It's a jungle out there for the consumer. In every industry, whether you're hailing a car and have to decide between Uber, Lyft, Hailo, etc. or have to choose between an online brokerage, how do you know what is the best option for you? To complicate matters even further, while the established platforms claw for your attention to switch over (i.e. promotions on Lyft) there is an unrelenting pressure from the new kids on the block to check out their "colorful feathers" and new technological breakthroughs (i.e. Juno offering free rides in Manhattan).
The Financial Technology space is no different. There are legacy platforms like ETrade for brokerage, Venmo for peer to peer payments and Coinbase for Bitcoin exchanges. For every one of these legacy platforms there are a host of competing platforms and even more newcomers to the game, desperately vying for market share and ultimately your attention. See a snippet of this ecosystem below.
With new platforms popping up every day, I want to share a few new names that have surfaced recently. While it would be nearly impossible to try out all platforms given my time constraints (and monetary constraints), I can try to boil them down to their basic DNA.
Chime - Millenial oriented mobile banking. Deposit banking.
Ellevest - Women's oriented investing. It's a skin for a robo-advisor platform, investing in ETFs.
Chain - New platform for Blockchain based transactions. Platform for developers for smart contracts.
Finova Financial - Car Equity Loans. Appraises car values and lends against it.
Trim - Discover subscriptions you're paying for and then (trim them). Uses tag system to notice your spending habits.
Motif - Theme based investing. Customized basket of stocks.
Openfolio - Compare personal portfolios.
Albert- Financial aggregator (Mint competitor), budgeting tool and financial recommendations.
Circle - Send cash via text
Trigger - "If this, then that" trading statements. Helps retail investors time the market and play short term triggers.
Stash - Automatic deposit investing from checking. Invests in fractional ETF shares.
It's a vast jungle out there of options. It's often times very difficult to choose a new platform and a lot of it is complicated and in disguise to shroud the underlying assets in which you are truly investing. In short, do your research and stay diversified!