Money management chatbot Plum is now supporting challenger banks Monzo and Starling Bank. Plum states that it already supports most major UK banks and currently has around 130,000 users – collected since launch in 2017. Plum states that is has so far saved £24 million for their users. Adding support for the challenger banks was said to be due to Open Banking rules and a partnership with API company TrueLayer which enables users to avoid sharing their login details by logging in with the bank directly.
As a service, Plum connects to current accounts and monitors spending patterns, setting aside an amount of money that can be safely saved every few days. Plum also has a “fee fighting tool” that enables users to identify hidden bank fees – a nagging issue for consumers. Users may also calculate how much they’ve been overcharged in hidden foreign currency fees when spending abroad. There is also a feature that allows users to analyse their spending or invest in various themed options.
Plum has raised capital online via the crowdfunding platform Seedrs. In July 2017, Plum raised £923,255 in a convertible offering backed by 965 investors. A follow on round on Seedrs raised £959,038 at a valuation of £8 million.
Megan Caywood, Chief Platform Officer for Starling Bank, said they want the customers to have choice among various financial service products and their open API makes that possible. She said they are excited to enable users to securely connect to Plum.
Tristan Thomas, Head of Marketing and Community at Monzo, concurred saying it was great for users to have more options.
“Adding Monzo and Starling to our ever-growing list of supported banks is a key step in achieving our mission to make everyone better off. We have seen demand for challenger banks increasing significantly since we launched and are thrilled to see that these banks are gaining momentum,” said Victor Trokoudes, CEO and co-Founder of Plum. “Our partnership with Truelayer has allowed us to move quickly and the user experience to be seamless and secure. This is a perfect example of how Open Banking is benefiting the financial sector and its users.”
The UK enacted Open Banking rules earlier this year. A first globally, Open Banking mandates that user data is actually owned by the user – and not the financial services firm. Users may choose who may have access to their information.
Imran Gulamhuseinwala, OBE and Trustee of the OBIE – the group that is leading the Open Banking charge in the UK, stated some months back before Open Banking officially kicked in;
“The work we are doing here is genuinely world-leading. The UK is the first nation to implement a standardised Open Banking solution. In the UK we are creating a single technology standard enabling new services to be easily built and offered to consumers and small businesses. Open Banking will help make Britain one of the best places in the world to bank and will, in time, stimulate the digital economy.”
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