Olivier Berthier raises some important questions in a blog on Finextra about how to address the “subpar” adoption rates for online personal finance management tools. But what struck me most was the question he didn’t ask. There’s a crucial word missing in this look at how personal finance management will evolve: mobile.

Don’t get me wrong. Javelin has been saying since 2009 that it is critical to integrate personal finance management into the heart of online banking, and to free it from the confines of the tab for dedicated do-it-yourself budgeters. We have added to this vision of PFM moving from an online tab to mobile ubiquity in 2010, 2011, December 2012, and most recently in February with 21st-Century PFM for a Mass Audience: How to Build Everyday Online and Mobile PFM. Here’s a key takeaway from the most recent report: While slow-moving bankers and PFM players are musing over the color scheme for a spending pie chart, consumers already are looking to their smartphones to help them make smarter financial decisions while they bank, shop, pay, invest, and save. It is because of the smartphones and tablets that a wide range of specialized elements of personal finance management will become ubiquitous, offered not just by banks, credit unions and PFM websites like Mint and Check/Pageonce, but also by merchants, online giants like Google, mobile carriers, billers, and hundreds of mobile app developers.

Javelin’s data shows that the most coveted banking consumers – Moneyhawks™ who actively use online and mobile banking and pay bills through their primary FI – already say they would be as likely to look for personal finance features from non-FIs as from FIs. For banks and credit unions, the first step toward satisfying the Moneyhawk™ mentality is to jettison the decades of baggage associated with those three letters – PFM – and rethink personal finance management outside the desktop box. The mass market craves PFM – but it must be redefined for the 21st century for a mobile generation.


About Mark Schwanhausser

Mark Schwanhausser is JAVELIN’s Director of Omnichannel Financial Services. Mark strategizes how financial institutions (FIs) can track and serve customers across whatever channels they use, and provide a consistent, integrated brand and user experience. Mark helps banks and credit unions profitably enable customers to monitor and manage their money more intelligently through technology such as online banking, mobile banking, personal finance management, financial alerts, and technologies on the horizon like wearables.

Mark led the development of JAVELIN’s Financial Journey Model, which builds digital banking on a foundation of 10 time-tested personal finance principles, and JAVELIN’s holistic segmentation, which enables FIs to prioritize their investments to serve the critical needs of the profitable Moneyhawks™, high-value Traditionalists, and up-and-coming Emergents. His other work in 2015 has focused on how banks and billers can turn off paper statements by closing the “digital commitment gap,” why digital account opening has reached a tipping point, and how FIs can use alerts and notifications to initiate daily “conversations” with customers.

Before joining JAVELIN in April 2008, Mark worked for nearly 26 years at the San Jose Mercury News, mostly as a personal finance reporter writing about money and emerging trends in financial services and payments technology.

Mark has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri at Columbia and attended Antioch College.

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