Chip’s new chatbot app points the way to ‘plugin banking’

Apr 13, 2017 · techcrunch.com

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When London fintech startup Chip launched late last year, the company’s vision was something a lot more ambitious than a simple ‘micro savings’ app delivered through a millennial-friendly chatbot. Instead, the plan was always to become a fully-fledged banking app that ‘plugs’ into your existing bank accounts and adds a raft of new functionality to help you make the most of your money. A significant update to Chip rolled out today begins to see that ambition become a reality.

In addition to helping you save small pots of money based on what Chip’s AI together with access to your historical transaction data deems you can afford, the chatbot app has added spending insights and a clever new feature to help you pay off your overdraft. I’m also told the company plans to launch "Smart Credit" later this year to replace your bank’s overdraft facility altogether.

"Chip is the ‘plugin banking’ app that sits on top of your current account and does the things that actually help you with your money," the startup’s CMO Alex Latham tells me. "We are tackling three of the biggest problems young people face: the inability to save money, the difficulty of tracking spending… [and] the problem of getting stuck in a cycle of debt and paying a premium for it".

Specifically, Chip’s new pay off your overdraft feature is based on the premise that many people don’t consider an overdraft as debt, in part because it is marketed by banks as "available funds" and, since it doesn’t sit separate from your main bank balance, is almost indistinguishable from your own cash.

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