Can you find financial stability in an app? Even, an alternative to payday loans, thinks you can. The application provides a money management tool for those with low or fluctuating incomes.
Jon Schlossberg, Even’s CEO, believes it is expensive to be poor. His company started on the basis of wanting to help those in poverty from being tricked into further debt from unfair fees and high interest rates. According to Schlossberg’s blog, over $100 billion is spent annually on items such as payday loans, overdraft fees, low balance fees and late bill fees—and the average working class American spends 10 percent to 20 percent of his or her salary on these items. Premised on the idea that you get “extra money when your pay is low, interest-free” and “intelligent savings when your pay is high,” this tool should immediately appeal to low-income workers or those who find it difficult to manage their money through peaks and valleys.
The industry that Even seeks to disrupt is worth $100 billion a year—no small amount of revenue displaced. While many charges such as overdraft fees that consumers pay could be unreasonable, we are willing to bet there are many customers whose spending patterns are routinely careless. Even is basically providing interest-free loans in exchange for $3 per week. For Even’s sake, we hope there is some accountability forced upon its customers to ensure quality spending behaviors, and a safety net catch for multiple offenders. For a customer without a guilty conscience, $3 per week may be worth the price to overspend, and for Even, this could be a business model killer.
OUR VERDICT: FRIEND
Even has set out to be a “different” kind of bank…but the catch is, it’s not really a bank, by traditional terms. Although customers’ savings are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., Even itself is not a bank; rather, it’s a partner to banks. While Even may not add significant financial reward to your institution, its contribution to a healthier consumer (and economy overall) should appeal to digitally savvy consumers that want to be part of a more financially stable population.