Fintech for couples: a new way to share money and expenses
What should banking look like for modern couples? That's the main question most digital platforms, and fintech startups are asking themselves. The way couples share their finances, how they swipe their joint card, how they split bills, how they track their financial movements can now, thanks to the power of big data, actually be analyzed and audited.
Those learning have sparked a new wave of venture-backed startups that are recreating the concept of what it means to have a joint bank account, and trying to meet their collective financial goals. In this article, we’ll talk about some of the challenges of a joint couple’s account, as well as some of the current neobanks that offer solutions to these issues.
Challenges of Couple’s Banking
Should couples have joint or separate bank accounts?
When you're in a long committed, let’s try to go all the way, this isn’t just a hook-up, relationship things get complex. Couples start to share things. Including daily expenses, rent, mortgages, and a tonne of other financial activities.
This means that the economic responsibility is no longer something shouldered by one, but now parsed and equally carried by the two of them — how to handle a household's finances becomes a bit murky.
These can mean anything from developing joint saving accounts to funding shared financial goals, to combining paychecks and secondary income - like cash gifts, tax refunds, stimulus checks, etc - into one single account.
The pros and cons of joint bank accounts — challenges of couple’s banking
57% of millennial couples, including married couples, share bank accounts, and more than two-thirds of them also share at the very least one credit card. Having a joint bank account offers a lot of benefits. Amongst them:
- Allows each partner to have instantaneous access to money when needed.
- In the case a partner passes away, the other still retains access to the funds in the joint account without having to go through the legal system or waiting for a will to come through to claim the money — this happens with accounts known as “right of survivorship,” other accounts with shared holdings will be distributed among the deceased estate.
- Another great thing about joint accounts is that it minimizes the chances of a financial “surprise.” Couples find it easier to track expenses, build-out goals, balance checkbooks and streamline their finances.
Nevertheless, there are some drawbacks that many fintech is trying to address — such as:
- The main downside of sharing your account is that many individuals feel they loos a sense of their financial independence.
- It may cause issues in the relationship if partners aren’t communicating responsibly and continually about their account activities — or if one of them is keeping financial secrets.
- Your credit score starts to be affected by their financial decisions — the way they use the account.
- If one of the partners has an outstanding debt - such as student loans, credit card debt, or even child support, or alimony, a creditor can try to collect funds from the joint account.
- If the relationship ends, it can also be extremely problematic. Each partner has the right to withdraw cash, or close the account, without the consent of the other.
Current Neobanks and fintech offering couples account
Worldwide over 77% of couples share fiscal responsibility with their partner in the form of a joint bank account — over 45% of them feel that their banks could do a bit more to fix issues they feel their joint account have. Fintechs are focusing on niches nowadays, more finite and sample clusters in order to avoid running into their competitors, one of those segments are couple’s banking. Among the neobanks that offer great couples services are:
Zeta is a new fintech company whose goal is to rebuild the concept of joint accounts, make them friendlier, for today’s modern family. It’s not just a couple’s joint account, but one that can in fact be segmented to include multiple family members and different relationships. Currently, most joint accounts lack transparency and the option to add other users in a tiered way.
Couples who downloaded Zeta will each get a joint Zeta card as well as a joint account. They will then be able to personalize the account, adding goals, segmentation, and how much money it’s transferred from their main bank account into the Zeta account and its tiered segments. For example, a partner might decide to only funnel 50% of their paycheck - deposited into an outside bank account - into their Zeta account. They can then decide how much of that 50% goes into each specific segment of the account.
For example 10% to mortgage or rent. 20% grocery. 10% to holiday savings and vacations. 10% to savings. The partners not only have more control over their spending, and can keep better track of it, but they can also input safeguards — such as holiday savings can only be accessed by both of them. In this case, both partner’s apps ask the other for permission to have access to that segment of savings and even how much of the funds can be withdrawn.
The Bangalore-based Fibbl is currently trying to label itself as the premier neobank for couples. The bank allows users to open an account instantly and multiple bank accounts can also be folded into its app.
Once an account is opened, each half of the couple gets a physical card as well as a virtual one. The app then allows the couple to set up budget goals, create milestones, track the progress of financial targets and pool their money together intelligently. The app notifies the couples on when they will hit self-determined limits or goals based on the spending and contribution ratios.