San Francisco-based fintech startup Douugh has teamed up with community bank Choice Financial to launch an app-based checking account and debit card that will lean heavily on AI to help users better manage their money.
Choice has also made an investment in Douugh, which has raised $2.5 million to date and is the brainchild of Andy Taylor, who previously founded Australia's largest P2P lending platform, SocietyOne.
At the heart of the Douugh app, already launched in beta, is a personal assistant called Sophie, which uses AI to "empower users to make the best financial decisions based on their unique situations".
Sophie collates and organises financial data to inform users about their spending habits, coach them to better understand their position and get to where they want to be, and offer insights for long term wellbeing.
Sophie also acts as a personal assistant, performing transactional chores such as paying and splitting bills, requesting money, automatically saving, and tracking and management of spending and savings goals.
As the unbundling of banking services picks up pace, Taylor argues that Douugh can become a ubiquitous financial control center for customers. For this, the startup wants to work with partners, integrating some tools directly into the app and opening up to others through an API.
On the Choice tie-up, he says: "We both agree that big banks are failing to take on the responsibility of educating people about money management, a problem we are looking to solve head on, with an emphasis on helping customers to get out of their compounding debt cycle caused by credit cards.
"Our mission is to give customers the tools to break that cycle and to put them back in control of their own finances."