Personal finance app Moneytree launches in Australia

Alison Banney 21 June 2017 NEWS

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Moneytree CEO Paul Chapman. Source: Moneytree.

The award winning fintech app gives consumers easy access to all their financial data in one place.

Imagine logging into an app and having all your financial data, from your home loan to your superannuation, in one place. You could track your spending, watch your investments grow and make sure your superannuation is being paid by your employer in one handy platform.

Personal finance app Moneytree offers just that, and has successfully launched in Australia available to consumers to download from today.

Launched in Japan

The fintech startup was first launched in Japan in 2013 and allows consumers to see all their financial data including their savings, loans, credit cards, superannuation and investments in the one place via one simple login.

At a media roundtable event this morning at Stone and Chalk, Moneytree CEO Paul Chapman said the concept of the app was initially met with a great deal of scepticism in Japan.

When launching in Japan, someone told him that “not a single Japanese person would type their credentials into our app because we didn’t have the backing of the big banks. And we were like, ‘we think you’re wrong’, and he was pretty wrong!” said Chapman.

The app now has over 1.4 million users in Japan and took the title for Apple’s App Store “Best of” app award in both 2013 and 2014, beating even Instagram and Facebook.

White paper: Data portability in Australian financial services.

In line with the app’s launch in the Australian market today, CEO Paul Chapman released a white paper into the concept of open banking and the need for complete transparency across the financial sector to gain the full potential of shared data.

The white paper addressed the government's plans to introduce an open banking regime in Australia, which will allow individuals and third parties access to consumer financial data.

While there has been a great deal of hype around the implications of data sharing, Chapman’s white paper says that it is not about technology, but rather a revolution in trust.

“There is no doubt the potential benefits to consumers of more accessible financial data are tremendous and will be transformational. However, most people don’t understand how their data is being used now, and an open banking regime could create greater confusion.”

“It is important that Australia implements an open banking regime in a way that promotes and safeguards consumer trust and allows people to feel in control,” Chapman said.

How do you gain consumer trust in data sharing?

Chapman says people are becoming more willing to share their data, but we’re still concerned. He spoke of how the app gained trust in Japan which is “the most privacy and security conscious country in the world.”

“When we started Moneytree, we decided to be absolutely transparent and radically upfront with people. This approach has earned us the trust of millions of users, and has given some of Japan’s biggest financial institutions the confidence to partner with us,” he said.

“People are more likely to share if they feel they have control and there is transparency around how the data is used and who will get it.”

Available in Australia from today

“We’re bringing data portability to Australia,” said Chapman.

“The app gives people full portability of their financial data over their lifetime, enabling them to better manage their finances and more easily interact with financial providers,” he said. “We have applied these principles of privacy and transparency to the app - data is not sold, and there is no marketing or advertising.”

Although, Chapman said Australian banks are still quite nervous about the concept of sharing their data. So, getting all the local financial services on board will take some time. Currently, customers of Westpac, ANZ, CBA, NAB, Citi, St. George, Suncorp and UBank can link their bank account data in the app, with other banks joining soon.

“From our discussions with big banks and small banks (in Australia), there’s a lot of anxiety. But if they don’t open up with us, where is the innovation going to come from?”

He said the banks are curious about the platform and aren’t saying no, but are cautious of opening up. He says the banks don’t want to be the first to commit to opening their data, but they do want it to happen.

Chapman says it’s now a case of “Who’s going to go first? The chicken or the egg...you show me yours if I show you mine.”

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