Personal financial management service 22Seven has announced that, as of 1 September 2014, there will be no monthly subscription fee to use the service. At the beginning of last year Old Mutual acquired 22Seven and, shortly thereafter, reduced the monthly subscription fee from R60 a month to R25 a month.
22Seven allows users to link the service to their online banking and track their spending, investments and other financial information. The service, which is available online or via mobile applications for Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS operating systems, presents users’ financial information in graphs and other easy-to-read formats and hopes that if users are better able to see how much they spend – and on what – they can adjust their behaviour, and save money, accordingly.
CEO Christo Davel announced the move to remove the subscription fee entirely in an email to 22Seven users on Monday, and hinted that the service will be adding new features in the near future.
“We’re doing this because we have great plans. Right now, 22seven helps you look at your money differently. We believe it does that very well, and we know from our customers that it has already helped a lot of people in a lot of ways. But we also know that it can go much further and do much more,” Davel says.
22Seven faced resistance from most of South Africa’s banks in its early days, which were reluctant to allow the startup to scrape users’ transaction details. It also faces competition from rival offerings like Moneysmart, Nedbank’s MyFinancialLife and Sage Pastel’s My Money service.
“We’ve wanted to make our service as accessible as possible for a very long time,” Davel says. “We’re at a point where we can remove one of the obstacles (a subscription fee) because of what’s coming.”
Davel doesn’t explain what the new features are, but implies that uses won’t have to wait long to see them and that they’ll make it easier for customers to capitalise on the information 22Seven gives them. “Soon our customers will also be able to act tangibly on those insights through new features and capabilities that will actively help them save money.”
He says the company is working hard to ensure that the “new stuff is seriously good stuff”.
“Because what we really want, and have always wanted, is to find game-changing ways to help our customers with their money. If we succeed – and only if we succeed – then we’ll deserve to make money from it. With the plans we have for 22seven, I really believe that vision is starting to be fulfilled,” Davel says.
Davel suggests that even with the forthcoming additions to 22Seven, the service has a long way to go. “I’ve always said that 22seven is only 25% complete, because I knew that what we currently have is just one part of our very big vision. Going free is a step closer to it. The new capabilities that we’ll start introducing are bigger strides in the same direction.”