Moven gears up for launch

Moven gears up for launch

Having ditched the 'bank' from its name, US mobile-centric financial services provider Moven is gearing up for a closed beta launch at the end of February.

Pitching itself as a cardless and branchless alternative to traditional lenders, Moven is not actually a bank, instead working with partners that have charters and FDIC insurance while it provides the front-end. (One wag on Twitter derided the approach as "putting lipstick on a pig").

It opened up an 'alpha site' to trialists in late 2011 and, having secured in the region of 10,000 sign-ups, $2.4 million in seed funding, and various technology partnerships, is now gearing up for its beta release.

Customers will receive a contactless MasterCard sticker which they can attach to their phone and link to the Moven app for real-world payments. Users will also be able to pay friends through Facebook, deposit cheques from their handset, and withdraw cash for free from thousands of ATMs across the Star network.

Moven stresses that it is about more than facilitating transactions, promising to harness technology to help customers manage their money better and improve their financial health.

It has developed a proprietary CRED relationship and credibility score, which assesses financial data, social influence, and shopping patterns. Customers also get a spending assistant, with instant updates on purchases.

The firm is following a similar path to Simple, which also dropped the bank from its name before launching last year - although Josh Reich's project had considerably more investment and a massive 125,000 people on its waiting list.

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