The latest entrant to South Africa’s money management space, 22seven, promises an online service unlike any other.
Not only do they claim that they will help South Africans find money they didn’t know they had, they say they do it in an “un-boring” way.
The team at 22seven believes the flaw in traditional financial management tools is that they rely on objectivity, rationality, budgeting and discipline.
“People are hardwired to make choices on instinct, intuition and emotion,” said 22seven CEO, Christo Davel. “It doesn’t matter how many budgets we do or how many books we read, we will still act like the complex, emotionally governed human beings we are.”
The service automatically pulls data from your bank accounts, eliminating one of the more tedious steps in money management.
However, this feature is also one of the company’s biggest challenges. It requires that you enter your online banking authentication information. All of it. If you have a PIN and password you need to enter both.
Considering the amount of communications banks put out warning people against doing precisely this, 22seven has their work cut out for them to convince people the service is safe to use.
According to 22seven, they don’t see or store this information – it goes straight to a company called Yodlee that is in the business of aggregating financial data. Yodlee is a US-based company, and says its security is regularly audited as rigorously as American banks are.
Asked what guarantees Yodlee could provide to the average person, a company representative said that if their data is compromised at any point they’re out of business. Their very survival depends on whether they can keep your data secure and private.
If you’ve been sufficiently convinced that your credentials are safe and try the service, the transactions from your bank accounts are loaded into 22seven, after which you need to categorise them.
From there the data is displayed in bubbles, rather than bar graphs and pie charts. On the highest level you see what your income and expenses were in a month and how they relate. You can also drill down and see how much of your expenses were recurring, day-to-day, or from exceptional circumstances.
22seven also encourages you to plan your cash flow for the following month, using your previous amounts as a guide.
The launch version is in beta and will be free. Once ready, 22seven will cost R70 per month with the first month free.
Davel said that they chose a subscription model to remain independent. “We will never recommend products or service providers to our users and will never be a sales channel for financial institutions,” Davel said.
“By charging a subscription we are aligning our commercial intent with the happiness of our clients. We have to consistently add value to customers’ lives or go out of business,” concluded Davel.
The following banks and “licensed financial services providers” are supported:
For access to the beta users can sign up for an account at http://22seven.com