Financial services brands are helping customers let their money do the talking, by facilitating spending and investment with a positive impact.
While people want to support brands with a positive impact, they don’t always have time to scrutinize every individual purchase. Now, financial services brands are stepping in, with payment tracking, analysis and investment tools that help people better manage their sustainability impact. There’s a clear appetite for this, as evidenced by J. Walter Thompson’s data:
- 62% say they would be interested in a bank that monitored their purchases and gave advice on a sustainable lifestyle
- 56% would be interested in a credit card that could track their personal carbon footprint.
‘Match your dollars with your values,’ is the ethos behind Aspiration Impact Measurement (AIM), an in-app feature from online bank Aspiration. The app gives customers a Sustainability Score that relates to the impact they’re having on the planet and its people, based on their spending. The app taps into the consumer motivation to vote with their money and to reward businesses that share their values.
A pioneer in this space, Scandinavian bank Ålandsbanken offers the Åland Index, created in partnership with Mastercard and KPMG, which tracks the environmental impact of each credit card transaction. Monthly statements come with a comprehensive overview of the user’s carbon footprint, with statistical comparisons to the previous bill and suggestions on how to reduce future impact.
Along with their spending, people want to invest more wisely too. Cue a slew of apps that guide users to sustainable investments, such as Australia’s Goodments, which exhorts the user to “put your money where your heart is.”
Goodments encourages sustainable investing by matching investors to shares based on their values, thus incentivizing positive corporate behavior. China’s online payment giant Alipay is taking a gamification approach. The company has teamed up with Ant Financial Services Group to launch an environmental project named Ant Forest, which is accessed through the Alipay app. Users track their eco-friendly activities, such as paying bills online, to earn virtual “green energy” points and grow virtual trees. Once users earn enough points, Ant Financial plants a real tree. If current engagement rates continue, Ant Forest will plant 500 million trees in the next five years.
Services like these demonstrate the growing appetite for consumer-facing tools and services which make meaningful spending and investing less time-consuming.