As a nice turnaround from the usual Silicon Valley invasion of Britain, this week sees a British tech success story spread its wings to take on the USA. Given that America’s Gen Z suffers the same lack of help and attention from its financial services industry as the young across the UK, Quirk’s US expansion is set to be as refreshing and life-improving as it has been on these shores.
Quirk provides a unique personality-based service, with its free Gen Z friendly app delivering essential financial education and specific money guidance. Both are personalised to each individual using learning from the app’s personality test – identifying preferred outlook and priorities – and analysis of the user’s detailed financial circumstances via Open Banking.
This solution was designed specifically around research findings which showed the vast majority of Gen Z – on both sides of the Atlantic – believe they are financially illiterate and that what guidance can be found is too vague and not necessarily suitable for their particular circumstances. Quirk tackles both of these challenges – the need for financial education and personally relevant financial guidance – head on.
Although still early days, Quirk’s take up in the UK and the positive feedback from its growing army of users suggests the team have built a winner.
For the US, Quirk has of course had to be modified, but not as much as might be expected, as personal finance and its challenges for young adults are pretty universal. The key differences are in terminology and product names and design, and all of this has been appropriately adjusted, ready for the new young American audience.
Quirk’s pioneering ways have also extended to how it goes about marketing to Gen Z and its success would be something the old guard of the financial services industry could learn from. Vacuous, patronising adverts showing black horses running across the countryside are not going to cut it with Gen Z.
To date all of Quirk’s promotion has been through home-made videos produced by the two founders and posted on TikTok and Instagram. It has been remarkably successful and extremely cost effective. Since its launch last year, Quirk has built up a following of more than 40,000 across the two social networks, for whom the founders have become ‘Finfluencers’, using just their own home-grown content.
So far more than 45,000 Gen Z’ers in the UK have taken Quirk’s financial personality test, with 86% saying it reflected them accurately.
Most importantly, this approach has already attracted more than 20,000 active users. And so far, 56% of Quirk’s customers are women, dwarfing the 20% typical at most fintechs in the UK and Europe.
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As with its operation in the UK, Quirk operates with support from leading B2B fintech enabler, Plaid.
Quirk’s core strength is understanding Gen Z and being able to demystify finances for them, by taking a uniquely personalised approach, built with support from expert psychologists.
Quirk’s personality test is based on well-accepted psychological principles, including the “big five” personality traits, enabling it to understand its users far more deeply.
Combined with Quirk’s understanding of the user’s financial situation via online connection to their banking, each customer enjoys educational support, budgeting and planning tools, and actionable financial guidance personalised more precisely than ever available before.
Quirk says that the result is that their customers don’t just come to it to bank, budget, save or invest – they come because it helps them “figure out what they should do with their money, for their specific life situation now and in the future” – something Quirk’s competitors haven’t solved for them.
Nikos Melachrinos, co-founder and CEO at Quirk said, “Gen Z has been badly neglected on both sides of the Atlantic because most of the finance industry is focused where they will make the most money, on older and wealthier people. But Gen Z will soon make up 40% of global consumer numbers, representing $140 billion in spending power.
“Given the majority of young adults in the UK and the USA say they do not feel financially literate, the potential for Quirk to help them radically improve their financial well-being, now and long into the future, is huge. The extent of our success in Britain already with the numbers signing up, actively using the app and sending us grateful feedback makes us confident we can bring the same magic to Gen Z in the USA.”
Nafeesa Jafferjee, co-founder and Chief of Product at Quirk, said, “There is no ‘one size fits all’ answer when it comes to learning about and managing your finances, and this is as true for Gen Z in the USA as in the UK. What should I do with my savings? What’s the difference between good debt and bad?
“A lot of young people we talked to felt there was a lot of information out there, but it lacked the context of their financial situation and guidance on what tangible actions they should take. Using all the capabilities that online technology can offer, we’ve built Quirk as a uniquely effective new solution, and the evidence from our UK launch so far is Gen Z loves it.”