The world has gone app happy. Like almost every type of business, the trend has impacted the financial and professional services industries in a big way.
There are good apps and bad ones. Some make doing business — or developing it — easier and more enjoyable. Others simply waste time and take up limited smartphone screen real estate.
We’ve checked out apps offered by — and for — several types of financial and professional services firms. Here are some of the best ones we’ve found. Use them as inspiration for developing consumer- or intermediary-focused apps for your company.
LearnVest has been around since 2009. It provides a great way for savers and investors to track activity across all their accounts, which can help improve financial planning efficiency and performance. Tools built into the app make it easy to set goals and learning modules give users ready access to the information they need to make informed financial choices.
The LearnVest Money Center is an online tool that lets users track spending, manage budgets and set and plan for financial goals. In addition to its software and education tools, LearnVest also offers financial planning services. The app facilitates secure information sharing between investors and financial advisors along with online collaboration.
Why this is an app worth using: LearnVest is a company with a clear purpose. It's mission is to move people beyond just budgeting and turning them into goal-focused investors. The firm’s app has been designed to facilitate that. The only issue we encountered: It can be challenging to use the app to manage complex household budgets.
Mint is one of the best known personal finance apps. Its popularity is well deserved.
The app makes it simple for people to see all their account-related information in one place in real time. It categorizes transactions by type, sends out alerts that can prevent users from going over budget and notifies them when bills are due.
Why this is an app worth using: Mint was designed to solve a specific issue faced by most people: Coordinating activities related to budgeting, saving, managing credit, paying bills and investing for retirement. The app helps users manage all these things, offering tips to optimize each of them and improve their efficiency and performance.
Most insurance apps offer similar features and benefits. In many cases, it seems as if companies have patched together a number of unrelated back-end systems so customers can pay bills, add coverage and make claims in a single place. This leads to inconsistent user experiences. Some apps attempt to go a bit further, providing add-ons designed to build brand affinity.
GEICO’s app is different. It offers real value to customers: It effectively represents its brand while making it easy to access digital ID cards, find and manage policies, get emergency roadside assistance, file claims and chat with service personnel online. The app doesn't feel forced or patched together. It seems like a natural extension of the GEICO business and its brand.
Why this is an app worth using: The GEICO insurance app has earned an extraordinary number of number one ratings and five star reviews. It makes connecting with the company simple and genuinely enhances the customer experience.
Networking is one of the most important things accountants, lawyers, financial advisors and professionals can do to grow their practices. However, busy schedules make it hard to stay on top of this.
LinkedIn, the popular professional services social media platform, has stepped-in to help. They’ve developed a series of apps that make doing some of the networking tasks offered by their social platform easy to accomplish. They strip back the complexity of the LinkedIn online experience and focus on individual goals and the tasks related to them.
Some examples include LinkedIn Elevate, which makes it easy to share helpful and informative content with a professional network and LinkedIn Sales Navigator, a good tool for finding new prospects.
Why these are apps worth using: These apps were clearly designed to make networking easier for busy professionals. They’re a good way for financial advisors, lawyers, accountants, insurance agents and others to make new contacts, maintain relationships and drive sales.
It's surprising that a big bank has taken the time to develop an app with a great personality. It's also loaded with usable features customers find valuable. This is more likely to happen at smaller banks that want to make their mark in a local marketplace or at online banks that have limited branch availability. Based on our review, larger banks generally have mediocre apps.
The Chase offering does all the things you would expect a good banking app to do including facilitating money transfers, viewing statements, paying bills, making deposits and more. Plus, it brings a local touch to banking with a national firm by tailoring the experience to the individual user and their current location.
Why this is an app worth using: More often today, people prefer virtual versus in-person banking. Many banks are closing branches or conducting business with none at all. That makes developing user-friendly apps extremely important. Still, many bank apps feel like they've been cobbled together. The Chase app is an example of one that puts customer needs first.
Not sure how to get started developing an app, website or other digital asset? Check out Carpenter Group’s perspective on digital marketing. Then contact us to find out how we can help you with your firm’s digital marketing needs.