4 min read
We’ve already discussed personal finance apps (PFA) and the essential PFM app development tools you need to build them. Now is the time to take this conversation a step further, and venture into the birth and evolution of the financial super app — an all-encompassing ecosystem that allows you to oversee and manage your finances.
What’s a financial super-app?
A financial super-app is an ecosystem of features and services that are personalised around the user’s needs. The foundational piece to this puzzle is user experience and continuity — enabling the user to access all available features easily and efficiently. Here’s a list of the features:
Auto bill payments
What’s the role of open banking in the super app evolution?
Open banking is the core technology that allows these apps to draw financial data from multiple sources and design products and services that speak to the needs and wants of the end-user. Let’s contextualise this idea with some examples:
Open Banking helps super-apps with:
Personalisation: Gathering information and data from a user’s bank allows app developers to pick up on tendencies, habits, and trends. The super app algorithm can come up with recommendations, notifications, and reminders based on the user’s behaviour.
Centralisation: One app to rule them all — open banking has allowed developers to bring everything under one roof, one umbrella. Users no longer have to switch between apps and platforms to oversee and manage their finances. This technology aggregates all the necessary data, so users can make payments, check account balances, monitor transactions, and more.
Open finance: In a nutshell, open finance is the communication between different areas of someone’s finances such as mortgages, savings, pensions, insurance, and credit — essentially creating a uniform financial footprint. Open banking and, consequently, super apps are foundational pieces in the creation and evolution of an open finance future.
Super app benefits for consumers
The super app has brought a lot of value to consumers’ lives. The end-user now enjoys luxuries that a few decades ago would seem unimaginable. The banking process was dated and rigid, with the consumer on the receiving end and the bank in pole position, controlling the action.
The birth of the super app has tipped the balance of power for the consumer, putting them in charge of their finances. Here are some main benefits for the consumer:
Convenience comes first, head and shoulders over everything else. The super app has evolved to give the consumer a one-stop shop for their finances. Consumers used to jump from website to website, and from platform to app to check account balances, transfer money, pay bills, etc.
Now, they can save time and money, log in to an app and have total control and transparency over their entire finance world.
Make smarter decisions
Not too long ago, people used to phone their banker, broker, accountant, or insurance advisor to see how their money is affected by investments, taxes, and more. The consumer’s financial knowledge was fragmented, and any financial decision needed to be made with the help and input of an expert. Did the expert always have your best interest at heart? How close and personal was your relationship with these experts to trust their recommendations?
The super app brought a dispassionate, clean, clear and precise approach to financial decision-making. It trimmed the fat off the process, always presenting people with the best viable option.
Super app benefits for banks and businesses
The idea that open banking is an enemy of traditional banking is a common misconception. What most people fail to realise is that open banking is an ally to banking as we know it, and both banks and businesses have a lot to benefit from.
Banks can focus on relationships
Super apps can come in and take the bureaucratic part of a bank’s traditional role and allow banking institutions to focus on building meaningful relationships with their users.
Looking back, the stigma following financial institutions was that they were faceless and insensitive. The burden and seriousness of their occupation did not allow bankers the time and energy to connect with their customers on a more personal level.
Financial super apps alleviate financial institutions from transaction processing, compiling data, building risk profiles, and all the other traditional banking functions. It automates these areas, allowing banks to focus on building customer loyalty and retention.
Businesses have more opportunities to market their products and services
We live in an era where companies are essentially fighting over a few seconds of our diminishing attention span. We’re bombarded with information and content daily, and our ability to zone into something specific is reduced.
Without super apps, people would divide their time and attention over a compilation of other apps to achieve what they want. The super app centralises their attention and indirectly allows businesses to tailor their campaigns for new products and services.
Companies now know where their audience is; all they have to do is put the right thing in front of them.
What does the future hold for financial super apps?
The financial super app is set up for success, but there are things developers, businesses, users, and regulators need to take particular care of. Here are some of the factors that will contribute to the success level of the super app in the future:
With great power comes great responsibility. Open banking and the genesis of the super app open the data floodgates, and those who have access to it need to treat it with care.
Third parties, organisations, and fintech companies that build these apps will need to understand where the data is coming from, how they store it, how they use it, and how they build bulletproof information flows.
It takes time to build trust, but it only takes a moment to relinquish.
Servicing niche markets
The whole idea behind a super app suggests that it’s an app that can serve anyone, anytime. While that is true, we expect that specialisation will play a vital role in the evolution of these apps.
Giants like Revolut have paved the way for what super apps can do, but the more knowledgeable and experienced we become with OB, the more different market segments will pull for specialised apps.
Segments such as insurance or portfolio investing have specific minutia and layers that a generalised financial app might not be able to cover in depth. A super app that strictly deals with the ins and outs of that specific sector can bring immense value to end users.