Ben Soppitt

America's Financial Superapp Moment Has Arrived

Paypal’s CEO Dan Schulman recently announced their intent to launch a Financial Superapp.

“Schulman believes there are way too many financial services apps. So he plans to develop a “super app” to take care of payments, shopping, savings, investing, budgeting, crypto and identity — all from one convenient location.”

But others already claim they offer a “Financial Superapp” including ourselves at Unifimoney and Robo Advisor competitor M1 which even rather boldly adds a trademark symbol to it’s tagline: “The Finance Super App™”.

So what is a Financial Superapp? And what does it mean for consumers?

A blog post from Infopulse reported that the term ‘super app’ was “coined by BlackBerry founder Mike Lazaridis back in 2010. The post explained Lazaridis’s definition asa closed ecosystem of ‘many apps’ that people would use every day ‘...because they offer such a seamless, integrated, contextualized and efficient experience.’

They went on to define a Super App as “A marketplace of services and offerings, delivered via in-house technology and through 3rd party integrations.” That's as good a definition as we need at this point.

The History of the Superapp

The original Financial Superapps can be traced to Asia, especially China, and financial behemoths like Wechat and Alipay, and now including Paytm in India (as well as others) and Grab in South East Asia and Gojek in Indonesia. In reality, all of these apps have gone beyond just the financial and include a lot more besides.

Yet in Europe and the US, consumers are still battling with having multiple financial apps on their phones, each typically solving valuable, yet discrete things, and adding a great deal of friction and unnecessary time and energy expenditure to managing money.  Based on our customer research at Unifimoney, it's not atypical for a Millennial to have over 10 financial apps on their phone and a significant proportion have more than 15.

But Paypal’s public declaration of their intent to compete in this space, as well as companies like Goldman Sachs slowly but surely extending their retail offerings — most recently to Robo Advisory services — are good indicators that these markets are waking up to the need to offer more than a mono-line product. One could argue Sofi also provides all these services, although today it's all in a big bag of separate products rather than a very integrated experience — no doubt this will change over time.

The key definition of a Financial Superapp lies in the fact you can do many things in a single integrated application.

Our Financial Superapp

At Unifimoney, we believe the future of finance is in delivering exactly this and we are clearly not alone in this belief.

We define the personal finance market into 3 core categories:

  • Everyday money management — Saving, Spending and Investing
  • Ad-hoc services — lower frequency big ticket items e.g. buy a house, a car, student loan refi etc.
  • Custom personalized services (e.g. legal and tax)

Unifimoney plays primarily in the first two spaces — seeking to solve the problems inherent in how we manage money today. Currently, personal financial management is far too complex, offers very low value for money (returns on your money, e.g. deposit APY, returns on credit card spend, investment fees), and requires way too much effort, time and cognitive load for the average person to manage optimally.

Currently, Unifimoney already offers high-yield checking, a debit card, a checkbook, remote checks, bill payment, a Robo advisor, stock and EFT trading, homeloans, mortgage refi, and vehicle and auto loans. In the near future, we’ll also offer a credit card, crypto and precious metal trading, international remittances, HSA, insurance, and a portfolio line of credit. Compare this to M1 Finance, which offers a cash account (essentially a savings account with limited functionality but with a debit card), Robo Advisory, and Portfolio Loans (the ability to borrow against your holdings).

Now, we are not knocking M1 — it's a great Robo app competing with Betterment and Wealthfront which offer the same or similar features. And keep in mind that we are also not privy to their roadmap. But as a “Finance Super App,” it seems to fall rather short — trademark or not.

What is clear, though, is that the concept of a Financial Superapp is coming to America and Paypal's announcement signals a new level of competition in consumer Fintech. In this new emerging market, ground competition will be about how brands can help consumers with all of life's financial needs. The time to simply offer a better alternative to discrete products and services offered by legacy players is over. America's Financial Superapp Moment has arrived...


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*Important information and disclaimers

The above does NOT constitute an offer, solicitation of an offer, nor advice to buy or sell specific securities. The opinions listed above are not the opinions of Unifimoney Inc. or Unifimoney RIA, Inc. but represent the opinions of independent contributors. These contributors may or may not hold positions in the stocks discussed. Investors should always independently research any stocks listed and form their own opinions, while recognizing that any investments made may lose value, are not bank guaranteed and are not FDIC insured.