The Importance of Financial Literacy During Uncertain Economic Times

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What does it mean to be financially literate? Is it more important to be able to balance a checkbook or to understand the power of compound interest? Does a financially literate person pay down student debt or consumer debt first? And does a truly financially literate person even take on debt in the first place?

A growing number of fintechs – many of them Finovate alums you’ll meet below – have devised innovative ways to help young people in particular, become better earners, savers, spenders, and investors. The majority of these innovations leverage rewards and gamification to make the educational medicine go down easier. These strategies use everything from gift cards to actual cash to encourage users to successfully complete lessons on personal finance or watch videos on common sense money management.

As companies, these fintechs partner with financial institutions – community banks and credit unions in particular – to help make their financial literacy offerings available to their customers and members. In some instances, companies have successfully partnered with educational institutions which have used their solutions as part of their financial education curricula.

April is financial literacy month. And as the coronavirus-induced economic slowdown – and potential recession – has everyone reconsidering the stability of their financial circumstances, now seems like an especially good time to be reminded of the importance of a solid – contemporary – financial education.

As recently as last fall, Finovate audiences were ranking financial literacy among the top of fintech’s most important themes. Zogo Finance, a Durham, North Carolina-based fintech that made its Finovate debut at FinovateFall, took home a Best of Show award for its Teen Financial Literacy app. Zogo’s solution pays users cash rewards – in the form of gift cards from leading brands – for successfully completing lessons on topics such as budgeting, credit, and investing.

The platform’s more than 300 educational modules were designed by educators at Duke University and ensure that users meet national standards for financial literacy. Zogo has teamed up with more than 11 community banks and credit unions in 12 states since its inception in 2018. The company began this year announcing a new partnership with fellow Finovate alum Bankjoy.

EVERFI, a Washington, D.C.-based company founded ten years before Zogo Finance, is another recent Finovate alum that has made a commitment to promoting financial literacy. The company powers community-oriented financial education for more than 850 financial institutions and 3,500+ partners in all 50 states of the U.S., as well as in Canada and Puerto Rico.

EVERFI, which offers workplace training and other educational programs as well as financial literacy, demonstrated its Achieve solution at FinovateSpring last year. The financial wellness technology enables financial institutions to offer personalized financial education to customers, employees, as well as to small business and corporate banking clients. From savings for college to navigating the homebuying process, EVERFI’s Achieve platform offers financial education that is as relevant as it is comprehensive.

Last fall, EVERFI announced a partnership with Zelle parent Early Warning Services to provide free financial education coursework to more than 1,000 high schools and 50,000+ students. The company began this year working with the MassMutual Foundation and the Washington Wizards NBA team to host the FutureSmart Challenge – an interactive financial literacy event for middle school students. Named to Fast Company’s 2020 World’s Most Innovative Companies roster, EVERFI unveiled a new financial education website earlier this month dedicated specifically to the financial challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.

Plinqit is another platform that made its Finovate debut last year and combines being an actual savings app with financial literacy features. Developed by Ann Arbor, Michigan-based HT Mobile Apps (HTMA), Plinqit leverages its Build Skills feature to pay users for engaging with its educational content. Once users sync their Plinqit account with their bank or credit union checking account and set up as many as five savings goals, Plinqit will help the user set aside a pre-determined amount of money on a customized schedule. Users can earn Plinqit cashback rewards (of approximately 1%) by reaching savings goals, referring friends and family to Plinqit, or by viewing articles and videos on personal finance and financial wellness topics.

A partnership with Arkansas-based First Community Bank ($1.5 billion in assets) put Plinqit back in the fintech headlines at the beginning of the year. The 26-branch bank teamed up with Plinqit parent company HT Mobile Apps in order to provide HTMA’s savings and financial literacy solutions to its customers. More recently, HTMA brought its financial education solutions to ChoiceOne Bank and Marquette Savings Bank.

Provo, Utah-based Banzai is another fintech oriented around financial literacy that made a major splash in its FinovateFall debut in 2018. The company picked up a Best of Show award for a demonstration of its turn-key, Community Reinvestment Act-eligible solution to enable organizations to add personal finance-based educational content – including interactive online simulations – to their websites.

Partnerships with community banks and credit unions enable Banzai to offer its financial literacy solution free of charge. The company provides three tiered courses for youth – Junior, Teen, and Plus – to ensure that the information provided and real-world scenarios are age-relevant and appropriate. Banzai’s curriculum has been used by 60,000 teachers across the U.S. and can be accessed from desktops, tablets, and mobile devices, as well.

In launching a new financial education resource for adults last fall, Banzai Coach, the company made a significant addition to its financial literacy offerings. Banzai Coach provides adult users with financial advice and instruction on how to get out of debt, how to manage basic business finances, and how to maximize their tax-advantaged investments such as retirement accounts, health savings accounts (HSA), and flexible spending accounts (FSA).

“Kids in schools love knowing that their decisions in the game actually have an impact,” Banzai’s Bryce Peterson wrote on the company’s blog announcing the availability of Banzai Coach. “As adults, we have quite the opposite concern: just about every decision we make has some kind of impact we didn’t predict or control.”

EVERFI and Zelle Partner to Boost Youth Financial Literacy

A new partnership between youth financial literacy technology company EVERFI and Zelle parent Early Warning Services will provide 1,000+ high schools and 50,000 students with free financial education courses.

“Our partnership with Zelle is based on shared principles that we can do more together than alone, especially when it comes to inspiring social change,” EVERFI President of Financial Education Ray Martinez said. “In the past decade, we have seen how education can transform lives. We welcome Zelle to our community of organizations, institutions, and educators to revolutionize the way education is developed and delivered – using today’s technology to connect learning to the real world and equip communities with the skills they need for success in the 21st century.”

EVERFI’s technology enables FIs to offer personalized financial education to their customers, employees, as well as SME and commercial clients via a mobile-first, interactive platform. The on-demand financial education content is organized into short, “micro-learning” modules inside of major topic areas such as banking, retirement planning, homeownership, and investing. EVERFI said it may add topic areas such as student loans and small business information in the future.

This week’s announcement is the latest indication of Zelles’s commitment to financial literacy. The payments company partnered with Stacks House in March in an initiative to boost women’s financial empowerment and independence. Last month, the company introduced its Pay It Safe program to help educate consumers on how to defend themselves against fraud and scams.

“Banking is going through an unprecedented rate of change, improving our lives through speed and convenience, but also introducing a new set of risks for the uninformed,” Early Warning Chief Marketing Officer Rose Corvo said. “We’ve partnered with EVERFI to navigate this change and are committed to making sure the next generation has access to the knowledge to help them understand the impact of technology so they may thrive in this ever-changing landscape.”

EVERFI demonstrated its EVERFI Achieve financial wellness solution at FinovateSpring 2019. Founded in 2008, EVERFI drives social change in a variety of areas – from financial wellness to prescription drug safety to workplace conduct – using its interactive SaaS community engagement platform. With more than 30 million users of the technology to date, EVERFI has raised $251 million in funding from investors including The Rise Fund and TPG Growth, as well as support from Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos and Google Chairman Eric Schmidt.

Named to Deloitte’s 2019 Technology Fast 500 earlier this month, EVERFI acquired U.K.-based social education firm EdComs and announced a digital education partnership with UBS – both in October. Tom Davidson is CEO and co-founder.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Tracking the Trends at FinovateMiddleEast.
  • Bill.com Preps for $100M IPO.
  • EVERFI and Zelle Partner to Boost Youth Financial Literacy.

Around the web

  • Tradeshift partners with Wax Digital to launch a procurement tool called web3.
  • Trilogy Health taps Tuition.io for student loan repayment assistance.
  • Non-bank payment service provider CreDec enables users to create a Virtual Account within their Xero platform account.
  • ThetaRay named a “Rising Star” in Chartis Research’s 2020 RiskTech 100 report.
  • Jack Henry & Associates named a “Top Workplace in the Dallas-Fort Worth Area” by The Dallas Morning News for the second time.

This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

Finovate Alums Earn Spots on Deloitte’s 2019 Technology Fast 500

Of the 500 fastest growing technology companies in North America right now, how many have demonstrated their technology live on the Finovate stage?

The answer, courtesy of Deloitte’s just-released 2019 Technology Fast 500 ranking, is a full, baker’s dozen of thirteen innovative firms that have introduced their solutions to Finovate audiences. Update: 11/13: Make that 14 companies!

“This year marks the 25th anniversary of Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500, so we are especially pleased to announce and congratulate the 2019 winners,” Deloitte Vice Chairman Sandra Shirai said. “Once again, we saw innovation across the board, with software companies continuing their dominance of the top ten. It’s always inspiring to see how the Fast 500 companies are transforming business and the world we live and work in.”

Making the top 20 of Finovate alums making the cut was Unison, which made its Finovate debut at FinovateSpring in 2017, winning Best of Show. Unison’s HomeBuyer and HomeOwner solutions help make homes more affordable and home equity easier and less expensive to access.

Also notable on Deloitte’s list is the appearance of two of our newest alums – SheerID and EVERFI – which demonstrated their solutions earlier this year at FinovateSpring.

Check out all the Finovate alums that made the list below. We’ve included their Technology Fast 500 rank, three-year revenue growth rate, headquarters location, and a link to the company’s most recent Finovate demo video.

Unison
Rank #19
Growth 5,280%
San Francisco, California
FinovateFall 2017

Signifyd
Rank #115
Growth: 1,084%
San Jose, California
FinovateSpring 2013

Juvo
Rank #122
Growth: 1,036%
San Francisco, California
FinovateFall 2016

WorkFusion
Rank #129
Growth: 974%
New York City, New York
FinovateFall 2014

Alkami
Rank #130
Growth: 958%
Plano, Texas
FinovateSpring 2009 (as iThryv)

Payfone
Rank #185
Growth: 596%
New York City, New York
FinovateFall 2012

Passport
Rank #214
Growth: 510%
Charlotte, North Carolina
FinovateEurope 2016

Feedzai
Rank #231
Growth: 472%
San Mateo, California
FinovateEurope 2014

SheerID
Rank #243
Growth: 450%
Portland, Oregon
FinovateSpring 2019

WealthForge
Rank #297
Growth: 359%
Richmond, Virginia
FinovateSpring 2016

Dashlane
Rank #348
Growth: 282%
New York City, New York
FinovateEurope 2013

Lendio
Rank #378
Growth: 250%
Lehi, Utah
FinovateSpring 2011

Kabbage
Rank #448
Growth: 198%
Atlanta, Georgia
FinovateSpring 2015

EVERFI
Rank #469
Growth: 184%
Washington, D.C.
FinovateSpring 2019



Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Expensify Combines Spending Controls and Expense Tracking with New Corporate Card.
  • New Partnership Brings NCR’s D3 Digital Banking to NYMBUS.

Around the web

  • NYMBUS licenses NCR’s D3 Digital Banking platform as part of strategic partnership.
  • Kantox partners with Citi’s Commercial Banks to provide the bank’s customers in the U.S. with enhanced FX payments connectivity.
  • Featurespace collaborates with Latin American credit bureau Círculo de Crédito to help fight application fraud in Mexico.
  • Black Star News interviews CollegeBacker’s James Ryan on the “national emergency” of student debt.
  • Financial education technology innovator EVERFI acquires U.K.-based EdComs.

This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Best of Show Winner Banzai Teams Up with GreenPath to Boost Financial Literacy.
  • Digital Onboarding to Boost Customer Engagement for Manatee Community FCU.
  • Finovate Global: Settle Launches Mobile App in Croatia; Sr. Pago Partners with American Express.

Around the web

  • Mastercard acquires global payments firm Transfast.
  • Chatbots.Studio partners with Digital Flex Solution to become their first technical partner and adviser. Check out Chatbots.Studio at FinovateFall in September!
  • CREALOGIX wins Best Wealth Management User Interface at the 2019 Systems in the City Financial Technology Awards.
  • Sports Business Daily interviews Everfi Head of Global Partnerships Jon Chapman.
  • HackerOne achieves ISO 27001 certification.
  • Gartner’s 2019 Market Guide for In-App Protection recognizes Jscrambler for its client-side security technology.
  • Ping Identity earns Best Identity Management Solution honors at the 2019 SC Awards Europe.

This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.