Megan Bolado | Assistant Director of Fintech Partnerships | The Financial Clinic
Last week, we announced the launch of an inclusive product Marketplace on Change Machine — a diversification of our online platform that enables practitioners to expand their financial coaching work to include the recommendation of safe, effective, affordable products and services for low-income customers.
Marketplace products are evaluated and maintained according to our Seal of Inclusivity, which vets and prioritizes products that build financial security for low-income consumers. The Seal of Inclusivity relies on customer feedback to determine which products are included in the Marketplace over time, and only positive user experience maintains the viability of a given product. In this way, the Seal of Inclusivity is actionable for our customers — a living, breathing process of validation and accountability.
In response to the sudden and widespread financial insecurity triggered by COVID-19, the Clinic launched Marketplace Relief: an initial suite of products and services selected to address the specific sources of financial insecurity facing millions of Americans today. This week, we’re excited to introduce you to the products and services that comprise Marketplace Relief.
- SaverLife is a product that connects customers with an easy way to save, with potential to win cash prizes. We selected SaverLife because we know the importance of savings and liquidity for our customers, particularly in the face of income volatility.
- FAIR is a safe, affordable, and inclusive branchless bank. We selected FAIR because access to trustworthy mobile banking gives financial control to our customers who may need quick access to financial resources, including IRS Economic Impact Payments, Unemployment Insurance and more.
- FitFin is a simple and free budgeting tool that helps customers understand how and where they are spending their money and identifies potential saving opportunities. We selected FitFin because an individuals’ understanding of their spending habits is essential to their financial health, and identifying opportunities to save can be crucial to keeping money in their pockets.
- UBDI supports customers in using their anonymized and aggregated data as an asset, giving them the opportunity to earn small amounts of money as they use the application. We selected UBDI because it gives its users an opportunity to gain additional revenue without special skills during this economic crisis that has forced many to work remotely, and when any source of income and work can be inconsistent.
- The Capital Good Fund offers a Crisis Relief Loan intended to help those financially impacted by COVID-19. We selected the Capital Good Fund because the Crisis Relief Loan (eligibility varies by state) helps those struggling to pay for basic needs as a result of the steep economic fallout caused by COVID-19.
- Propel’s FreshEBT provides a fast and safe way for customers already receiving SNAP or EBT benefits to track and use these benefits. We selected FreshEBT because, particularly in this moment of economic uncertainty, it’s important for low-income customers to be able to track their basic necessities.
Low-income consumer participation in the digital economy is essential to creating a more equitable financial landscape, especially in times of economic downturn. Further, the right fintech products benefit customers in more ways than one, including the ability to manage one’s finances from anywhere and at any time, a greater sense of control over one’s financial life, increased affordability of products and services compared to traditional products, and higher probability of finding a product that meets one’s unique needs.
Better access points to promising fintech products and services for low-income consumers means that the households most heavily impacted by the economic ravages of COVID-19 are better positioned to mitigate financial insecurity in the months and years ahead. Marketplace Relief the Clinic’s first step toward disrupting traditional fintech service delivery and driving participation among low-income customers by leveraging one of our greatest assets — our community of practice on Change Machine.
We’re proud to partner with this initial suite of products, and look forward to learning more about their impact on the financial security of our customers. If you represent a fintech company and would like to discuss your product, please send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org