Personal Finance Management is in the focus of most banks nowadays. However, if it comes to PFM most banks (and vendors) are at the very early phase of their learning curve, at least, in the continental Europe. Bankfutura E-Finance Research has recently
published a new market research and study on the financial behavior of German customers. The report helps PFM service providers create such an online financial management service which meets the real user processes and requirements.
The analysis was based on primary data collected from an online survey in April, 2012. The sample was representative for Germany in terms of gender and age therefore the results provide a reliable insight into the money management habits of German people.
I point out one very interesting outcome of the survey in this article: the respondents’ attitude towards social media.
Usually, bankers might think that all financial information is too private and customers are not willing to disclose them. However, the research findings show that there are certain things like savings goals which people might share with their friends in
the social network such as Facebook, Twitter and so on.
The market research revealed that around 29% of the survey participants are willing to share their savings goal on Facebook! The younger the survey participant is, the more likely he/she is willing to share his/her savings goal on Facebook. 45% of the survey
participants belonging to the age group between 18 and 29 years said that they are open to share some of their savings goals. Older generations are less open in this terms, for instance the ratio is only 33% in the age group between 40 and 49.
The survey results show that youngsters have an impact on their parents: families with three or more persons in their household (couple with their children in most cases) are definitely more willing to share their savings goals on the social media than households
with 1 or 2 persons.
The income also has an effect on the sharing willingness of the survey participants: about 32% of people with income between 2000 and 4000 euro (net income per person per month) are open for sharing their savings goals. Interestingly, the participants who
earn 750 euro per month or less also showed a high willingness to share – most probably students (survey participants in the age group between 18 and 29 years, with a low income) are responsible for this good result.
The survey also revealed that the popular savings goals which people would like to share mostly are savings for a new house and a new car. However, while a new car purchase is one of the most common savings goal among people, saving for a house is not as
widespread as saving for a car purchase. Moreover, saving for studies is also a very popular savings goal – at least among the younger respondents.
As the research showed that almost every young customer has at least one savings goal – so creating savings goal functionality in PFM is very important for this generation! And if so, it would be a big mistake to forget about their hunger for social media
in this functionality. This age group is ready to generate hundreds of thousands of free “reaches” for their banks on Facebook just by sharing their savings goal with their friends - and do not forget about the friends' comments and likes (see the table below
about the frequency of commenting on Facebook posts by age. The table comes from
Some banks have already recognized this opportunity and have launched this feature (e.g.:
Alior Sync in Poland).
There are also other banks, like Plaza Park Bank who encourages their customers to share their savings goal on the
Bank’s Facebook site.
And of course
SmartyPig -the master of online savings - should be mentioned. This is a very simple online banking service built around one type of financial product: the term deposits – completely from the customers’ perspective. People save for particular financial
goals with the help of SmartyPig and SmartyPig specifically allow them to share their savings goals on social networks.
The technology and the social media change not only the way how people save for their desired goals but also provide new ways for financial services providers how to sell their saving products. Why do most banks still want to sell term deposits instead of
supporting people to save for their object of desire?