Financial Services World Tour: 5 Awesome Initiatives to Follow

5 Awesome Financial Services Initiatives to Follow

Once upon a time, hands-on guidance for financial services was a privilege reserved for the wealthy, but now initiatives are being developed that make financial wellness not only accessible, but convenient for all. We’ve rounded up the most innovative and inspiring projects taking place around the world to help consumers transform their financial wellbeing.

The Finance Bar

Founded by personal finance expert Marsha Barnes, The Finance Bar is a mobile financial education hub offering unique insight to an international audience that includes corporations, educational institutions and organizations. With more than 13 years of experience in the financial services industry, Marsha meets people wherever they need her counsel most, whether it’s locally in her decked-out bus, or across the world through her online platform and mobile app. Recognized as a female tech leader, she is the creator of The Finance Bar Members Club, an online community of women committed to transforming their financial habits with clear strategy and accountability systems.

Road to Financial Wellness by Phroogal 

Winner of the 2015 Plutus Award, the Road to Financial Wellness is a project by Phroogal that crowdsources and curates financial knowledge through a Q&A platform with the goal of helping its customers make better financial decisions. This past summer, Phroogal set off on its second cross-country road trip with a mission of bringing financial awareness to communities across America.

Refinery29 Money Diaries

The Money Diaries are a collection of essays on lifestyle blog Refinery29 that tackle the financial challenges of the modern woman. Each week, they explore how one millennial woman is spending her hard-earned money over a seven day period, down to the very last cent. Share your story with them at moneydiary@refinery29.com!

Money Matters Financial Empowerment Series

Through partnership between Rainbow PUSH Coalition and Chevrolet, these free financial workshops make not so exciting topics much more palatable, especially for those of us without a Harvard MBA. Topics include college financing, entrepreneurship, credit, investing and budgeting. The workshops feature influential speakers like entrepreneur Dominique Broadway, who is an expert on millennial finance topics. Stops on the tour include Chicago, New York, Detroit, Atlanta and Washington D.C.

United Nations Secretary General’s Special Advocate (UNSGSA) for Inclusive Finance for Development

Now that’s a mouthful.  Let’s break it down. The “Special Advocate” leading this project is Queen Maxima of the Netherlands. In partnership with the United Nations, she spearheads global efforts to provide universal access to affordable, effective and safe financial services for the poor. She travels around the world meeting with a wide range of stakeholders, such as political and bank leadership, as well as low-income families, to help advance financial inclusion efforts.

Wow, impressive stuff. We’re feeling pretty inspired! How about you?

Financial Technology Is Overhauling Banking Faster Than We Can Say “Checkbook”

Life Before the Financial Technology Boom

With advancements in financial technology (fintech), there’s no denying that banking has become infinitely more convenient over the years. We have the ability to autopay our bills, receive account balance updates to our phones, and no longer are our purses and wallets cluttered with forgotten bank receipts, as they’re now sent directly to our inboxes. It’s hard to believe that not so long ago balancing checkbooks and visiting a physical bank branch for most of our account needs were the norm.

We used to have a plethora of options when it came to checkbook designs, from Disney characters to florals to the artistically abstract, and now we’re hard-pressed to find a reason to use our checkbooks at all. When taking note of the dramatic improvements to the financial technology industry over the last decade, it can feel a bit like living in a spinoff of Back to the Future.

How Financial Technology Is Revolutionizing Banking

Who would have imagined that we could create another stream of income by using an app and building the global financial community? With SocialBoost™, Meed’s Member Banks return a portion of their revenue to the global community that we, as Meed users, can receive as a regular stream of income. And our earning percentage can increase for every person we invite who becomes a Meed user. Thus, the larger we grow the global community, the more we can earn.

Another advancement is the ability to send international remittances to family members in developing countries, which used to be a long, complicated, and drawn-out process. Scams were common, and it could take weeks for money to arrive. Remittances account for one of the largest sources of external finance for developing countries, and it is essential that funds be sent in a timely manner without the sender acquiring unnecessary fees. Thankfully, new trailblazing mobile financial services apps like Meed allow for remittances to be sent directly across borders to the recipient’s mobile device, making it easier for rural populations to access.

The financial industry has kept pace with the technological boom, and simplified our lives in numerous ways. Sometimes it’s difficult to keep up, and it makes one wonder what will be outdated or forgotten when we look back on our progress in the decades to come.