Personal finance is one of the oldest industries and has been around since the barter system was invented. While there are currently many personal finance solutions out there, there are no clear market leaders, especially in the APAC region. While we have covered a few innovative Asian startups operating in this space including Australia-based Pocketbook, Moneythor is another player with solutions you should keep a lookout for.
Moneythor helps consumers better monitor their finances with secure, non-intrusive and proactive financial management functionalities via a simple browser extension. The focus of the solution is to offer financial advisory to consumers right in the existing online services of their banks. This means that when you launch your online banking services, the Moneythor browser extention adds an extra layer of financial advisory tips which helps you make sense of your personal finances. The team has also developed “proprietary technologies” which include a bank statements categorization and recommendation engine offering a new way of enhancing financial transaction data and opening up new revenue streams for banks.
Here’s how it looks like in action:
We spoke to founder Olivier Berthier to find out more about the innovative solution:
How is Moneythor doing in terms of traction and partners?
Our current focus is still very much on fine tuning the consumer service with the initial set of features we wanted to provide and based on the feedback of our initial group of beta testers.
As part of the ongoing closed beta, we now have coverage for all the main retail banks in Singapore (DBS/POSB, UOB, OCBC, HSBC, Citibank and Standard Chartered) for most account types and the main cards. In terms of capabilities, the multi-bank aggregation, the built-in search engine, the automated categorization and custom tagging functionality and a first release of our alerts & recommendation engine have all been rolled out.
Our other key ongoing activity is the development of our bank offering, leveraging the same software components as the consumer service, but geared towards a white-labelled usage in the banks’ infrastructure in order to improve their existing online banking services, and enhanced with marketing and analytics capabilities for bank users.
Could you walk us through the security layer of Moneythor as this is an important consideration for customers?
In terms of background and as an overarching principle, absolute priority and daily routine, we apply the security best practices the founding team members have come to learn and practice during the past 15+ years of building and deploying online banking software at major international banks. In terms of physical security and data residency, our servers are located in Singapore in an enterprise-class data centre.
Now looking at the consumer service itself, the approach used by Moneythor is different and, we feel, significantly more secure than other solutions performing server-side scraping of the users’ account details at the online banking site. They ask customers to provide their bank login credentials, and therefore expose these users to all the risks associated with providing this extremely sensitive information to a third-party.
Moneythor does not ask users for any such information and does not store any bank login information. Instead, the read-only access to bank transaction details is managed exclusively by the Moneythor browser extension under the strict supervision of the users when they access their banks’ sites.
In addition to limiting the risks for the end users, this approach is also making it possible to offer the service in places such as Singapore and other countries where a two-factor token-based authentication is mandatory to use online banking and where server-side scraping is simply not applicable.
Among other techniques and controls, identity protection is also guaranteed as Moneythor does not need any personally identifiable information beyond an email address and a nickname, which users can decide to make as anonymous as they wish.
Regarding the bank side of our offering, our software components are deployed at the banks’ premises and therefore benefit from all the security in place at the financial institutions.
What’s the development plan for Moneythor’s feature in the next six to 12 months?
We are happy with the progress of our closed beta and with the way things tag along at the moment, we are planning to open the consumer service to the general public in Singapore within the next three months.
Go-to-market activities for the bank side of our offering are planned to start a couple of months after. Right from day one on this front, the objective is not to limit the roll-out to Singapore but instead to reach out to banks across the whole region.