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22seven goes live

Founder of 22seven Christo Davel says the new service works “with our humanness rather than against it” in helping users get a better grasp on their finances.

A new local online financial management service, 22seven, has gone live today. The service, created by former 20twenty CEO Christo Davel, uses behavioural science and 'gamification' to help users manage their finances.

22seven links to users' online banking accounts and distils the information into a single smart statement, while also providing instant categorisation of spending – all presented in interactive infographics, which are designed to provide users with a new perspective on their finances.

The user can also use the service to do financial planning and identify areas in which they can save. According to Davel, 22seven was founded on the idea that if people become more aware of why they make the financial decisions they do, they will be in a better position to make better choices. The service is aimed squarely at online banking users.

"There's a space to fill in the financial space, but it's not in transactional banking," says Davel. "It's now four years after the financial crisis, and the average man on the street still doesn't know what to do."

Fun finance

In creating 22seven, Davel consulted renowned behavioural economist Dan Ariely, of Duke University, as well as Katie Salen, of the Institute of Play, in New York. Their insights were then used to inform the functionality of 22seven.

"The first principle of 22seven is that it has to be as simple and easy as possible – it shouldn't feel like doing spreadsheet or budgets," says Davel.

Through international financial service aggregator Yodlee, 22seven automatically gathers users' transaction information from their bank, credit and store cards. Yodlee says its data encryption means it can't actually see the users' credentials and doesn't see actual data points, only files.

Using the transaction information from users' online accounts, 22seven builds an image of exactly where users are spending their money. "Most people actually have no clue where their money is going. The first time you see it you go into denial and start the rationalisation process whereby you try to justify your spending," says Davel. "But after time, you actually come to realise what your spending habits are."

After a four-month trial, 22seven is currently live in a beta and is free of charge. Its creators say, however, that once they have finished polishing the service, it will cost R70 per month.

Davel says 22seven will remain independent and will never become a sales channel. "By charging a subscription we are aligning our commercial intent with the happiness of our clients. We have to consistently add value to customers' lives or go out of business."

In the future, 22seven will be looking to add automatic SARS e-filing functionality from within the service.

[GALLERY] 


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