept of personal finance apps is going to get bigger and better and we expect to see a lot of action in 2016. Some of the reasons why this will happen are:

- Uniqueness of the Indian market: With large sections of society having easier access to smartphones, India is fast emerging as a mobile and app-based economy, with the rise of smartphone penetration out beating PCs and laptops. Proof points to this trend lie in the surge of many companies going the app-only or app-first route. In fact, India is home to certain concepts unique to only our market such as the Zip-Dial’s missed-call model or Uber offering cash payment option.

Talking about personal financial management, several banks and private players launched solutions using similar technologies as in the western world where the users are asked to link their bank accounts to the application by providing net-banking credentials of their bank accounts. However, such solutions failed to get much adoption due to security concerns of sharing the net-banking credentials.

In the last year or so, we are seeing the entry of independent players launching personal financial management solutions for Indian users that organize users’ financial information from the SMS sent by financial institutes. This technology is not only secure as users are not required to share any sensitive account details, it is also easier for the users to automatically keep track of all financial transactions without linking any bank accounts or manually entering any data. With this solution, specifically designed for the Indian market, we can definitely expect private personal finance players to make significant headway in terms of offering integrated and specialized services by 2016.

-  Changing consumer mindset: Most of us are used to seeking finance advice from family and friends. This stems from the fact that we have limited access to financial advisors and personal financial management experts. India has a sizable young population and this segment is extremely smartphone savvy. Constantly on the move, they are a lot more open to change – significantly impacting perception and consumption of online information.

When it comes to personal finance, with the new-age app-based players investing heavily in upping technical capability and security, the trust factor has definitely moved forward. More and more end users are open to using app-based solutions for serious aspects such as personal finance management. Another and perhaps the most critical factor is the perception shift in how Indians look at financial management. With the rise in disposal income, people want to enjoy better lifestyle not only today, but also want to ensure a better life for themselves and their family tomorrow. This creates a need to have better control on your expenses and money in the present and start to plan for the future.

Rise of on-the-go advisor: App-based finance management options, provided they are simple, smart and intuitive, can go a long way in helping manage one’s personal finance at the touch of a button. In 2016, we can expect new age personal finance app players to go one step further and start offering financial advice. In other words, apps will become the go-to on-the-go personal finance manager that will help people make sound financial decisions – be it for creating a personal financial plan based on your financial goals, or designing the right investment strategy to help you realize these goals.

Technology-enabled personal financial products will, in a big way, leapfrog on mobile especially through apps in the years to follow. Unlike in the West, where financial products and services are often launched on web-driven platform and then move to mobile. In India, we can anticipate mobile-first solutions to change the way people perceive financial management and become financially fit.