One day in the distant future, children will be educated in basic financial literacy as readily as they are taught algebra. Until then, solutions like Plinqit from HT Mobile Apps, that reward users for learning how to be better savers and consumers, will be valuable tools for credit unions and community banks looking for novel ways to engage and educate their members and customers.
“There is a true need for improved financial literacy with 41 percent of Americans reporting that their lack of understanding of finances is holding them back from making financial progress,” HT Mobile Apps CEO and founder Kathleen Craig said. “And Plinqit has a proven track record – more than 60 percent of users that reach their savings goal continue to save by setting new goals.”
This helps explain why First Community Bank has decided to partner with HT Mobile Apps. The Arkansas-based bank, with $1.5 billion in assets and 26 branches in Arkansas and Missouri, will offer the Plinqit savings app and financial literacy solution to its customers.
“We are proud to do everything in our power to strengthen our local economy, and one of the best ways we can deliver on our promise is by helping people learn about finances so they can begin saving,” First Community Bank CEO and chairman Dale Cole said. “Plinqit is a unique tool that satisfies our customers’ digital needs and encourages smart financial decisions.”
Plinqit’s Build Skills feature enables users to earn money by watching contextual videos or successfully completing lessons and quizzes on key personal finance concepts. For example, a bank customer opening their banking app to make a credit card payment may see a Build Skills notification that notes their heavy credit card spending. The app may then suggest exploring credit management or debt consolidation options by way of an educational video. The different videos and quizzes have a value – 50 cents, for example, or $1 – which, once the video or quiz is completed, is deposited into the user’s Plinqit account.
To get started, users link their Plinqit account to their bank or credit union checking account, and then set up as many as five savings goals in the Plinqit app. Plinqit helps users determine how much to set aside on a regular basis in order to meet the different savings goals on schedule. Users earn money by reaching savings goals, referring others to the platform, and, as noted above, by engaging the video and other personal finance content. The app is free to use; all that is required is ownership of a U.S. checking account.
HT Mobile Apps demonstrated Plinqit at FinovateFall last year. The Michigan-based company provides banks and credit unions with a variety of customer engagement and retention solutions including Banker Jr., Member Jr., and 2019 acquisition, Hip Pocket. The partnership news with First Community Banks comes in the wake of a year that saw the company’s app record higher user engagement of 55 percent on average compared to the average finance app engagement rate of 36.3 percent. The company also announced that it inked partnerships with more than a dozen banks and credit unions in 2019. HT Mobile Apps’ platform now serves clients in 20+ states with assets ranging from $26 million to more than $40 billion.