Web site lets consumers compare financial products

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A new Web site, hopes to empower South Africans to make informed financial purchasing decisions with its concept of comparing financial products based on what social media users like and recommend.

According to the company, it is a social comparison engine that allows consumers to compare financial products, insurance products, loans, credit cards, cellphones, broadband, investments and more.

The site allows users to "like", compare and rate financial products by logging in through their Facebook, Twitter or e-mail account. By "liking" products that they use and enjoy, it helps generate unbiased rated products for others to choose from. Users also rate their not-so-favoured financial products. The ratings of companies and their products are based purely on public opinion, which provides unbiased, rated recommendations, says Likemoney.

LikeMoney is the brainchild of Erez Atia, who believes in the power of social influence through a network or community of friends. He says it is far easier to trust a friend's experiences with a company and their subsequent recommendation than that of a stranger.

"For an increasingly savvy consumer segment that researches everything online before making purchase decisions, access to trusted information is key. However, the knowledge that an increasing number of companies use unethical methods to make their brands appear stronger online - such as posting fake reviews and testimonials - has made the consumer cynical and suspicious.

Around the world, adds Atia, consumers believe they are benefiting from price comparison Web sites for car insurance, life insurance, credit cards and a range of other services. But with more and more people shopping online, price is becoming less and less of a determining factor and peer recommendations are ever-more the differentiator.

"LikeMoney is honest and fair in helping their customers and clients. The Web site provides unbiased, objective and independent information so users of the platform can evaluate the benefits of financial and consumer products. As a result, consumers can exercise confidence when purchasing financial products based on reviews from real people on social media regardless of the price tag of a product," he points out.

When asked about his motivation for creating the platform, Atia says: "In today's technological era, it is so easy for companies to be scrutinised for bad service delivery over the Web. I envisioned a platform to help both the consumer and the company. LikeMoney provides financial products that have been rated by customers; people with first-hand experience. In this way, companies will be rewarded for good service delivery and become trusted by consumers with likes - and the converse, of course, applies.

Explaining the procedure, Atia says the user signs onto the Web site with their Facebook, Twitter, or e-mail account. They then search for a specific financial product i.e. car insurance.

"Users can see what car insurance or credit cards their friends and other South Africans liked. They can then like, rate and review products themselves. If they are interested, they can apply for a specific product. The user will then be contacted telephonically regarding the product they wish to buy. They can also find financial institutions that are liked and recommended by a reliable third party source," he concludes.

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