HSBC is developing a major new app called "Nudge" that aims to help people save money by keeping track of their everyday spending.The high-profile development was actually born out of a simple exercise between HSBC's new digital chief and his wife.
"My wife used to leave Post-It notes on the fridge, nudging me not to eat the rest of the desserts in the fridge," said Raman Bhatia, head of digital UK at HSBC in an interview with Business Insider.
"The app took around 6-8 weeks to build and was trialled with 500 HSBC employees over a 3-month period at the start of the year.Bhatia says: "We found that a combination of positive reinforcement and messages of loss aversion, and comparing your spending activity to people like you on a real-time basis helped people trying to save.
"Bhatia added that the feedback from the pilot scheme of Nudge was "overwhelmingly" positive and says the more personalised the notifications are, the more the users saves money.
For example, personalised messages that had greater effect were like 'if you spend this much on coffee, you will not meet your saving goal,' rather than 'you are spending a lot of money on coffee,'" said Bhatia.It is with this in mind that Bhatia and his team are making tweaks to the app before a public roll-out to HSBC customers.Nudge is potentially a big deal for HSBC, which is currently a lot less prominent in the fintech — financial technology — sector than other banks, many of which are ploughing huge amounts of investment into more esoteric concepts such as blockchain, the technology that underpins bitcoin.While not as flashy, HSBC's tech developments are helping customers, says Bhatia.
For example, HSBC claims it has saved retail customers over £100 million by automatically signing customers up to text message alerts that tell them if they are over their agreed lending limits.Usually, if a customer breaches an agreed overdraft limit, they are charged a £5 penalty per day they remain over the limit.