The bundle is the future of fintech.
Over the past few years fintech startups have unbundled the financial services industry, targeting product verticals with disruptive, mobile-first approaches to banking, loans, and wealth management.
Today, the bundling-unbundling pendulum has swung back in the other direction: Young fintech companies realize that, to continue growing and attracting users, they need to offer suites of products that can keep users engaged with their money on a more regular basis.
This post is part of our ongoing series "Talking Shop," which profiles some of the smartest leaders and operators who are building the future of mobile commerce. Check out other posts in the series here.
MoneyLion, which now has over 5 million users, is in a similar growth phase. Alex Widen, the company's director of corporate development, says that one of the company's main goals right now is simple: Continue to deliver a comprehensive product suite so users never leave the MoneyLion ecosystem. In addition to a free checking account, the service now offers a credit-building loan, cash-back offers, and a fully managed investment account— among many other features.
Button talked to Widen about MoneyLion's loyalty strategy, the power of ecosystems (in this case, a comprehensive financial membership), and how MoneyLion uses its rewards program to keep its members engaged. Here's what we learned.
The forces that have made it easier to start a fintech company have also made it harder for fintech companies to stand out and attract new users. Customer acquisition on platforms like Facebook and Instagram continue to rise as competition grows, forcing companies to prioritize products and experiences that minimize churn and increase the lifetime value of their customers. (We discuss this trend in greater detail in our report, "Loyalty: The next frontier for consumer fintech.")
For Widen, this is why constantly building and evaluating new products is so key for MoneyLion. "Engagement is critical right now. It all comes down to having a diversified product suite, offering more products to consumers to keep them in your ecosystem," he said. "Things are getting more and more competitive. The majority of consumer fintechs are overlapping in their offerings and product roadmaps. My opinion is that ultimately the real winners will be the companies who realize that it's not enough to have a really good product. You have to offer something extra; a hook that demonstrates outside the box thinking from not just the incumbent institutions but also the neobanks."
For fintechs, there's a direct connection between how often users engage with their money and their overall loyalty to the apps that let them do so. The more users check their money, the more likely they are to sign up for and engage with new product features. The challenge is that, for most people, money apps rarely have the same stickiness as, say, Instagram. This is why one of the big questions for fintech apps is, "How do we get users to come back more than once a week?"
As it turns out, one of the common approaches here is pretty simple: Build a rewards program. When MoneyLion rewards users with points for saving money and improving their credit, they can redeem those points for gift cards at select companies. Likewise, thanks to the company's partnership with Button, MoneyLion users can also earn up to 12% cash back on every day purchases with online partner retailers.
"With Button and our online cash back offering we're basically merging the online shopping experience with a financial services hub," says Widen. "This is really powerful for us because financial services companies are sitting on troves of data and they can see what their users are actually spending money on. So being able to offer really relevant offers to customers that are shopping at those specific merchants already is really interesting. We want meaningful and targeted offers for shopping within our ecosystem to be another reason why you use our service."
To learn more about the next generation of financial services, read Button's latest report: "Loyalty: The next frontier for consumer fintech."
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