When Nedbank introduced their Banking App Suite a couple of days ago, a small mention was made of “watch this space – more good stuff to come”
and sure enough, a handful of days later Nedbank delivers on their promise as they unveil a Personal Financial Management system titled MyFinancialLife™.
Now before you roll your eyes and think this is yet another how-to-plan-for-retirement tool – you are wrong.
Officially it is: “an online personal financial management tool that is highly secure, easy to use and rich in functionality empowering consumers to achieve their aspirations and financial goals. MyFinancialLife™ easily provides a consolidated view of the users’ entire financial position online and in one place, available to new and existing clients by end August.”
In other words, what Nedbank has done is provide a system where all your financial information (bank accounts) are pulled together and are automatically analysed and categorised for you so you have a clear snap shot of where you stand financially at any given point.
At this point I need to mention that this system will be available to anyone – even non Nedbank clients.
An ingenious move if I may add.
If this system was for Nedbank customers only, then I would argue that even Nedbank customers have bank accounts with other institutions and therefore the system falls flat because its not a true reflection of “my financial life”. So not only have Nedbank thought about this but in fact made it a feature that they welcome any customer of any bank. Nice one!
But I digress. Back to the system.
When you first log into the system it will gather 90 days of historical transactions so you hit the ground running with real info. Every time you log in subsequently, this info is updated with the latest transactions and so you are always up to date.
What I like about the system?
Disclaimer: I have not personally tested the system however I got to see a demo of it when I met with Justin Bradshaw who is the Head of PFM ie. Mr. Buck Stops with Me and George Chirwa Head of Digital.
Firstly what is obvious is that the system has appeal for anyone – no matter which stage in life you are in. From the teenager wanting to save for a new Phone, to the student looking to get a car, to the family looking to budget their monthly expenses, to elderly looking forward to retirement. Value, value, value everywhere.
From what I have seen, a couple of features stood out for me.
1. I can import any banks account into the system automatically or manually. So if I have trust issues with Yodlee and the automatic route, I can choose to import in my transaction report manually. [If you recall we encountered Yodlee which is the super secure system that all banks use when 22Seven got so much unnecessary flak for].
2. When it comes to getting value out of the system, the more you put into the system, the more you get out. In other words, if you spend a bit of time properly categorising your transactions, you will reap the rewards of being able to get a full picture of your financial standing. Before you ask, YES, the system does automatically assign categories and as more and more people use it, it will learn how to better categorise transactions. You can also rename transactions so they make sense to you. Instead of PAYMENT2312 you can rename it to : Payment to School.
On that note: everything is customisable. You create your dashboard in a way that means something to you. If you want detailed trend analysis, you can do it. If you want a snap shot overview, you can do that too.
3. It is simple click-click. You want to Holiday in Mauritius, simply put that as a goal and the system will tell you how much to save and alert you if fall behind and how to catch up.
Debit orders come out of my account all the time, but I have no idea who is supposed to get paid when. So the Calendar view just puts me in the picture and I ensure that I have sufficient funds. Simple and effective.
4. There is no hiding from the truth. What you spend is revealed. We convince ourselves that we don’t spend money on rubbish – but that is where we lose the plot. It is the little amounts that add up. This will show you how much your vices actually cost you. All shall be revealed so you have to face up to it.
5. Search Everything. I like the fact that I can do a search across all accounts. So when my doctor calls to say I haven’t paid, I can do a search and show her that in fact the money came off my account.
So in summary:
MyFinancialLife™ will launched in August sometime with these six core functions which will be given to customers for free:
- Net worth calculation – consolidated view of your financial position
- Spend analysis – shows your spend graphically based & categorized.
- Budgeting – allows you to track your actual spend against your planned spend.
- Saving for a goal – a goal-save tool that allows you to choose an amount you would like to save during a specific timeframe – and then calculates how much should be put aside to meet your goal
- Alerts – can be set on budgeting or goal-save functions and can be sent via e-mail or SMS.
- Calendar view – allows you to track debit orders against payments that need to be made, making it easy to view weekly, monthly or yearly transactions, ensuring that you have always planned to have sufficient funds available.
In the future more functions will be added on and then a decision will be made whether to charge for those facilities or not. However the core functions will always remain free.
Nedbank is obviously POPI and CPA compliant and has to respect your privacy. Should you choose to leave the system all your info is permanently and irrevocably nuked. There is no “undo”. So if you change your mind and re-join, you have to set everything up from scratch. you have been warned.
Once again, there are the nay-sayers who have said “that they are copying 22seven”. However this system is not something that a major financial institution can just “copy and paste”. This has been in development for over 18 month as the integration into both Yodlee and their own legacy system is a massive undertaking. I believe that every institution is not only going to be delivering a financial management system but should be obligated to do so as most people have no financial management skills and need help.
Whats next ? Now that there is the “Nedbank Highway” that connect Nedbank securely to the customer and the customer securely back to Nedbank, I am sure a Mobile App that integrates into MyFinancialLife™ is coming soon.
And this is where I see Nedbank’s strength. They invested time, money and effort into getting their delivery platform secure and right and so moving forward is just an update away !