Financial Solutions Lab Announces $3 Million Competition to Tackle Consumer Financial Security

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Financial Solutions Lab at the Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI) with founding partner JPMorgan Chase & Co. today announced a $3 million competition for technology innovators working to address consumer financial challenges. This cross-sector initiative will identify technology-enabled financial solutions and provide winners with direct and indirect support to test and expand the availability of their products and services to consumers.

The challenge, opening today, will be the first in a series and invites innovators to submit financial product and service solutions that help households better manage their finances on a tight budget. Vulnerable consumers can get caught in a cycle of debt when relying on alternative services, like payday lenders or check cashing institutions, while trying to make ends meet in the days between when income comes in and bills are due. CFSI has identified the timing mismatch between household income and expenses as one of the greatest financial challenges facing low- to moderate-income families.

In fact, CFSI’s 2013 Financially Underserved Market Size Report found that Americans spent $36.5 billion in one year on credit and transaction products to address this challenge. Additionally, over one hundred million Americans struggle with balancing their household finances[i] and forty-three percent of Americans struggle to pay their bills. [ii]

“Millions of Americans are struggling to make ends meet often juggling uneven income and unpredictable expenses,” said Jennifer Tescher, CEO of CFSI. “Through the Financial Solutions Lab we want to identify and support innovators who are working to meet consumer needs with meaningful, scalable solutions. The Lab will help build the next generation of financial products and services to improve consumer financial health.”

From February 24 until April 7, 2015, the Financial Solutions Lab will accept applications from innovative entrepreneurs and nonprofit organizations competing to receive up to $250,000 in capital, along with national partnership opportunities, industry expertise, mentorship, and cutting-edge consumer and design insights necessary to power the next generation of leading financial services innovations. Solutions from approximately eight winning organizations will embrace consumer-friendly design, promote consumer success, build trust, and create opportunity in order to generate mutual benefit for providers and consumers.

Winners will be selected by an expert, cross-sector group including leaders from JPMorgan Chase, CFSI, and strategic partners in human-centered design, behavioral economics, community outreach and for-profit entrepreneurship. Winners will be announced at CFSI’s Emerge Conference on June 11th.

Source: Center for Financial Services Innovation (link opens in a new window)