Student loan tool wins mobile financial app competition

Student loan tool wins mobile financial app competition

A mobile app that helps users manage their student loans has won the US Treasury-backed MyMoneyAppUp Challenge, netting its creator $10,000.

The Treasury teamed up with the D2D Fund and Center for Financial Services Innovation to launch its competition in June, inviting entrepreneurs, software developers and students to submit ideas and designs for "next-generation mobile tools to help Americans control and shape their financial futures".

From a group of eight finalists, prize winners have now been picked by a panel of judges including Katie Burke Mitic, director of platform marketing at Facebook, Sendhil Mullainathan, professor of economics at Harvard, and Jonathan Weiner, business development, payments at Google.

The grand prize, and $10,000, has been given to Nicole Kendrot from New Jersey for Centz, which helps make student loans easy to manage, enabling users to link information about all of their loans in one place; create pay-off plans that sync with their budget; and reduce their payment period and total interest.

An app designed to help users save for a car and another to connect low-income households with resources in their communities, both won their developers $5000 as runners up. Honourable mentions, and $2500 each, went to the people behind apps which track and control impulse spending, and calculate the full cost of purchases made on credit cards.

Neal Wolin, deputy secretary, Treasury, says: "As we work to improve our nation's financial capability, we must look to how technology is changing personal finance. App designs like the ones we saw today have real potential to be game changers in our efforts toward greater financial understanding and access."

All the competitors now have the chance to take their ideas to the next step and develop fully functional apps by entering another competition sponsored exclusively by D2D and CFSI.

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