The Customer Effect

Personal finance app MoneyLion is experimenting with augmented reality

  • PFM app MoneyLion is using iOS 11's ARKit technology to offer an augmented reality feature called Grow Your Stack.
  • Visualizing account balances is just the beginning of how augmented reality will transform personal finance, as customers use new ways to feel their financial realities.
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Personal finance app MoneyLion is experimenting with augmented reality
For most customers, using a bank or third-party PFM app involves looking at lines of text to get a grasp of one's financial picture. But the ability to visualize account balances through virtual reality or augmented reality tools could drive a new form of personalization that MoneyLion is hoping will add value for its customers. MoneyLion is timing its launch of an AR tool to coincide with Apple's iOS 11 release, which is rumored to be this week. MoneyLion's feature, called Grow Your Stack, will let customers get a visual representation of their account balance as stacks of cash projected over the customer's view of the real world. It will use iOS 11's ARKit technology. AR imposes a computer-generated image over a customer's real-world environment, while VR is a fully computer-generated representation of a real-life environment or situation.  "What we want to do is make money more approachable, and make saving more rewarding and tangible," said Tim Hong, chief marketing officer of MoneyLion, a personal finance app. "If you think about savings these days, it can feel more like a chore than something you're rewarded for." MoneyLion joins a league of banks experimenting with VR and AR technology, advancements that have the potential to transform branch banking. As Tearsheet reported in June, BNP Paribas recently introduced a VR-based app for retail banking that allows users to virtually access their account activity and transaction records. Citi and Wells Fargo are also dabbling in VR technology, while in the PFM space, Intuit has experimented with visualizing one's financial health as a forest. While thinking of one's finances as a stack of bills may be a fun and novel way to interact with one's money, Hong acknowledges that it's only the beginning of what could be a transformation of how customers interact with their finances, including tracking spending and savings, and creating a visual representation of a customer's budget. "If I write that you spent $350 on coffee as text, versus if I show you that in terms of a [visual] stack, you may be more likely to change your habits," he said. "Not everyone learns in the traditional way." Hong adds that VR and AR open up new modalities for customers to interact with their finances, an experience that will let them feel their financial realities in a new way. "The technology offers a more immersive experience that financial companies like ourselves will look at to engage with customers."

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