Back in September, CivicScience looked into personal finance apps for mobile devices. These can range from budgeting guides (like Mint and Wally) to stock and bond investment apps (like Acorns and Stash).
Back then, the results showed a niche following, with about 10% of respondents having tried a personal finance app. Just more than half, though, hadn’t heard of these apps.
Over the past eight months, awareness has gone up substantially — from 49% in September to 57% in the current quarter. There’s also been a slight uptick in respondents’ plans to use the apps, from 5% to 6%.
But as general awareness has gone up, disinterest has risen with it. In Q2 2019, disinterest has risen and unawareness has fallen so much that those two lines on the chart above are now nearly converging.
What’s more, overall favorability has fallen among those who’ve tried the apps. Eight months ago, it was roughly a 60-40 split in favor of the apps. Now, it’s more like a 60-40 split against them.
In keeping with what CivicScience reported in September, women were a bit more likely to be dissatisfied with these apps than men. Fifty-six percent of those who tried these apps but didn’t like them were women. All other categories were almost evenly split.
The numbers were pretty even among all income levels as well. Those who earned more than $100,000 were slightly more likely to have tried these apps, but were also more likely to dislike them.
Investors, Mobile Banking Users More Likely To Use Finance Apps
In the CivicScience study, respondents who said they have a stock or bond portfolio made up the vast majority of those who’ve used these apps and liked them. On the other hand, those who don’t currently have a portfolio were more likely to be interested, but hadn’t yet made the leap. Since many of these apps are open about wanting to attract novice investors, that could be a good sign.
It seems that one’s willingness to use mobile banking options also correlates to finance app usage. Half of the folks who say they like Acorns, Mint, Stash and similar apps say they use mobile banking for most of their banking needs. That number rises to 80% when you include those who use mobile banking at least sometimes.
The Age Factor
One crucial factor left unspoken thus far? Age.
In the 90-day period from the end of February to nearly the end of May, a staggering 98% of the Baby Boomers that CivicScience polled said they either hadn’t heard of these apps or they weren’t interested. Among Generation X, that number drops to 81%. Millennials were the most likely to have used them, although they were less likely to be satisfied with them than Generation Z.
With the highest ratio of favorability toward finance apps, the smallest share of those who are flat-out uninterested, and a large percentage still unaware, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Gen Z become the primary driver for these apps going forward.
Scroll through the tabs in the chart below to discover some other insights that finance app companies should keep in mind: