Some would-be investors might be scared off by how serious the idea of investing can be. Just the thought of the term “investment banker” evokes thoughts of stuffy boardrooms, suits, and piles of paperwork. Not to mention having to have a top-heavy bank account. However, the fintech industry has made great progress towards demystifying the process of investing and even making it–fun? Let’s take a closer look at some of the ways fintech has injected excitement into investing.
Healthy Financial Habit Rewards
Investment and banking apps used to provide just a way to check your balances and transfer money, but companies like Mint promote healthy saving habits with gamification. Options to set and track goals help you stay on target for savings. Sweepstakes and lotteries for cash giveaways provide incentives to put more money away while also getting a chance at a big payday. Investors looking to make more than just interest on a savings account can track progress towards everything from college investment plans to retirement funds, keeping an eye on how their money is performing by doing a quick check on an app. If you want to simply learn more about how to invest and be rewarded, educational apps let you earn gift cards and other incentives for simply taking quick lessons on how to manage your personal finances.
Not everyone has a few thousand dollars to put into stocks, bonds, or CDs, and the fintech space has found the solution in micro-investing options. Micro-investing sites remove the minimum investment barrier that often prevents people from putting money away. Some sites, like Acorns, let people round up purchases made with their debit cards to the next whole dollar. While only pennies may be invested at a time, the theory is that all those small deposits will add up over time.
Other micro-investing platforms let you purchase fractional shares of stocks, making it easier to invest in companies such as Alphabet Inc. (Google), which trades at over $2,000 per share, on average. Fractional shares let smaller investors buy into companies they believe in without having to spend a small fortune on the investment, and they also make creating a diversified portfolio with a modest initial investment easier. With this unique disruption in the market, even some bigger institutions have begun to sell fractional shares.
Engaging Social Media
Social media may offer a way for companies to share information and gain exposure, but some fintech companies are going beyond the basics to engage customers and make investing fun. Giveaways and contests drive engagement and give people a reason to learn more about the company posting, while meme-based educational content provides helpful information in easily digestible ways. Some of the more unique fintech accounts ditch the idea of only talking about finance by posting jokes, commenting on viral stories, or simply giving you a reason to smile as you scroll through your feed. You might even already know a few companies with quirky or interesting Twitter and Instagram accounts responding to trends and news stories with fun and surprising twists. All these tactics come from different company mindsets, but the goal is always the same: make investing fun for the masses.
Referral Bonuses and Rewards Programs
Companies use referral bonuses and rewards programs to gain new customers and build brand loyalty, and the result can be pretty exciting for investors. Imagine earning $50 or $100 for every friend or family member you refer to a site you already invest in. Banks, micro-lending companies, and other organizations already do this, offering a host of referral options, and smartphone apps make it easy to share the contact information for your friends by simply swiping and scrolling. Rewards programs are typically used to keep you engaged after signing up to invest or save, and they can net you big rewards in some cases. One of the credit cards in your wallet right now might even have a rewards program offering cash back or travel points with every purchase you make. Some companies, like Credit Karma, have taken this idea to a different level. Its rewards program pays cash back randomly for qualified debit card purchases, with the goal of changing the way people relate to their money.
Banking for Kids
One way to debunk the idea that investing is all serious and no fun is to introduce kids to financial health. Before the days of online banking, children might have held a passbook savings account or some bonds gifted as birthday presents. Fintech has made banking for kids easy, accessible, and fun. Virtual bank accounts for children let them set savings goals, put money away for later, and learn about how to manage their individual accounts, and easy app access means kids and parents can check on their accounts from almost anywhere.
Older kids who are ready for an allowance and more financial responsibility can receive their weekly allowance through a parent-managed debit card. These unique spending accounts also offer savings options with interest earned and even the option to invest in EFTs and stocks with their parents. By banking from a young age, kids can be more prepared to manage their own money when they go off to college, plus they can have fun watching their balances grow over time.