Even before inflation took hold of spending behaviors, consumers — especially Gen Z and Millennials — were expressing the need for a new personal finance structure. The sentiment led to a quick adaptation of the buy now, pay later structure, now largely available from seemingly every retailer both online and in-store.
Still, while flexible payments allow consumers to shop within budget, according to a recent consumer report from The Lending Club and Pymnts, 63 percent of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck — including nearly half of the six-figure earners. For many consumers, more is needed, especially as concerns about inflation grow.
One company offering consumers reprieve is Chime, the financial technology company that aims to help consumers find peace of mind when it comes to personal finance by changing how people think and feel about banking. Unlike buy now, pay later companies, Chime addresses everyday finance and in addition to being “customer-obsessed” Kendra Boccelli, director of corporate communications at Chime, said the company is uniquely dedicated to offering consumers products that are truly aligned with their best interest. We’re successful when our customers are happy.”
Being customer-obsessed, she said “is not just something we say, but something we act on. We are hyper-focused on addressing the most critical financial needs and challenges our members face daily. Everyday banking should be fast, easy and free.” An example of this is addressing needs expressed by consumers directed at all industries including transparency and socialization which fosters a sense of community through a suite of simple tools. The Chime community, Bocelli explained, focuses specifically on supporting the financial journey.
“Our community of Chime members want to bank differently and feel good about their finances,” Boccelli said. “They want a banking partner who listens to what they need, day in and day out. Doing better, and building better products requires actually picking up the phone to really listen to your members. It’s in those conversations that we really understand our member’s interactions with money in their everyday lives.”
Through these conversations, Chime learned that covering unexpected expenses and building credit were top financial priorities. To address this, the company launched SpotMe, a no-fee overdraft up to $200 and Credit Builder.
In the company’s end-of-year assessment, conducted to better understand the new needs of the consumer, the company revealed several trends. First, despite inflation, Boccelli told WWD, Chime members are still spending and convenience is winning out. “It’s what they’re spending on that is most interesting,” she said. “Wallets continue to open for groceries, travel-related expenses and experiences.” Notably, the company’s research found that the pandemic food delivery trend, including the use of services like Uber Eats, DoorDash and GrubHub, among others, has not reverted and is still at 2.6 times pre-pandemic share of spending.
“At the same time while spending on everyday expenses and experiences remains resilient, we’re seeing our members essentially store up for the winter and make smart credit and savings choices,” Boccelli said. “We’ve seen a 30 percent increase in savings [year-over-year] and a 40 percent increase in members using our credit builder card. As members continue to use their credit builder card for everyday purchases, it will help establish or improve their credit score and set them up for success down the road.”
Additionally, the company’s research found that its members are shifting away from more volatile forms of investment toward more stable options, seeing a 50 percent year-over-year drop in the number of members using crypto and stock-picking apps. In contrast, there’s been a nearly 10 percent year-over-year increase in the number of members using robo-investors and traditional institutions.
As part of its ongoing efforts to help everyday Americans live better financial lives by shifting the money mindset, Chime has created a candle conceived in collaboration with Apotheke, the luxury home fragrance brand. During January, consumers will have the opportunity to receive the “Manifest Money” candle along with a guide designed by manifesting ninja Maria Concha to help focus goals and shift their mindsets.
Acknowledging that the collaboration is an “unexpected way to reach members as a part of a new year intention-setting moment,” the team at Chime says it mirrors the Chime brand and hopes that the candle will act as a “vessel for the confidence necessary to manifest one’s wealth.”