Future of Money and Technology Summit: Transparency and Financial Education for the Benefit of People

By April 29, 2010

Image by Mickipedia via Flickr

<![endif]-->Last Monday, April 26th, at The Future of Money and Technology Summit, all the talks were about making personal finance more human and facilitating the use of financial tools by the end customer.
The powerful idea that Internet values will impact all sectors was in play: transparency will bring tremendous added value for financial decisions. Transparency is precisely the value proposition of Billshrink, which wants to provide simple comparison tools for products and services: credit cards and cell phone plans are among the four sectors the company is first aiming at. But as Brad Strothkamp from Forrester warned the attendees: “there is a strong correlation between the usage of comparison shopping and the number of years people practice the web.” He explained that it was still an early-adopter postulate that the web will revolutionize the way people buy and compare products, but it depends on the lack of a sector's transparency: airline-ticket websites are big because it’s painful to find the appropriate tickets on airlines' own websites.
The personalization of financial tools was discussed in the “Technology Makes Money Human” panel, and insights from Aaron Patzer (Mint CEO) were very inspiring. Helping users to make smart decisions according to their personal needs is key for the new Intuit acquisition. Indeed, their blog and Q&A service is aiming at resolving people's painful financial decisions. The same idea of helping people to find what best fits them is the purpose of Home-Account. The “Kayak for Mortgage” is easy to use: you fill a form with all your personal information and they find the best mortgage in the USA for your needs!
All these possibilities are allowed by banks which don’t block their financial data flows. Betsy Flanagan from Wells Fargo explained this “openness” of the banking sector: there is a lack of understanding of personal finance among bank customers and startups help to educate the crowd, so banks are not blocking the access to their data.
In a word, finance evolution is perhaps discussed at the G20, but Silicon Valley could bring interesting ideas in the next few years.

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