An App to Help Manage Your FinancesBy Alicia Arizpe | Fri, 09/11/2020 - 13:15
Q: What added value does qiip offer its clients?
A: qiip is part of SURA Asset Management. We are here to help millions of people to better manage their finances. qiip is not here to provide a savings platform or to sell anything; we are here to help people improve their financial position.
Originally, our intention was to dismantle the barriers that stop millions of people in Latin America from saving money. But with the launch of qiip’s pilot platform, we realized that there was a step missing. People using the app needed to understand their relationship with money before they could properly begin to save toward their goals. In Mexico and Latin America, we noticed that people arrived to the end of the month without knowing what they had spent their money on and that sometimes people were not aware of all of their recurring bills. It was also clear that people had very little confidence in financial institutions and that, in some cases, they preferred to save money under the mattress, so to speak, rather than in banks.
Another factor that inhibits financial understanding in Latin America is that we do not speak openly about money. In other countries or regions, having a direct conversation about money is more accepted and discourse around money is more transparent. Here, money is generally only brought up when people need help. Often, family members are not aware of the financial position of spouses, parents or siblings. We decided to refocus qiip from a savings platform to one that helps fill this gap in financial education.
We attract users to the platforms through digital campaigns, connections with companies and through alliances with other financial institutions. When users reach out to qiip, they teach qiip about themselves and in doing so, they learn more about their financial position. We begin with questionnaires that cover issues like personal contentment, financial health and how much the user earns. This all helps us provide the best service to the client.
qiip has many tools to learn about the financial position of our users, from open banking, which allows us to view the transaction history of users in a secure manner to private financial coaching sessions that last 30 minutes. Coaches are prohibited from selling any sort of product. Each of these features allows the app to know the user better and to understand their position to guide them onto the next step: improving their financial well-being.
These features also allow qiip to offer better advice for each unique position. We are the only app that will tell a user not to save money if that user needs to pay off loans or credit cards. Paying these debts is clearly more important for their immediate well-being.
Q: How does qiip generate revenue?
A: qiip works by bringing together needs with services. On one side, we have users with a need. On the other, we have financial institutions that can offer responsible products to those users. We help make that match and when this happens, the financial institution pays qiip a commission.
Our value proposition is therefore the lifetime value of the users who choose to purchase some of the products our associated institutions offer. This enables us to provide the platform free-of-cost and help millions of users improve their financial education and well-being. Because of the way the platform has been established, this percentage of purchasing users needs to be very small to keep the platform free.
Q: How have you overcome entrenched distrust between large swathes of the population and financial institutions?
A: This is a priority for qiip. However, we do not necessarily want to target users who have no connection at all to a financial institution. We see that with the arrival of many neobanks, financial products are being disrupted. Users who were previously discriminated against by traditional financial institutions now have more access to products like loans. Products that were once insufficiently profitable to be distributed through traditional means are profitable through ultra-efficient digital avenues. Alternatives have arrived and qiip is able to help.
With enhanced accessibility, more people can take advantage of these products who might not have the understanding of finances to benefit fully. Here, coaching and education from qiip is extremely important. Credit contracts can be complex, so we can explain them in more understandable ways. In this sense, our grain of sand is not in the disruption of financial products but in the teaching and guiding of users to the best product for their particular position.
Q: What are the most popular services qiip offers?
A: qiip offers products from SURA, Kubo Financiero, Resuelve tu Deuda, amongst others, but we can also offer services from almost any other financial company that shares the commitment to financial wellbeing. At the moment, we are working to add additional products to the app. These include pension options, insurance and savings services.
The most popular services we offer are savings services. This is likely due to the fact that people download the app or approach the company with savings in mind. Of the 96,000-plus users we have, over 70,000 look into the savings section of the app. But we also want to grow our alternative products, including credit lines, insurance and pensions. Interestingly, the most searched for financial services in both Mexico and Colombia are credit lines rather than savings platforms. But when people come across savings options, they use them frequently. At the moment qiip does not offer its full service or product portfolio but we hope to do so soon.
Q: How do you believe the COVID-19 pandemic will change people’s relationship with their finances?
A: We have seen a huge surge in users flocking to qiip recently despite being in its phase of development where we are not searching for millions of users. The present situation means that people are looking for advice on how to manage their finances.
From an average of 3,000 new users per month at the start of 2020, we saw 15,000 new users join the platform in April. I believe with the increased use of mobile phones and the digitalization of many aspects of life, people will continue to use apps like qiip. The help that banks and traditional financial institutions have given to people during the pandemic has also helped bridge the trust gap and people can see that banks do care about their clients.
One looming question is how this relationship will evolve. The suspension period for credit repayments is coming to an end and I believe many people are going to struggle with repayments. Rates of repayment and restructuring of personal debt will be necessary in the short term. In the long term, the current crisis may prove a moment where many people learned more about how to manage their finances and many people who would have had little understanding of their personal finances will be far more involved and knowledgeable as a result.
Q: What are qiip’s growth aims?
A: We try not to focus on the number of users we gain every month but on having an impact on the users who do join. We want our users to find value in the app and to use the tools we offer. We have just over 96,000 users. Some use the app and leave, whereas others can transform their lives for the better by applying the knowledge the app offers. We always work toward having a higher percentage of users on whom we can have a greater impact. Eventually, we intend to have millions of users but we want to generate impact and offer value, first of all.
qiip is an app designed to help teach and guide users to improve personal financial management. It has two models, one for companies and one for individuals. It also provides financial coaching, loans and saving tools through a fully online platform