The Ends of the Month

A blog series by Corey Stone, Entrepreneur in Residence, Financial Health Network

Featured: Financial Health Can Be So… Retro

This report wraps up Corey’s key learnings from his “retronovations” blog series. Learn how some of the most popular financial health tools introduced by fintechs actually replicate and automate habits and “life hacks” that many households used successfully before the era of electronic banking and payments. These digital “retronovations” bode well for banks and credit unions seeking to offer services that help their customers while also bringing subscription revenues that lessen institutions’ dependence on penalty fees.

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About the Blog

Over the course of a generation, electronic payments including credit cards, debit cards and Apple Pay removed friction from our wallets, but disrupted old habits and practices many once used to manage finances. Loss of these analog tools, as much as wage stagnation or volatility, helps explain why so many households struggle at the end of the month, using expensive short-term credit or gambling on transaction timing as their account balances approach zero.

Many of the most successful fintechs aiming to improve financial health by tracking spending, paying debits and building savings are actually “retronovations,” apps that revive the old habits in digital form.  The new digital tools enable consumers to…

Earmark and set aside income to cover recurring expenses.
Use AI to depict “safe-to-spend” more accurately.
Cap their revolving debt by structuring repayments like installment loans.
Accumulate savings for emergencies and replenish these funds when emergencies happen.

In this blog series, Entrepreneur-in-Residence Corey Stone discusses how banks and credit unions can make these “retronovations” a part of basic checking accounts—and charge for them, better aligning their business models with improving their customers’ financial health.

About the Author

Corey has had a long association with the Financial Health Network, first advising on its inception, then leading one of its early fintech investees (Pay Rent, Build Credit), and then as a Fellow. Now, as Entrepreneur in Residence he supports Financial Solutions Lab cohort companies, advises on consumer data sharing and our other research and policy development efforts, and writes about the consumer finance ecosystem in blog posts and elsewhere.

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