J.P. Morgan Chase is acutely aware that many Millennials are now doing the majority of their banking online and from their phones. That’s why the company is launching a new mobile bank and app called Finn, which is aimed at the Millennial demographic. In addition to customers being able to open accounts right from the app, Finn also offers a number of features intended to help users manage their money.
Beyond the name there are several aspects of Finn that separate it from its parent company. First, while debit cardholders will have access to Chase ATMs, Finn accounts are limited to the funds they have available, meaning no overdrafts. Currently the app is only available to iOS users in the St. Louis metro but is set to roll out to more cities (and to Android OS) next year. Notably this test market was likely chosen for its lack of a Chase branch, although Finn says it will offer fee-free ATM access beyond Chase-branded ones, bringing the total from 16,000 to 29,000 nationwide. These select fee-free ATMs can be located from within the app.
On top of the traditional banking features you’d expect — such as check deposit and money transfers — Finn also boasts some unique features inspired by some of the popular personal finance apps on the market. For example users are encouraged to set up personalized auto-savings plans to reach their goals. Another feature that might expose what Chase really thinks Millennials are into is the ability to rate transactions using emojis and label them as “wants” or “needs.” The design of Finn is also radically different from other bank apps, opting for bright colors and a minimalist navigation.
In a statement announcing Finn to the world, Chase’s CEO of Digital, Bill Wallace, said “When it comes to money, Millennials told us they don’t want to feel like they’re being judged. So, we designed Finn to put them in charge, no matter where or how they’re spending.” Similarly Thasunda Duckett, the bank’s CEO of Consumer Banking, added, “We continue to invest in technology that makes banking easier for our customers, and gives them the confidence they need for their financial future. Finn is yet another way we’re innovating for Millennials by designing a product that lets them spend and save on their terms.” To that point, this isn’t the first time Chase has embraced FinTech ideas to reach Millennials, having previously launched their own mobile payment solution (Chase Pay) and even launching an in-house incubator for startups. With that in mind, this does seem like the next logical step for the bank.
Given the rise of FinTech companies and the popularity of personal finance apps, it’s easy to understand why Chase would be interested in creating a product like Finn. However it will be interesting to see how consumers embrace (or reject) the app. For one there’s some concern that a big bank trying to appeal to Millennials by adding emojis and bright colors might come off as patronizing —especially among those who already harbor resentment towards large institutions like Chase. Additionally, while Finn may be a step forward for big banks, it’s unclear if Finn really offers anything more than smaller mobile-only banks and various apps do. With that said hopefully we’ll learn more about Finn soon enough as it makes its way from St. Louis to the rest of the country.