Two new banking tools introduced by Wilmington-based Apiture are designed to help banks give customers a better handle on their spending.
The features, My Spending and Spendable Balance, are “based on extensive user research focused on understanding where consumers struggle with money management,” according to a news release from Apiture, which opened offices in downtown Wilmington this year and offers an open API banking platform.
The two features, part of what Apiture calls its Digital Banking Reimagination platform, aim to ensure that customers better understand their own spending habits and know how much they can safely spend at any time.
“We spent a lot of time in the field interviewing [financial institution] clients, trying to understand, from a financial perspective, what’s working and what’s not,” said Apiture President Christopher Cox. “There is a variety of tools on the market that let them put information in and get reports out [on what they have spent]. That gives them a rear view. They can spend a lot of time getting reports on what has already happened.”
What Apiture wanted was a way for bank customers to get a forward view of their finances, Cox said.
Working with financial technology company MX, Apiture developed My Spending, which not only provides a bank customer a dashboard that aggregates information from all of that customer’s accounts and credit cards, but also offers a way to monitor and adjust spending habits.
Customers can set up a budget for each spending category; the feature tracks subsequent spending within those categories and alerts customers if they are on track to exceed that budget.
“The really cool part is that you are seeing that information on your banking site or mobile site; you don’t need other apps. We’ve consolidated it on one location,” Cox said.
The Spendable Balance tool provides additional guidance.
“What we realized out in the field is that consumers log on [to their accounts] and see the current balances. But they are automatically doing calculations in their head: rent to be paid, checks sent off but not posted; so the balance that is shown is not the real balance,” Cox said. “With Spendable Balance, we actually do that calculation for them automatically. We figure in pending payments but also payments that are coming due, based on the customer’s history of spending, so we give them a better picture.”
The partnership with Lehi, Utahbased MX was essential to development of these tools, Cox said.
“There are things MX does today that we can’t do,” he said, explaining that MX helped not only with the account aggregation portion of My Spending, but also with what is called data cleansing: translating all the disparate bits of information on purchases and payments into a consistent and understandable format for the consumer.
Cox noted that Apiture’s ability to envision and develop new products rests not only on its collaboration with other fintech partners, but also from an open and collaborative company culture.
“We’re building software that solves problems for our financial institution clients,” he said. “We spend a lot of time working together across teams to make sure we understand the problems that need to be solved and deliver solutions quickly. It’s all about collaboration, having an open environment and a collaborative environment.”
Apiture, a joint venture between Wilmington-based Live Oak Bancshares and Atlanta-based First Data, was formed last October. It opened its Wilmington headquarters office in February. At present, according to Cox, the company employs 110 people, 70 of whom are based here.