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Consumer Appetite for Comprehensive, Mobile PFM Grows

PFM products need to evolve from a 1980s mentality, says a new report from Javelin Strategy & Research.

Nearly half of U.S. consumers want to view all of their financial account balances in one place, according to a new report from Javelin Strategy & Research

The report, "21St Century PFM for a Mass Audience," also found that in order to move forward, PFM products need to evolve from niche products for do-it-yourself budgeting and investing to virtually ubiquitous, specialized online and mobile tools that will help Americans make smarter everyday financial decisions on the go.

“The industry cannot capitalize on the power of personal finance management until it breaks free of 1980s thinking about who uses PFM and why,” said Mark Schwanhausser, Director of Multichannel Financial Services at Javelin, in the report. “Americans of all varieties have a healthy appetite for PFM tools that will stretch their dollars further -- not just in banking but also when they are shopping and rely on mobile devices.”

Javelin estimates only 21 percent of U.S. consumers -- or more than 49 million adults -- mix and match current PFM features from software like Quicken, online banking, and various websites. However, many of those polled indicated that they wold like a way to view all their account balances in one place, with nearly half prioritizing this feature over all the other PFM services.

"This is a foundational PFM building block that not only can strongly influence where customers turn first to oversee their finances, but it also can give FIs and other PFM players an intimate portrait of their customers’ ability to buy, borrow, repay, save, and invest," said Javelin.

According to the report, many consumers are still apprehensive about adopting PFM services due to privacy and security reasons. Javelin said financial institutions can counter this by providing valuable PFM services, building trust, and safeguarding personal information.

[Related: The Future of PFM]

Bryan Yurcan is associate editor for Bank Systems and Technology. He has worked in various editorial capacities for newspapers and magazines for the past 8 years. After beginning his career as a municipal and courts reporter for daily newspapers in upstate New York, Bryan has ... View Full Bio

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