Bsavi: Google Now of personal finance - TechCentral

Bsavi: Google Now of personal finance

Tobie van Zyl

Tobie van Zyl

Bsavi, a Cape Town start-up with roots in the financial technology industry, has launched a tool it hopes will become the Google Now of personal finance.

The app will not only help people save money, but it will also help them spend it more efficiently.

Bsavi — pronounced “be savvy” — is currently in invitation-only beta and plans to launch its services broadly next year.

“We live in the age of social networks, Google Now and artificial intelligence, all of which have already started to shift how we connect, communicate and transact in the information age,” says founder and CEO Tobie van Zyl. “Banking tomorrow won’t be a place you go to but something that you do.”

In 2010, Van Zyl co-founded Moneysmart, a personal financial management platform that helps people control their finances through a simple budget-and-expense tracking system.

What differentiated Moneysmart from competitors that were also launched at the time, including 22seven and Nedbank’s MyFinancialLife, was that the platform was integrated with a credit bureau, XDS, a feature that is now also part of Bsavi.

“Adding credit ratings from a bureau to Moneysmart gave people perspective on where they were in trouble the most with regard to their finances. That made them aware of how to better spend their money.”

But Bsavi is not a traditional money management tool. Van Zyl says it’s a spend management tool that shows its users exactly how much they can spend on a daily basis after all their planned and fixed expenses have been accounted for.

“Bsavi was always about building a platform to connect consumers directly to banks and credit providers and the e-commerce ecosystem in a secure and seamless way,” he says.

After most people’s monthly deductions, it’s their spending money that needs to last beyond the 15th of the month. Van Zyl says it’s from the middle of the month that people rely on “mental accounting skills to count the days until their next pay cheque arrives”.

He realised people want a spend management product, not a budgeting tool. Bsavi solves this problem with its “daily available cash” feature, which is acting as a catalyst for forthcoming features on the app, such as credit monitoring, mobile payments, crowd savings and more. It essentially shows users how much money they can spend each day until their next pay cheque arrives. Bsavi allows them to manage their daily spend by allowing them to add and subtract daily limits.

Bsavi already has 13 000 pre-launch local and international customers signed up on its private beta programme and is adding 100 people every two weeks. This, says Van Zyl, allows the the start-up to optimise the algorithms used by the application.

Van Zyl ultimately hopes to “reinvent the financial ecosystem” with its financial data transaction exchange for banks, credit providers and retail and commerce companies. This platform will securely connect to users’ financial graphs on their own terms.

Bsavi calls its financial graph application programming interface the Shift_Ctrl Engine. The idea is to allow the online world to organise itself better around consumers’ financial demographics and preferences, to deliver on-demand services. Bsavi customers will, for example, get instant and accurate credit loans based on their own unique financial graphs, without their data ever being exposed to third parties.

“With the world becoming more open and connected, we’re leveraging the power of artificial and proprietary financial algorithmic intelligence to make this possible. Imagine waking up knowing exactly what method of transport you can use, where to buy your groceries and automatically having your weekend planned from a daily affordability perspective.”

By utilising the Shift_Ctrl Engine, Bsavi acts as an origination service for third-party companies such as banks and credit providers as well as offering a platform for third-party companies to develop apps for their user base.  — © 2014 NewsCentral Media


  1. Ok, the first fail with this is login is via facebook. There is no way in hell I’m letting facebook credentials near my financials. Even if it’s just the OAUTH facility.

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