Online Lender Payoff’s App Helps Women Tackle Finances


Make room gentlemen, time to share bigger slices of the financial services sector. No matter what you have read, women still remain undeserved in the market for financial services. BUT, now there’s an app for that. Using AI (artificial intelligence) and psychological testing focusing on “the intersection of money and psychology” the app will make it more gender specific and target the different needs of women and men in the financial world. Great idea.
(Bill Taylor/CEO)

“SCOTT SAUNDERS, CEO of the online lending company Payoff, did not set out to build a personalized financial coaching app for women. In 2014, he began assembling a team that eventually included a cognitive neuroscientist, a marketer, an advertising executive and the data scientist behind eHarmony’s match algorithm. The goal: to build an app that used psychological testing to match users of both genders with artificially intelligent financial coaches. By focusing on the intersection of money and psychology, Saunders hoped to minimize financial stress and maximize the pleasure users get from spending and saving.

The app, named Joy, launched earlier this month. Joy is free, although users are occasionally prompted to consider loans from parent company Payoff. The app’s AI-enhanced coaches ultimately took the form of animated, advice-dispensing robots. According to Joy’s creators, focus-group participants preferred robots to human-looking coaches because the robots seemed less judgmental.

Early testing yielded another important discovery: Women liked Joy more than men, so much so that Joy’s all-male team pivoted and redesigned their product. They brought in Alison Brod, a PR firm that specializes in beauty and fashion, to help create Joy’s look and feel, including its bright color scheme and balloon logo. Men are more than welcome to use Joy, Saunders says, but the app is unmistakably marketed to women, who remain an underserved market in financial services…”

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