By FintechOS · August 01, 2022
6 minute read

Super apps rising: personal finance in your pocket

Super apps rising: personal finance in your pocket

Super apps are taking many personal finance markets by storm, but the crucial UK and US markets remain lukewarm on the idea. We consider what super apps are, why they’re successful in certain regions, and whether there’s a future for them in other markets.

The borrowing and lending market is stale. Meanwhile, other financial and tech markets are booming and innovating, reaping serious benefits as a result of hopping on current trends that engage and lure customers in. One such area where personal loan providers are missing out is a lackluster app presence.

There’s an app for that

Apps took over the world with the launch of smartphones a decade and a half ago. In 2009, Apple famously led a marketing campaign with the phrase “there’s an app for that,” and before we knew it, there really was an app for just about anything a given person wanted or needed.

Apps covered all areas of interest and services, including entertainment, games, banking, shopping, and more. According to statistics compiled in 2019, in the US, on average, smartphone users had 20 apps on their phones.

Over the years, the number of available apps has grown significantly. What didn’t grow was the capacity of smartphones, meaning people were left with cluttered phones and a lack of storage space to host them. As it stands now, the trend of “the more apps, the better” has begun to decline.

What has also changed is people’s desire to streamline. Consumers are growing weary of an over-complicated approach of separate apps for everything, and instead, want to simplify and have as many things as possible in one place.

Enter the super app.

What is a super app?

A super app is the end goal for most developers who seek “one app to rule them all.” In essence, a super app is simply an app that provides multiple services. This includes financial transactions and payment services so that the app effectively becomes an all-encompassing and self-contained platform for commerce and communication. It will embrace not only our commercial lives, but also our personal ones, which greatly appeals to the modern consumer, who is seeking simplification.

Consider the apps that combine all of a user’s bank accounts and credit debts onto a single dashboard, so they can see their balance and debt in one place, even though the accounts are held with different banks. Curve combines your credit, debit, and rewards cards into one app and allows you to spend on any of them with either a tap of your phone or a single, physical card.

Outside of finance, imagine an app that aggregates all the food delivery services, so you no longer need a separate app for Deliveroo, Uber Eats, and Just Eat. Think of the value this consolidation adds to ease of customer use and experience.

Leading the way

The West hasn’t quite fully embraced the super app yet, but in other parts of the world, we are already seeing some stellar examples of successful super apps.

In Russia, for example, super apps are already prolific and their use is only predicted to grow over the next few years. In 2020, the revenue of super apps sat at USD 51 billion, but this is forecast to grow by more than 163% by 2025, to USD 134 billion.

Though the West is behind on the super app trend, banks and lenders should not be complacent. The apps are there and the desire for them exists, too.

According to data gathered in 2021, roughly 67% of US consumers stated that they were interested in integrating a number of digital experiences within one super app. Of these users, 20% considered themselves to be “information seekers” who would like to see one app that offered services such as online shopping, entertainment, banking, and travel. Another key area proved to be “financial wellness seekers,” who wanted to see integrated platforms that offered banking and payment services, which included more than 18% of consumers.

Those brands eager to enter the super app market can learn from companies across the world already doing it well, including:

WeChat: This Chinese app encompasses messaging, social media, and payment processing. Developed in 2011, it has over a billion monthly active users.

Yandex: Mainly used in Russia, Yandex provides 70 internet-related products, like search engines, transportation, ecommerce, navigation, and more.

Gojek: This app combines over a dozen services, and in Indonesia is the top app for ordering food, commuting, digital payments, shopping, and hyper-local delivery, all in one place.

Paytm: This Indian super app offers more than a thousand services. These include cloud services as well as financial, loan, payment, and commerce to more than 333 million customers.

Revolut: A British app, Revolut uses open banking to link all of your bank accounts into one interface. This offers freedom to open as many accounts as possible, allowing users to get better services for different products, as well as “piggybanking,” where customers can store money in different “pots” within a single bank account for different purposes.

Why your bank needs a super app

In a rapidly advancing world with endless online spending and borrowing options, it makes sense for customers to have everything in one place. Visibility is highly important to customers, who want to see what’s coming in and going out for every aspect of their life as quickly as possible.

If we zoom out a little, we can see how consolidation is already the norm – services like Netflix and Spotify give us visual and audio media, respectively, in single apps. This is what we’ve become accustomed to, and it’s only a matter of time before we see broader implementation in other industries.

The embracement of apps like Revolut indicates that the desire is there for financial services super apps, the question is who takes the next step and what will they offer?

It’s clear to see that loans and borrowing information should be more easily accessible. Whether a personal cash loan, a mortgage, or a car payment, people have to pay for it all from the same income, so why keep it separate? As more and more options for super apps become available to users, we’re likely to see a mass exodus from traditional banking apps as people seek cohesion in all their financial information and activity.

To discover how the right technology can open up opportunities like super apps, see our Lighthouse banking solution page.

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