Money Nanny: Personal financial planning made easy

Money Nanny: Personal financial planning made easy
Nadya Tereshina, founder and CEO of Money Nanny

dubai - New app will consolidate information from across bank accounts and deliver intelligent and relevant information to you



By Sanjiv Purushotham

Published: Mon 17 Jul 2017, 8:21 PM

Last updated: Mon 17 Jul 2017, 10:30 PM

According to a Let's Talk Payments (www.letstalkpayments.com) report dated November 4, 2015, 'Strategic Analysis of US Personal Finance & Money Management Market', the total investments into personal financial planning software in the US in just three years starting 2013 was $134 million. This number is set to grow rapidly.

Although this number is growing, many of the offerings into personal financial planning and management require bespoke integration with bank information or manual uploads of data into the applications.

Sometimes it takes an outside view to simplify what is seemingly complex. Usually access to bank account-related data is via face-to-face interaction at bank branches or via secure telephone, mobile and web channels. Access typically requires two-factor authentication or a set of challenges. Even with mobile banking applications, tracking card spend or the last ATM withdrawal is not easy.

One way of resolving this is to sign up for a 'digital' bank account. Typically, an account with an easy-to-use front-end mobile application linked to an underlying account. This involves a couple of challenges. For one, it requires setting up a completely new bank account - adding one more thread of complexity. Plus, know-your-customer (KYC) and identification processes are never simple. Thereafter, accessing information is almost always via a bank-mindset driven process.

Imagine if all the relevant information that you need about transactions and changes of status relating to your bank account were made available via a simple application? Without your having to sign up for mobile banking or a digital bank? What's more, wouldn't it be useful if the application could consolidate information from across bank accounts and deliver intelligent and relevant information to you?

Nadya Tereshina, founder and CEO of Money Nanny (www.money-nanny.com), seems like an unlikely person to be building a fintech application. But it sometimes requires an outside-in view to innovate.

Tereshina is a Dubai-based freelance TV producer. She's been involved with client servicing and media production since her first year of university in Moscow. She's worked with global agencies like Young & Rubicam, Leo Burnett, TBWA\Raad, as well as independently. She started with client servicing and understanding the customers' point of view. She then went into production because she had the discipline and ability to manage budgets and processes. A couple of big budget Nigerian movie productions helped her further develop her skills in delivering complex projects on time and be accountable for each dollar invested.

This sharp focus on accountability helped her convert the sometimes useful and oftentimes annoying stream of bank transaction-related SMS. Wouldn't it be nice if all those messages that you receive from banks are stored, analysed and translated into patterns and information that is useful to you? Once the concept was born, Tereshina put on her production hat to build the concept. She sourced a team from Lithuania to develop the concept further. Tereshina's choice of seeking talent from Lithuania is consistent with the growing recognition of Eastern Europe as a region of high-quality deep technology development at very reasonable prices.

The concept is simple. In the first avatar of the application, the aim is to consolidate and use all the bank-related SMS messages to create a reasonably accurate map of earnings, savings, usage and borrowing. This version is already in public beta and will be released soon as a publicly available app called Money Nanny 1.0. It uses standard templated SMS messages from banks such as Emirates NBD, HSBC, Sharjah Islamic Bank, ADCB and Mashreq. Money Nanny 1.0 is planned to be free-to-use when launched.

In an upcoming version, called Money Nanny 2.0, the information will be further analysed to create value. For example, if past behaviour indicates a pattern of Thursday night dining-out, this information can be combined with credit and debit card offers to deliver customised recommendations on how to enjoy yourself and yet make savings. The offers are available in the public domain and the information about the cards you have comes from your banks' messages. Money Nanny 2.0 will use a combination of bank API-based connectivity and machine learning to create this. This version will be tested using open API access to bank information via sandbox environments such as Emirates NBD's. Banks charge per user per access via open APIs. Hence Money Nanny 2.0 will be priced to cover these charges.

The underlying principle behind the app roadmap is that it gives you the control to translate aspirations and ambitions to realistic spend and savings targets. You set your targets and the app helps you spend wisely, without giving up on what makes you happy.

Tereshina is clear that being in the UAE has given her several advantages. The market is advanced technologically but just right-sized to take on innovation. The government has placed high priority on entrepreneurship and has developed the mechanism to support this. For example, in5 has given the Money Nanny team licensing and visa support, mentorship, industry and government access. The access to a developer team from Lithuania has helped her deliver high quality at reasonable cost. All this is important because she has used her savings to fund the initiative. Tereshina manages her finances wisely. Wishing the team well.

The writer is a Partner at BridgeDFS, a bespoke financial advisory firm (www.bridgeto.us). He's a digital banking and digital banking financial services evangelist, practitioner, advisor and consultant. Views expressed are his own and do not reflect the newspaper's policy. He can be contacted at ves@vyashara.com

Money Nanny aims to consolidate and use all bank-related SMS messages to create a reasonably accurate map of earnings, savings, usage and borrowing.
Money Nanny aims to consolidate and use all bank-related SMS messages to create a reasonably accurate map of earnings, savings, usage and borrowing.

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