Engineering Financial Happiness: Tink’s Jens Rantil on Complexity-Free Money Management
Financial solvency, financial stability, financial security: the all-too-familiar drumbeat of personal money management. The paths to these seemingly simple goals sound straightforward enough in the abstract—spend responsibly, save as much as you can, invest wisely—but in reality, personal finances are multifaceted, often decentralized, and frequently frustrating. The complications and anxieties inherent in managing one’s money are troublesome on their own, and they can also lead people to make less-than-ideal financial decisions.
Tink, a financial technology provider based in Sweden, has a different end goal in mind: financial happiness. “We really wanted to take the complexity out of money management by presenting your finances and financial behavior in a more insightful way and in the end, bring financial happiness,” says Jens Rantil, software and infrastructure engineer at Tink. Tink has already racked up a half a million user base for its free consumer app in Sweden since the company’s inception in 2012, but it hasn’t stopped there. In 2017, Tink began offering its technology to banks that wanted to capture the opportunities of open banking and deliver data-driven insights to their customers. “It turns out that banks were super interested in our underlying technology, so we’ve partnered with a couple of big ones, such as ABN AMRO and BNP Paribas Fortis, and also Nordea here in Sweden, who are now licensing our technology to improve their own digital banking services.”
According to Tink, financial happiness means being able to free up time from administrating your money and using your money however you see fit, knowing that you get the best information and deals—whether that is investing, saving for short-term goals, or spending all of your assets at the beginning of the month. Tink enables banks to find, present and move their customer’s assets, regardless of who they actually bank with. Tink’s aggregation technology gathers customers’ financial data from all of the banks that they have an account with. “We’ve also built infrastructure to be able to automatically categorize transactions and to handle a stream of incoming transactions,” says Rantil.
In addition to consolidation and categorization, “We also want to bring customers personalized insights based on their financial data,” explains Rantil. “And we don’t just present what you have spent your money on, but are also predictive and prescriptive about your finances in our PFM product.” In other words, banks can use the financial data that Tink’s service collects and analyzes to offer insights to its customers that are tailored specifically for each individual’s’ unique financial situation. Tink’s payment initiation technology also allows customers to pay bills and transfer money, and for banks, that means being able to move the hidden assets once these have been identified. By simplifying these processes for both banks and their customers, Tink hopes to eliminate the complexity that clouds so many personal financial decisions, as individuals and banks alike struggle to make sense of disparate data points.
And the company’s got its sights set on an even broader market. “We recently released our API platform that enables developers at companies of any size and industry to access their customer’s financial data from over 300 banks via one single API, once they have given their consent,” says Rantil. “We did this because we know that there are developers out there who have really great ideas which have been blocked by the lack of access to financial data. We’re trying to unlock the access to that data to propel innovation.”
Tink is poised to scale across the European market as banks are starting to take advantage of new EU open banking regulations that came into effect in early 2018. As Rantil explains, “We’re super excited about building products and moving fast with high velocity.” If the popularity of their consumer app is any indication, Tink is on the right path.