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SmartyPig unveils GoalSaver, a social savings platform for banks

SmartyPig, an online social savings platform, today announced a pair of big changes. The Des Moines-based company will go by a new name, Social Money Systems. It also will offer a new product, GoalSaver, which is a customizable, social savings, transaction-focused platform for banks that utilizes a bank’s brand and regulatory and compliance systems to create what the company calls a “complete solution.”

SmartyPig.com (the name for Social Money System’s consumer-facing product) and GoalSaver, its white-label version, are banking products that allow users to save money online, set goals, share their progress on social networks and then receive incentives such as merchant e-cards or debit cards.

In a phone interview Tuesday, Scott McCormack, the recently appointed president of the Des Moines-based startup, said SmartyPig has established itself as an expert in social media in the banking industry, and that the promise of integrating its technology and user experience inside of a financial institution has potential clients “lining up.” As of Tuesday, Social Money Systems was in talks with 12 banks, three of them overseas and some of them larger financial institutions, “names that you would recognize,” McCormack said.

“Social media is no longer a luxury, it’s a necessity,” McCormack said in a press release. “We help banks of any size, anywhere check the social box while taking dead aim at the next generation of customers with whom they have little or no relationship.”

In addition to adding social media features, GoalSaver will also add revenue streams. After paying an initial setup fee, which McCormack said won’t be “monumental,” and additional fees for certain types of users, financial institutions will have the SmartyPig.com technology in their hands. GoalSaver features, such as goals and social media sharing, will allow the finacial institutions to collect more data about its customers.

GoalSaver gives banks the SmartyPig.com technology in a white-label product.

“Knowing that (a user) is saving because he’s going to put a home addition on his house in May and he’s going to cash out his goal of $10,000 in May is something a bank probably wants to know and might even innovate off of that,” McCormack said. He said a bank could put a credit product in front of its customer even before he reaches his goal, enticing him, for example, with a credit card.

Though Social Money Systems and GoalSaver are unveiled today, the product won’t begin to be implemented until May. Outside of banks, GoalSaver will be available for other industries, such as insurance, prepaid and payment processing and merchants who need a layaway or wish list solution.

SmartyPig, founded in 2007 by Mike Ferrari and Jon Gaskell, has received an unknown amount of investment but lists its lead investor and one of its strategic partners as McCombs Enterprises of Texas. Other strategic partners include BBVA Compass, the company’s banking relationship in the U.S., and Data Vision Resources of Iowa.

‘Massive scale’

Concerning its relationship with BBVA, Ferrari (left) said SmartyPig previously had territorial licensing agreements with the bank, meaning that in the U.S. it could only work with BBVA. With the bank’s blessing, however, GoalSaver will be made available to any bank and SmartyPig.com will stay live and continue to be offered directly to the consumer.

“The scale of (GoalSaver) could be really exciting for us,” Ferrari said. “When you think about putting out a brand, obviously to consumers, like SmartyPig.com. But now we’re going to be going into banks that already have hundreds of thousands of customers existing so there’s the potential for this to be a pretty robust enterprise product.”

For Social Money Systems, GoalSaver becomes its third product. SmartyPig.com, which launched in 2007, is the first. PhilanthroPig, a social fundraising tool announced in 2010, is the second. PhilanthroPig currently has more than 45 charitable organizations signed up and is currently being implemented at the University of Texas.

McCormack said there are neither competitors to GoalSaver nor financial institutions offering a similar product by themselves. Though two other Silicon Prairie startups don’t share a strong focus on social network sharing like SmartyPig, Lodo Software of Omaha and T8 Webware of Cedar Falls are creating web-based personal financial management tools for banks, as well.


Image credits: Screenshots from socialmoneysystems.com. Photo of Scott McCormack from linkedin.com. Photo of Mike Ferrari courtesy of SmartyPig.

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