New FinTech startup helps improve your financial health

App

Personal debt and financial fragility are common staples of life today. The cost of living is rising and according to Money Charity, in the UK alone, there is £170 billion worth of personal debt (excluding mortgages). Combine this with record low savings, 15 million people not currently saving and almost nine million UK citizens having less than £250 in their bank account, the scope of the problem becomes clear. People are struggling with their money and it’s having a profound impact on their lives.

Matthew Ford is the CEO and Founder of Pariti, a new service which helps tackle this problem. Pariti aims to reduce financial stress, improve the country’s financial health, and reduce the impact of high-interest lenders.

Having previously headed up customer acquisition at personal finance startup OnTrees, Matthew became aware of the value and opportunity, simple compelling mobile propositions could bring to millions of people in the UK who struggle with their finances and are currently under-served by mainstream providers. Matthew believed there had to be a better way of improving people’s financial health that didn’t involve high interest pay day loans or credit cards; one that put the consumer first and wasn’t simply targeted at those who were already closely managing their finances. The result was Pariti.

Pariti is a mobile service that, at its heart, aims to understand exactly who their user is, what financial position they are in, and what assistance they need to help improve their situation. The software connects to the users’ financial accounts, providing visibility of transactional and behavioural data across a user’s financial accounts. But then, unlike other tools, Pariti mines these datasets to help determine a strategy which helps their users move upwards on their financial journey.

“It’s not just how much people earn and how much they spend, it’s the second and the third level down where it gets really useful for us to help the user. Questions like; what are the volatility of their earnings? Do they have a consistent income monthly, or is it more commission based? And then how can we help those people?” explains Matthew.

Pariti serves four primary customer groups across the field of debt and savings: The over-indebted, whose debt repayments take up a large part of expenditure. Those with volatile income and expenditure, who often fall short before the end of the month. The financially vulnerable, who have very little in reserve for life’s unexpected events. And lastly, those who have higher income than spending, but still find it hard to plan and save for the future.

Under the bonnet, Pariti is a complex data business, but for users of the service, it is remarkably simple. Pariti has been designed to “reduce the cognitive load” of managing your finances and provides users with just two numbers to track: how much they can afford to comfortably spend without falling short, and how much they’ve been able to put aside towards improving their financial position.

“Once we have a view of our user’s position we try and encourage them on their journey to improvement, which could be anything from paying down their most expensive debt, building up a savings reserve for unexpected expenses so they don’t fall short, or getting a longer term savings account going,” says Matthew.

As well as providing a simplified and easy-to-understand view of your finances, Pariti also has a system of incentives in the form of “the right messages at the right time”, progressively taking users up the ladder towards financial security. The service helps notify users before they fall into difficulty, rewards improvement and prompts when key financial decisions need to be made.

The service is far from just a financial notification centre, however. “We are really building this app with and for and our users. We have been doing a phenomenal amount of consumer research, certainly not just reading a load of reports to see an opportunity and build an app. We’ve spent a huge amount of time doing Skype interviews and direct interviews to really understand what the right amount of messaging is and the desired type, and how much input users need to achieve their goals”.

Pariti’s greatest challenge will no doubt be from a technical standpoint. Connecting to accounts is something a number of businesses do, but doing so in a seamless and graceful way in a market that has historically struggled to engage with finances is no small endeavour. Matthew is on the case though. Despite only launching in Beta earlier this year, Pariti has already grown a sizeable user base and daily engagement is on par with that of mobile games and social networks rather than that of financial apps. The potential impact of the business was also recognised by the broader financial industry several months ago, when Pariti was selected as an early stage winner of the European leg of the Innotribe startup competition. The team will be competing against other regional winners at the global finals in Singapore later this year.

Pariti will be going through a rebrand in the coming months and version two of the product will launch later in the year, but Matthew is keen to get as much feedback as possible and is currently offering early access to users who sign up their email addresses now at pariti.com.