By John Beshears, Debra Schifrin
2011 | Case No. F275
The case examines HelloWallet, the online, independent financial guidance service, in the context of behavioral finance concepts. It also looks at the specific challenges faced by online personal financial management (PFM) systems. In addition, the case has a detailed overview of American household Finance, including data regarding Americans’ ability to save money, readiness for retirement and level of financial literacy. HelloWallet offers a range of services including personal financial management (PFM), financial planning, a system to aggregate users’ financial accounts, and an application to help users find financial products that are better deals than their current ones. While not the first to market with this type of service, HelloWallet differentiated itself in three major ways. First, it was independent, meaning it did not receive monetary incentives from financial institutions to push their products, nor did it receive payments (i.e. commissions) when individuals made buying decisions. Second, it looked at over 130,000 financial products to help users find the best products for them, compared to its competitors, which searched through a much smaller number of products. Third, because it was independent, it used a subscription model in which individuals paid a monthly fee. The case is set in March 2010, just after the beta launch of HelloWallet’s Website, and it examines two key questions HelloWallet is grappling with: 1) How to price its product for its two different channels – the direct-to-consumer channel and the enterprise channel; and 2) How to proportionately allocate its resources for the two channels.
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