This industry-first all-in-one checking and investing platform wants to empower America´s millennials by enabling customers to earn investment returns directly on their balance, while retaining instant access to their money – even the invested part.
Even though risk aversion prevails in a post-Covid market, the need to invest remains. However, in the US, there’s a large group that’s being left out from participating in financial profits. Around 86% of Americans do not invest outside of their company sponsored retirement accounts.
The last ten years have seen the advent of fintech players challenging the status quo. By introducing commission-free trading, fractional investing, and removing account minimums, they have helped simplify ‘traditional’ product offerings. However, despite these innovations, three out of five millennials still aren’t investing, indicating that an even simpler solution, one that doesn’t require a major change in behaviour to generate greater financial results, is needed.
Now Finch, a fintech startup that integrates the benefits of investing and the flexibility of checking into a seamless all-in-one account, has today announced its official launch on the Apple App Store, with the vision to financially empower a generation and help close the wealth gap.
The Tech Panda spoke to Neel Ganu, Founder of Finch and a financial services maven who was N26’s first US employee about the vision behind Finch. Ganu explains the investment reluctance of today´s millennials and how Finch is designed to help them and millions of Americans unlock the benefits of investing, develop healthy financial habits, and take steps towards financial freedom.
We learn about you, we better understand you, and we invest in a way that really makes sense for you. We then go one step further by actually making that money accessible to you
“Millennials in the 25-35-year age group keep everything in cash. By doing so, they miss out on something like 50% of their wealth every 10 years, because there’s an impact of compounding. They invest less than even the younger generation. And this group of millennials is really being left out,” he says.
The consequence is a wealth gap. When attempting to find out the reason for this reluctance to invest, the Finch team found that millennials don’t want their money to be locked away. They want access to their money when and where they need it.
“That really hits on the key point for what we´re building. We aren’t just lowering the barriers to access, which is what a lot of fintechs have done over the past 10 years. We actually take them away all together,” says Ganu.
How Finch Works
The impact of millennials not investing is creating a wealth gap that spans across gender, ethnicity, and other areas that needs to be bridged. Still, Ganu says that the news is not all bad.
“The good news is this generation still has time. There’s still 30-40 years to retirement. It is a long time for their financial futures to be turned around. We want to be the product that enables them to do so and helps them take steps to achieve financial freedom,” he says.
Finch creates a whole new product category that sits at the intersection of banking and investing, providing a unique way to unlock the opportunity for greater financial growth within the familiar environment of an everyday account.
“We knew that to help the millions of underserved Americans kick-start their journey towards building a healthy and happy financial future, we needed to create a solution that would help customers unlock the benefits of investing without having to significantly change their behavior,” he adds.
“The approach and entire experience needed to be as frictionless as possible, and the platform itself unique in value, yet familiar. Recognizing that the majority of millennials leave their balances sitting idle in their checking account, we created Finch to help customers optimize their checking balance by integrating the benefits of investing all into one place,” he says.
The platform reinvents the traditional checking account by incorporating the power of investing and putting one´s money to work more effectively. It lets customers earn investment returns by automatically investing their checking balance into a portfolio designed to match their unique risk profile.
Millennials dont buy homes, dont invest, dont get married, dont have kids and so on so forth . . . I think we know why huh? https://t.co/uBmqek7mIm
— BillyGunn (@WJRohe) February 25, 2019
This means their entire balance is always working for them, no matter what the balance is. Finch further pushes the envelope by enabling customers instant access to their money when they need it – even the invested part.
“It´s a brand new type of account that gives you the benefits of investing with the flexibility of checking. It really helps people get those benefits in a structure, in a format, and manage their money in a way that they’re really familiar with,” he says.
Finch offers two portfolios: Stable, and Growth.
The Stable portfolio consists of cash and a mix of ETFs that invest in short-term government and corporate bonds. The goal of this portfolio is to allow customers to dip their toes into investing while aiming to preserve their capital.
This portfolio provides the potential to earn a return marginally greater than, but comparable to, what one would earn in a high yield savings account. Over the past ten years, a simulated Finch account invested in a typical Stable portfolio would have earned 9.0x more than a checking account and 1.8x more than a high yield savings account.
We see our first customers as this group who knows that they should be doing more with their money, but they may not have been taking those first steps to get started. And that’s the pain point that we immediately address with Finch
The Growth portfolio consists of cash and a mix of ETFs that invest in US large stocks and bonds. The goal of this portfolio is to help the customer unlock the benefits of investing and build long term wealth. Over the past ten years, a simulated Finch account invested in a typical Growth portfolio would have increased a balance by 33%.
“We see our first customers as this group who knows that they should be doing more with their money, but they may not have been taking those first steps to get started. And that’s the pain point that we immediately address with Finch,” explains Ganu.
Also, as a reflection of Finch’s values, and growing importance to millennials, they also offer a sustainable version of the growth portfolio that invests in companies that have a positive environmental impact, are socially responsible, and commit to high governance standards.
Core Finch Features
Finch customers will benefit from its innovative core functionality, including a seamless all-in-one account. Its simple automatic investing allows a customer´s entire balance to be automatically invested into a diversified portfolio of exchange-traded funds (ETFs), so their balance is always working for them.
Also, they ensure instant access to the money when and where one needs it, including the invested part. They also reduce the complexity of investing and provide portfolio recommendations that best suit the customer´s needs.
As we give you the Finch debit card, you can swipe your card at a Starbucks for a cup of coffee, you’ve just paid for that with a fractional portion of your portfolio, which is commission free
“We learn about you, we better understand you, and we invest in a way that really makes sense for you. We then go one step further by actually making that money accessible to you,” says Ganu.
Additional benefits include no account minimums, no hidden fees, direct deposits, and free ACH payments. They also offer a debit card with remote lock features and global ATM access and free withdrawals at over 55k ATMs in the US. It´s backed by a FDIC insured bank and a SIPC insured broker dealer.
“As we give you the Finch debit card, you can swipe your card at a Starbucks for a cup of coffee, you’ve just paid for that with a fractional portion of your portfolio, which is commission free,” he explains.
The startup raised US$1.8 million in September in seed funding in a round led by Boston based Mendoza Ventures with participation from Barclays, Techstars Investors, and Draper Frontier.
We want to grow with people across their finances. The purpose is really to help people put their money to work and help them take the steps to achieve financial freedom
Formally known as Trio, the company is based in New York City and is a registered investment advisor. The startup was announced a Top Pick at TechCrunch Disrupt 2019 and was part of the 2019 Barclays Accelerator, powered by Techstars, New York. Finch.
Ganu reveals that their vision is much broader than just an everyday solution. Pairing their product with education will give people a powerful tool, he thinks.
“They can start putting their money to work. And then they have the knowledge of how to manage the rest of the finances. And we’re definitely going to lead with that. We want to grow with people across their finances. The purpose is really to help people put their money to work and help them take the steps to achieve financial freedom,” he concludes.