ImpulseSave Helps People Save Money

The financial services industry hasn’t had a great track record in innovation. And following the recession, financial companies haven’t had much of an incentive, or even permission, to innovate.

Finovate, a conference organizer in the finance and tech space, is attempting to change that by rebranding “innovation” in financial services. By fostering technology within financial service companies, Finovate plans to bring the industry into the 21st century.

At Finovate’s Fall conference in New York, I saw 64 demos – in areas ranging from digital payments, to banking, to investment management. After witnessing several versions of the “world’s next and best virtual wallet,” I realized that one critical component continues to be amiss: Empathy.

While these companies embrace technology, they lack insight into why new technologies would be relevant to people’s needs, behaviors, and motivations.

Only one group appeared to truly understand people: ImpulseSave. As ImpulseSave explains on their website, their service allows people to turn a point-of-sale into a “point-of-saving” by redirecting cash into a savings account. They had discovered a key insight: “not spending” ≠ saving.

Without ImpulseSave, savings are only the resources we actively set aside into separate bank accounts and 401K plans. Money we chose not to spend would otherwise remain in checking accounts, only to be spent later. For people trying to change their spending habits, they are lacking feedback or a system to even remember the daily small wins. Much like dieting, it’s hard to resist every purchase until it becomes systematic like Weight Watchers’ point system. And that’s exactly what ImpulseSave created for spenders.

Now, any time I decide to not buy something, whether it’s a pack of gum, a taxi ride, or a pair of Christian Laboutin shoes, ImpulseSave transfers what I would have spent into a separate savings account. Seeing how much one saves by not buying a daily cup of coffee is much more real.

For those skeptical of Impulse Save’s potential, consider this: the market cap for Weight Watchers is just under $3 billion. Its points program has served as a platform to launch into several businesses, including online subscription services, publications, products, and licensing. Banking has yet to evolve past checking and savings.

At Jump, we believe businesses need to be one part capitalist, one part technologist, and one part humanist to drive growth. ImpulseSave captured a key insight. Now the team will need to figure out the larger business, including its revenue model, key partnerships (like Intiuit or retail banks), and a roadmap of offerings.

The team is in development with TechStars Boston, and will relaunch this November.

@ImpulseSave, I look forward to seeing the next version and wish you all the best!

By Annie Chang

Photo from flickr.