Thank you for joining me today. Let’s get started.
Mint is big, it’s the most popular Personal Finance software out there. I like to think that Mint knows more about money than anybody else. And we’ve got the transaction volume to prove it. This gives us an amazing testbed for our experiments.
It’s very simple, put another way: What we plan to do is not what we ultimately do. It seems obvious, but if you remember this one thing and you design for it in your products it can be a very powerful tool. So how does this apply to money?
"Our emotional brain wants to max out the credit card, order dessert and smoke a cigarette. Our logical brain knows we should save for retirement, go for a jog and quit smoking” (McClure et al). … isn’t that the American way?
The Jumpstart Coalition is a non-profit that aims to measure and improve financial literacy. Most of the users they survey each year fall into the High School and College age range and education level.
I got the responses and loaded them into one my new favorite tools, stat-wing which does a lot of the p-values and all the exciting stuff I failed at in college statistics. There was no statistical difference between the response groups. What we know is not what we ultimately do and the data proves it. Maybe they know better. Maybe they forgot to pay that bill. Maybe they’re busy.
So, again you have Homer Simpson. Acting on his impulses whether he knows better or not, it doesn’t matter. … note it’s probably worth it to pause here. I would love it if everyone had a basic grasp on personal finance, and I think it comes in handy when buying a car or a house, or even doing the mental accounting we all do when we want to make a large purchase, so by no means and I am encouraging us all to give up. I just want you to know what our users and yours are up against.
We support 20,000 banks. We’re asking for passwords. They get stuck. And they bail.
I tried dozens of different emails. Our regular everyday lifecycle emails helped get users to come back, but one extra email with a personal touch made a huge difference.
This seems obvious maybe, but I came up with this idea when I was listening to the radio. Well, a podcast.
Some people like kittens … some prefer puppies.
Example of penalty kicks on a pro soccer team in Germany.
We even tried to scare you with Rainy Days and seduce you with Sunshine. Again, Prevention — when we talked about Emergencies and not planning for the future, that was the big winner.
Every business has an objective, and ours is active use. We want users to long frequently.
Fees are the enemy - not your behavior.
It’s totally OK, and probably the best approach to roll up your sleeves and just start. Need ideas? Pick a card. www.getmentalnotes.com
This was the simplest test I could devise. I could grab a few thousand email addresses from our reporting system and run the entire thing by myself. I’d know within a couple days if I was onto a winner or not.
Expect Failure. Using all the brains from Harvard, U of Chicago, and several other top universities, a health company ran 30 experiments to increase adoption of behaviors to save the company $. Only one of the 30 experiments had a net positive outcome. (That said, the single success saved almost $50MM, so that it more than paid for the entirety)
Building Better Products with Behavioral Economics at #ProductSF
Building Better Products
with Behavioral Economics
Mint by the Numbers
15 Million Registered users
5 Billion transactions tracked & categorized last year
Mint sees over 2% of the value of GDP annually (US)
“People typically intend to forfeit small, immediate
gains for larger rewards in the future, but they often
fail to make the optimal choice at decision time.”
- Kirby and Herrnstein 1995
“"Our emotional brain wants to max out the credit
card, order dessert and smoke a cigarette. Our logical
brain knows we should save for retirement, go for a
jog and quit smoking”
- McClure et al
Testing exiting high school & college students each year
Goal is to measure and improve financial literacy
50% of college and 68% of HS failed a basic financial survey
There was no difference in the responses between users who had
exhibited either good or bad financial behavior.
Users can get stuck in the Mint registration
process when it comes to adding their 1st bank
We can use one weird trick to help users
complete their sign-up and become an active
from 1 extra email
✓ Love of Free
✓ Hot vs. Cold States
“Users can be persuaded to update their bank
credentials depending on their promotion or
This intrigued everyone…except the experts.
Promotion-focused people see their goals as creating a path to
gain or advancement and concentrate on the rewards.
Prevention-focused people, in contrast, see their goals as
responsibilities, and they concentrate on staying safe.
Account Alert: Don’t miss a transaction,
update your Mint account today.
Get your full financial picture from Mint – fix
your broken account today.
Prevention beats Promotion nearly 3-to-1