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Billsumo is Changing Money Management for the Better

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OECD financial literacy study

OECD financial literacy study published in October 2016 finds many adults struggle with money matters. The study reports that adults in many countries around the world display low levels of financial knowledge, fail to engage in financial behaviours that could improve their financial security and have financial attitudes oriented towards the short-term.

Download the OECD/INFE International Survey of Adult Financial Literacy Competencies for more information on the measurement and findings.

Are you stressed about managing your money? 

Most of us are at one time or another. Whether you are trying to track spending or invest spare change. According to Financial Counselling Australia (FCA) there is 2.5 million Australians facing financial difficulty. 

Personal finance is the leading cause of stress in Australia according to the Stress and Wellbeing Survey 2015. This is a big problem facing almost half (49%) of Australians. 

For key findings of Stress and Wellbeing Survey 2015:
https://www.psychology.org.au/psychologyweek/survey/results-stress-and-wellbeing/

Budgeting easily and efficiently

PFM tools are designed to relieve this stress and are much easier to use instead of relying on a paper notebook or spreadsheet.

Billsumo is passionate about making life easier, living stress free and offering a great customer experience. Our business is about empowering people to take control of their finances and our employees share our mission and commitment to improve the lives of our customers. 

Billsumo not only helps with financial management, but it helps educate customers about their spending habits and saving decisions. This transparency of information helps pave the way for better decision making. By automating the budgeting and savings side of people’s finances it encourages them to spend and save what they can afford. 

Keeping financial information secure

Even if a new PFM app or service seems reputable, it’s important to take steps to safeguard your finances and personal information. Other PFM tools present security concerns, as users are required to hand over account details and logins, which most banks actively discourage. Billsumo is unique, in that it sits inside the financial institution’s Online and Mobile environments, where trust has already been established.

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Customer-owned Banking & Fintechs Meetup: Delivering Mutual Opportunities

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Fintech engagement

Billsumo is looking forward to hear Nathan Campbell, Chief Risk Officer of IMB Bank talk about their recent experience in fintech engagement, including a recent accelerator program.

Why Fintech?

Technology will revolutionise finance sector as it has done to media, taxi companies and hotel rooms. The financial version of Twitter, Uber and Airbnb will emerge, impacting mutual banks.  Finance is an information business and all information industries have been transformed by the internet and smartphone. Consumers have begun exploring their options for convenience, customisation and value with the advent of Fintech. Consumers are demanding a frictionless financial system, grounded in convenience & simplicity, intuitive services that help you save and manage your money including paying your bills which are enabled by mobile technology. Fintech is democratising the financial services sector.

The Mutual Banking Sector

The Australian customer owned banking sector is now $100 billion dollars strong. Made up of 85 Mutual banks, Credit Unions and Building Societies, they are an important part of the banking landscape with 4.1 million members. This represents a 27% penetration of the Australian retail banking sector.

Why Collaborate?

Collaboration clearly benefits both parties: Mutual Banks are able to provide a wealth of market insight and experience, and are able to remove regulatory barriers. Fintechs in return offer technology solutions that enhance existing financial products, helping banks to break out of their traditional financial mindsets, giving them the opportunity to experiment with, and understand, new innovations. 

Accenture has reported that collaborative Fintech ventures, those primarily targeting financial institutions as customers, are gaining ground over disruptive players.

Details of the event:

6:00pm, Tuesday, 8 November 2016
Tyro Fintech Hub
Level 5, 155 Clarence Street, Sydney

OPTUS MY BUSINESS AWARDS 2016

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Billsumo selected as a finalist

Billsumo is a successful finalist for the Optus My Business Awards 2016, under the category of Fintech Business of the Year. This award recognises the fintech business that has most effectively capitalised on market opportunities and driven demonstrable business growth.  It includes all types of fintech businesses, from crowd-funding and peer-to-peer lending platforms to robo-advice, payments, data and currency businesses.

Now in its 24th year, the prestigious Optus My Business Awards recognises the best and brightest among Australia’s community of more than two million SMEs, across all industries and within all states and territories!

The competition was fierce and the judges had a difficult job selecting finalists. 

About My Business

My Business is Australia’s pre-eminent title dedicated to equipping ambitious small-to-medium enterprise owners with the knowledge and inspiration they need to grow their business.

Recognised as a trusted adviser to SME owners for 25 years, My Business provides innovative business strategies, practical tips and expert advice that Australia’s 2 million SME owners can use in their day-to-day operations.

 

Canstar catches up with Glenn Seri, CEO of Billsumo, to discuss how Billsumo is helping consumers stay on top of their bills.

About CANSTAR

CANSTAR takes pride in assisting consumers to make better decisions and is not owned by a financial institution. It is privately owned by private shareholders.

CANSTAR has a team of 60 staff who have extensive experience in financial services who collect, analyse and research over 16,000 loans, cards, policies and products. Consumer education as a major part of their role.

Data from CANSTAR is used by financial institutions to fine tune their products. They provide the information for the Bank of the Year – with Money Magazine in Australia. Government bodies such as ASIC, APRA and the Reserve Bank also use their research.

The research by CANSTAR on Billsumo was reported on their website:

http://www.canstar.com.au/wealthbricks-news/billsumo-helps-consumers-manage-their-cash-flow/

Billsumo helps consumers manage their cash flow

Keeping up with bill payments and ensuring you have budgeted for these periodic financial annoyances can be a challenge for the best of planners, but for those who struggle to remain financially disciplined or organised, it can quickly become a financial nightmare.  Late payment fees, bad credit history filings and electricity or water being cut off, are just some of the treats we all face if our bills are not paid.

Billsumo aims to provide a solution to these financial headaches, and they are currently working with a number of mutual banks to help their customers stay on top of their bill payments.

How does Billsumo work?

Billsumo has worked with a number of mutual banks to allow their customers to smooth their bill payments over their preferred time period of weekly, fortnightly or monthly.  Billsumo does not directly offer their bill smoothing product to customers, instead forms agreements with financial institutions for them to offer this product to their customers.

Showing how Billsumo works is best illustrated with an example.   Assume a consumer has a number of different bills that they need to pay, and these bills total to $24,000 annually. The customer can organise to set up with their financial institution to pay $2,000 per month (or smaller amounts for more frequent payments), and have these funds transferred to a separate bank account which can’t be touched by the customer.  The financial institution will organise for these payments to be made on the customer’s behalf.  The advantage of this is that it means one repayment per period is all that is required for the customer to have all their bills budgeted and paid for.  And it makes it easier for them to track their expenses.  As bills arrive in the mail, customers can simply ignore them!

Which banks or mutuals currently offer Billsumo’s product?

At time of writing, there are three mutual banks that offer the Billsumo service to their customers. These are:

·         Queensland Country Credit Union

·         Credit Union of South Australia

·         Coastline Credit Union

Billsumo is looking to increase the number of financial institutions that will offer their service in the future.

New features on the horizon

Currently, customers are required to manually add their recurring bills when they want them added to their repayment schedule.  In the future, Billsumo is looking to automate this feature by scanning the bank account transactions of customers and identifying and adding to their repayment schedule any recurring bills that are not currently included.

Billsumo questions answered?

We posed some questions for Glenn Seri, CEO of Billsumo below:

Q:  Who do you see as your main competitors?

A:  Our product is unique in the marketplace and as such, we do not have any direct competitors in the Australian market.

Q:  Which consumer demographic is Billsumo targeted towards?

A:  We do not target any one specific demographic.  Anyone ranging from much disciplined savers to those who struggle to organise their personal expenses are able to benefit from the product.  Disciplined savers value that their bill amounts are aggregated into one weekly, fortnightly or monthly repayment, making it easier for them to track their spending and expenses.  Those who are not great at budgeting and paying their bills on time get benefit from using Billsumo, as it ensures that there are not late in paying their bills and incurring late payment fees, or worse, having their electricity cut off!

Q:  Are there any costs to using Billsumo?

A: The costs are set by the financial institutions with which Billsumo has an agreement with.  Most are charging $5 per month.

Q:  What drove you to start Billsumo?

A: Billsumo was created because of a need from members of Mutual Banks to get real financial assistance from their banks to help with their budgeting of day to day bills.

Billsumo makes the 2016 Anthill Smart100

Natasha checking her budget

Billsumo has been named as one of Australia’s 100 most innovative products or services this year, in one of the largest and most recognised innovation awards of its kind in Australia – the Anthill Magazine ‘SMART 100’ Index.

This is great news for Billsumo and follows our recent win at the Afiniation showcase in Melbourne. “These awards and nominations are a great endorsement for our product and team, who have been working hard, with Billsumo launching at two more Credit Unions in the coming weeks.” Glenn Seri, CEO Billsumo.

About Billsumo

With wide market appeal Billsumo removes the stress and anxiety associated with paying bills and helps people achieve their financial goals faster. This unique product is giving financial institutions the ability to connect with their customers in a more engaging and meaningful manner and genuinely makes people’s lives easier.

About Smart100

The SMART 100 Index was created by leading business media channel Anthill Magazine in 2008 to identify and rank Australia’s 100 most innovative products, proving to be one of the largest surveys of its kind in Australia.
“With over 700 nominations and 100 innovations profiled and ranked each year, the SMART 100 Index is the largest awards program dedicated to innovation in Australia.” James Tuckerman, Anthill Magazine founder.

Show your support

Billsumo is a nimble start-up who needs your support. Awareness helps build brands, so we kindly ask that you show your support and vote for us in the reader’s choice award.

Simply visit our Billsumo Smart 100 page and share our profile.
1. Tweet it: Top left of each page (3 points)
2. Trigger a Reaction: Facebook ‘Like’, etc. (2 points)
3. Leave a Comment: (1 point)

Billsumo wins ‘Best New Entrant’ at Afiniation fintech showcase

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On Thursday 14 April Glenn Seri, Chief Executive Officer and Nick Verze, Lead Experience Designer pitched Billsumo at the Afiniation Melbourne Showcase, Grand Hyatt Savoy Ballroom. We had been hand-picked by the Afiniation select committee and invited to demonstrate our technology to a panel of distinguished judges.

We were amongst 30 Fintech innovators invited to pitch on the day, ranging from early start-ups to established companies.  Afiniation is the leading network for Fintech start-ups in the Asia-Pacific region. Their showcase event series help connect start-ups, industry experts and investors which help support Fintech innovation.

Afiniation co-founder Jillian Upton said the breadth of talent in the industry was a testament to the fact that Australia was finally beginning to compete on the global stage as a fintech innovator.

Billsumo were delighted to win ‘Best New Entrant’ at the event, particularly given the impressive calibre of presentations on the day.

“Billsumo has amazing potential to help with a problem that most of us face in our day to day lives. Great mass market appeal.”  Rob Wallis, Product Development Manager at IRESS and one of the panel of judges at the Showcase.

Amongst our peers Macrovue was awarded ‘Best in Show’, Suitebox awarded ‘Best Technology’ and XTB took out the award for ‘Best Disrupter’.

“To be recognised by the panel of judges and awarded ‘Best New Entrant’ really validates all that we are doing at Billsumo and our commitment to being one of the best banking technologies to hit the Fintech market.  It is also rewarding to know that people really identify with the problem we solve and appreciate that our solution is right on the money.” Glenn Seri, CEO Billsumo

“It was great to demo our product and see how well it was received by the audience and judges. We have spent a lot of time ensuring our platform is easy to navigate by customers and that it actually delivers on the promise of simplifying people’s lives.”   Nick Verze, Lead Experience Designer Billsumo (the guy in the hat).

Billsumo was created to solve an everyday problem – remove the stress and anxiety associated with paying bills and help customers attain their financial goals faster. Our cost effective, tech-savvy and simple to use platform, is helping financial institutions connect with their customers in a more engaging and meaningful manner. We are proud to already be servicing three credit unions and have integrated into two different banking platforms.

Thank you to Afiniation for the opportunity and the judges for recognising Billsumo.

To learn more about Billsumo contact us.

Follow our conversation #HelpingMutuals #Billsmoothing

Collaboration – Fintech and Customer Owned Banking partnering for success

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Let the revolution begin!

Our Billsumo team were delighted to attend the inaugural Customer Owned Banking & Fintech meetup last night in Sydney, which was kindly hosted by KMPG, with drinks sponsored by Yodlee.

This exciting new group, has been established by Chris Whitehead, to provide a forum for leaders of the Customer Owned Banking sector to share the opportunities and challenges they face and for Fintechs to pitch their ideas and provide a networking opportunity for mutual benefit.

Mark Degotardi, CEO COBA helped set the scene – the Customer Owned Banking sector serves an impressive combined customer base of over 4 million Australians. Made up of 71 Credit Unions, 5 building societies, 14 Mutual banks and 1 other ADI, with $96.2 billion in assets. This group represent the fifth largest deposit gathering force after CBA, Westpac, ANZ, and NAB reaching 10.1% market share.

With a strong community and customer focus, it isn’t surprising that the customer owned banks (above 91%) outperform the major banks (80.5%) in customer satisfaction rankings. However, customer satisfaction does not drive customer acquisition.

Whilst Customer Owned Banks have proven they can attract younger members, retaining them is an ongoing challenge. With an ageing customer demographic, the need to adapt and appeal to Millennials and Gen Y has never been greater than now.

Mark pointed out that ‘partnering and aggregation is in our DNA’ and forming an alliance with Fintech’s makes perfect sense – it’s a partnership where collaboration will breed success for all those involved.  And really, who doesn’t want to grow market share?

Next up, Pascal Nizri, CEO/Founder of Chekk demonstrated how his product not only empowers people to take control of their digital lives but it aggregates and makes sense of your online life in one place. In a society that demands instant gratification, this exciting product is set to enhance the daily digital lives of both consumers and corporate users.

Mark Genovese, CEO Maritime Mining & Power CU gave a CEOs perspective on the opportunity for Mutuals, reminding us of the challenges they face and how partnering with Fintechs will open up new opportunities. Collaboration will help provide solutions to attract and retain younger members, leveraging social media platforms to stay relevant.

The opportunity for Fintechs is not limited to customer experience. Just as important is improving back office efficiencies and whilst legacy systems have been barriers to entry in the past, these are being lowered as the need to plug-and-play by agile start-ups becomes more evident.

The opportunities for Fintechs in this industry are ripe – ensure its scalable and you might just be the unicorn worth partnering with. Our advantage is that by collaborating together, we help foster healthy competition and help our industry challenge big bank market dominance.

Andrew Grant, CEO & Founder of Cryptophoto gave an insightful presentation on the state of the security industry and its many flaws. His simple and easy solution blocks phishing, protecting user accounts from hackers and malware, using two-factor authentication with pictures on a smartphone or paper card.

Time flies when you are having fun. We enjoyed all the presentations and look forward to attending the next meet-up in July. Thanks again to Chris Whitehead for seizing the opportunity to create this highly relevant forum.

Follow the conversations #HelpingMutuals #MutualsFintech

Let’s talk about innovation, disruption and FinTech

Fintech Meetup

Innovation, disruption, FinTech and Billsumo

Glenn Seri, CEO of Billsumo recently had the opportunity to share the Billsumo story at the FinTech Adelaide Meetup @fintechADL, kindly hosted by People’s Choice Credit Union in their new offices. At this event, he spoke about the inception of a great idea, converting this into a great business in reality and the importance of passion and flexibility in this journey.

Queensland Country Credit Union (QCCU), a relatively small financial institution has demonstrated how easy it is to partner with a start-up like Billsumo, to get fantastic results and disrupt from within – giving QCCU a unique competitive advantage in their market.

Whilst the basic budgeting product had been around for the best part of 45 years at QCCU, the infusion of the new ideas for processing and delivery gained by partnering with Billsumo has been invaluable in providing the product we see today.

People seemed genuinely surprised and interested about how financial institutions can engage successfully with the Fintech sector. There is plenty of fertile ground between the Fintechs and Mutuals and the opportunities for both parties are limitless. Most Mutuals do not have the resources to have a full blown R & D factory so why shouldn’t Mutuals engage with FinTechs to get ahead of the development curve?

There are plenty of good ideas for products that seem as though they should be successful, but when push comes to shove if the end users need for the product isn’t there, then it won’t add up. Understanding the needs of the end user is the most important part of coming up with a successful FinTech solution.

Billsumo was created to solve an everyday problem – remove the stress associated with paying bills and attaining financial goals.  Our solution provides members with everyday budgeting assistance from a trusted source i.e. a reputable Financial Institution and it helps solve the “budgeting dilemma” from both a Member/customer perspective and a Financial Institution perspective.

We want to thank Luke and Damien for the invitation to be part of such a great event and we look forward to seeing other great innovative ideas come out of this group in the future

If you would like to know more about the Billsumo story or how Billsumo could help you, we would love to hear from you.

What is the true cost of innovation?

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Igor Fasol, Director Billsumo recently represented Billsumo at Payments Innovation 2016 where he was invited to join the panel discussion on the ultimate cost of innovation to the organisation and to its customer. In this blog post, Igor shares his views on the topic.  

With the unprecedented levels of innovation in the payments landscape the cost of innovation is not always a straight forward calculation. From the cost of acquiring the technology, to implementation and operational costs to the cost the customer is ultimately willing to bear.

What is the true cost of innovation?

The greatest cost to an organisation is the cost of not innovating at all and being left behind. You only need to look at companies like Kodak and Nokia for a reality check.  If an organisation doesn’t innovate or disrupt its own business, someone else will.

Not surprisingly the recently released KPMG report ‘Mutuals Industry Review 2015’ revealed that innovation will be the key technology challenge facing Mutuals and banks in 2016. And, if it wasn’t competitive enough within the banking industry itself, Mutuals and traditional banks are now being targeted from disrupters outside of the industry – as these disrupters see opportunities to steal the consumer dollar.

What makes a great innovation?

Whilst some innovations are just nifty gadgets or fads that pass us by, true innovation will change consumer behaviour. The fastest way to change consumer behaviour is to solve a consumer problem or do something better than before.

Billsumo was created to solve a common problem – remove the stress associated with paying your bills and achieving your financial goals. Our goal is to make people’s lives easier by smoothing out payments, aligning to their pay cycle and helping them achieve their financial aspirations faster.

Where is the next innovation coming from in payments?

There has been lots of innovation in the payments space around helping consumers spend, for example Mobile Wallets. We expect the next big thing in innovations will be around helping consumers manage their money smarter, such as Personal financial management (PFM) tools.

According to the Stress and Wellbeing Survey (2015) Personal finance is the leading cause of stress in Australia. This is a big problem facing almost half (49%) of Australians. PFM tools are designed to relieve this stress – which makes this an attractive space to be innovating.

What is the best way for established financial service organisations to drive innovation?

Develop in-house teams? Outsource or partner-up? Each will have its advantages and disadvantages and suit different organisational circumstances.

Collaboration is key – Bringing together the best resources, information and customer insights from established players and the great ideas, a sense of urgency and a laser-like-focus from start-ups will help accelerate your success.

Inside the mind of a Billsumo designer

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We knew we had a good concept – provide a simple budget creation platform, which smoothed out payments and enabled easy payment of bills from it.

However, thinking you have a good concept doesn’t make it a great concept. What makes it great is study, testing and iteration.

Observing human behaviour is key, sometimes what people say is not quite what they do. Some peoples pain is another person’s joy. Sure, listen to what they say, but make sure you watch what they do as testing that behaviour will usually bring to light what is working and what is not. Failure to test is an exercise in arrogance, something a start-up nor any company who wants to succeed cannot afford to do.

Don’t get me wrong, living in a start-up world, with its lean agile design, means instinct plays a big part, as does competitor research and the plain old discipline of showing it to people and letting them drive with little or no queues from you. Observing this will tell you very quickly what is working and what needs tweaking.

And sometimes the results really surprise you. Take our user profile analysis result for example. In our research we discovered a user profile we named as the ‘Organised Controller’. This person typically controls their budget, usually in a spreadsheet and knows exactly where their money is. They usually run the family budget and like to be in charge. One would naturally assume this person would be drawn to a product like Billsumo. Heck it enables them to do just that and much easier. Surprisingly however, we found the opposite to be true. Turns out most of these people have invested time in building their view of their finances and won’t want to relinquish control of it. Good on them I say. Our challenge is to convince them the effort will pay handsome dividends for them. Something I am confident of.

Another design aspect we spent time on is the responsiveness of our product to different sized devises and browsers. We have achieved graceful responsiveness. The other important design aspect is accessibility. Can a user navigate using a touchpad, keypad or mouse exclusively on our devise? Yes, they can. Has our product met the highest level of WCAG 2.0 standards? Not yet, but we are striving for it.

So what of the design process once the product is live. Not much changes really in terms of the design process, just the tools. We study the analytics, iterate and test. We continue to research, keep an eye on the market and review our backlog constantly to strive for improvements. All the whilst being pragmatic, as besides, money doesn’t grow on trees. That’s why we encourage people to budget 🙂

 

 

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