The Chatbot Charlie app is reorganizing itself as a personal finance management offering

  • US fintech Charlie launched new PFM features amid increased consumer interest in finance-focused fintechs.
  • And he should consider a freemium model and discounts to existing customers to boost acquisition efforts.
  • Insider Intelligence publishes hundreds of information, charts and forecasts on the Fintech industry with the Fintech Briefing. You can read more about the subscription here.

American fintech Charlie has reorganized its services to deploy a multitude of

money management

functionalities targeted at reducing the debt of American consumers, through Finextra. Charlie started as a chatbot in 2016, analyzing customer transaction data to provide information on savings, and his chatbot service has racked up half a million users.

How often we adults use digital apps to manage respondents' money July 2020 260,164

Consumer interest in fintechs that can help budget their finances better continues to grow.

Insider Information

As part of the latest launch, users can connect their bank accounts to the new personal finance management (PFM) app, and Charlie then calculates and presents a holistic view of their total debts. Charlie also helps users visualize when they will pay him back with minimum monthly payments.

In addition, it aims to reduce debt by infusing gamification into savings: users can choose certain scenarios, such as when ordering fast food, to automatically generate a predefined savings amount that goes towards the total of monthly savings. Users will be billed a monthly subscription fee of $ 4.99 for the new PFM offering.

Charlie’s expansion of PFM services is timely, given the growing consumer interest in fintechs that can help them better budget their finances. Fifty-nine percent of US consumers use fintech apps to manage their finances more frequently than before the pandemic, and 69% stressed the importance of fintechs as a financial lifeline during the economic downturn.

This has fueled the growth of PFM applications like Albert, which has grown its user base by around 3 million since 2019, and likely encouraged Charlie to expand its services and take advantage of this trend. Moreover, as unemployment increases Consumers in the United States will increasingly focus on better managing their finances to cope with the growing financial uncertainty that many will face.

Charlie is entering a crowded market and should consider free services alongside discounts to entice existing chatbot customers to embrace the PFM offering and drive customer acquisition. Charlie’s gamification tools and his specific focus on debt might help him stand out, but the US PFM market is full of big players, such as Cleo and Albert, who also set smart savings goals.

While Charlie is not a new fintech and already has 500,000 chatbot users, a combination of intense competition and the $ 4.99 subscription could hamper customer acquisition early in its launch as a full-fledged PFM application. So, Charlie should consider rolling out a freemium model: he could offer basic services for free, like the Total Debt Calculator, to attract users to his platform and charge for premium services, such as gamification features.

Additionally, Charlie should strive to convert his chatbot users to his new PFM services by offering them reduced monthly subscription prices, which would also give Charlie’s new services a boost in customer acquisition.

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