Banking is as old as money. From 2000 BC, banks were already well established from India to Greece to Assyria and China. Of course, banking has evolved and to most young people even the world of their parents seems crazy. Yes, they would have paid for a pint of milk by cheque, or only had cash when the bank branch was open. Apps? Contactless? Mobile banking? No. Help with looking after your money? Again, not readily available. At least, not until it was too late.
As our focus has changed, so has what we want from our money. For Gen Z then, financial well-being, like mental and physical health, is becoming more important.
MoneyStory is a financial well-being app, started by Frantisek Nushart and Jones Oviawe on the Launchpad programme.
Frantisek and Jones were matched when they started at Launchpad, and were from the kind of different backgrounds that the programme excels in bringing together.
Jones owned a sport-technology startup and spent his early childhood in Nigeria. He moved to England with his family when he was 11. Frantisek who has a background in IT came to England for the first time, from the Czech Republic, when he joined Launchpad last year.
The MoneyStory team wanted to create something that would make a difference to society. Their industry partner is one of the world’s biggest banks and wanted a solution to help Gen Zs with their first bank account.
After a feasibility study, the team found that more than being able to create a bank account, people needed awareness around their finances and tools to help their money work for them. It was financial anxiety that needed to be addressed.
Jones says he felt that when it concerns money, most people are on autopilot. They don’t look at their bank accounts, or talk about it, spend when they need to and just hope they have enough to pay the bills at the end of the month. He says this is because there is a lack of financial education, which is especially prevalent if they grew up in a low-income household.
He says growing up in tough circumstances means he can really understand how people who have less disposable income relate to money, and this is what drives him to make MoneyStory a success. Jones told Launchpad: “My parents motivate me. They’ve worked really hard for me all my life and I see opportunity everywhere because I want to make them proud and myself proud.”
He adds: “Many people in fintech aren’t worried about getting their next bill, have never visited a foodbank and never worry their card will cancel at the tills. This is not who our app is for. So many people are not in that privileged position and might just need a little help getting out of the financial situation they are in.”
This is why he wanted to create an app that allows people to explore their financial identity which also offers coaching, devised by a group of finance and psychology experts who work with the team. MoneyStory is also creating links with government agencies and financial advice charities to offer them an outlet for people they may be helping. The app will not, however, preach to people about what they should do.
Jones says: “It’s going to be self-reflective and thought provoking rather than preaching, and will use the individual’s real financial data.”
The app will monitor an individual’s financial health and provide them with tools for good financial well-being as well as checking-in to see how they feel about their finances. Most importantly, it will get people thinking about money, and put them in control of what they have.
“Why do you think apps like Calm and Headspace are growing?, he asks, “It’s because anxiety is at the forefront, and these apps calm people down. While we understand that money isn’t and shouldn’t be the sole reason for happiness, it can alleviate some of one’s worries, and we have to acknowledge that.”
The team expects the app to be ready by the summer on Android and IOS.