Honeydue App Review: A Way to Help Couples With Their Finances?

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Honeydue is an app intended to help with one of the most common sources of conflict in relationships: money.

According to a study by SunTrust bank, finances are a major point of stress and conflict in relationships. The study goes on to say that couples with different money personalities — spender versus saver, for instance — must grapple with even more stress, but communication can lessen the impact of the differences.

Eugene Park, co-creator of the money management app, found that managing finances with his fiancee after she moved in was painful. The pair were using totally different tools to track and manage their finances from day to day. Eugene’s co-founder, Thien Tran, was going through the exact same thing at the same time with his fiancee.

That’s when the idea for Honeydue was born. It officially launched in August for 2017, and the user base has been growing every since.

Through Honeydue, couples can share information like bank accounts and bills to limit confusion and miscommunication around their finances. The app aggregates information like bill payments and transactions via bank feeds to help couples get a true picture of their combined (or separate) finances in real time.

It’s true that there are a lot of financial apps out there that offer similar services — Mint, YNAB and Personal Capital, to name a few. But Eugene insists that Honeydue isn’t just a financial app.

“We think of ourselves as a collaborative tool first and a financial tool second,” he says. “The goal is to create a collaborative environment for couples to develop both financial habits and literacy together.”

The creators of the app noticed that there’s asymmetry among couples when it comes to money. Usually only one partner manages the finances. When this happens, the other partner may feel as if he or she lacks of firm grasp of where their earnings are going, setting the stage for conflict.

For this review, MagnifyMoney decided to put Honeydue through a true stress test — my husband and I used the app for two weeks straight to see if actually helped us manage our money better.

What I liked about the Honeydue app

After having used the app for some time, what stands out most is the convenience of having all bills and accounts in one place.

If you are the kind of person who likes to stay on top of your entire financial situation at a glance, this app does the job. To me, it’s like having a financial health assistant that scans all your accounts and gives you updates like these:

If you’re a busy person and want to stay on top of your finances, but can’t check every account daily, then Honeydue works. Indeed, it works even for the person not managing money with a significant other.

But once you do add a partner, things get interesting. You both can see everything that’s happening in the world of money that affects you as a couple.

For example, I was able to add a brokerage account that my husband can now see updated daily. Once he sees it, it’s a constant reminder that investing is a worthwhile activity with real returns. It’s more motivation to curb our spending and attempt to save and invest more when the numbers are there, at our disposal and updated in real time.

I also like the idea that we both can see all bank account balances and transactions. If I know that my husband will see my financial life and potentially question my spending or account balances, I’m more apt to “behave” and think a little more about my spending choices. The extra layer of accountability is a welcome change for me.

The alerts, notifications and email updates from the app serve as prompts to help us discuss finances with some regularity. There are many times I want to talk about finances and financial decisions with my husband, but it simply slips my mind. Honeydue reminders help make money discussions happen more frequently.

To me, the app sets the stage for a healthy financial relationship for couples struggling with money: Transparency, collaboration and communication are all improved with use.

What I didn’t like about Honeydue

The concept of the app itself is amazing. The execution is pretty top-notch, too. The app didn’t seem to be buggy or prone to inexplicable crashes.

Still, I noticed a few things.

The first issue: how the app interacts with institutions that use two-factor authentication. Many bank protocols ask different security questions or require you to re-authenticate with security codes if a connection needs to be refreshed.

However, I’ve used other apps with the same issue. So I am not sure there is a way around this. It’s a safety measure that I welcome to keep my data secure. However, it’s usually barely noticeable and just takes a few moments to correct.

Further, the transaction history for all accounts only goes back a couple of months. Again, not a super big deal, but something I did notice.

Finally, the budget categories are not that extensive and you could potentially spend a lot of time recategorizing transactions it does assign. That is to say, right now the budget categories are not “smart.” They don’t “learn” from the updates you make to transactions like most financial softwares and apps. Eugene says that the development road map does include plans to make the budget categories more automatic once you edit them.

The Complete Magnifymoney Honeydue App Review

  • What is Honeydue?
  • How do you sign up?
  • Fees
  • Benefits
  • Who should consider using Honeydue?
  • App drawbacks

What is Honeydue?

Honeydue allows couples to share financial information, but the partners can select what that information is and the level of detail that is included. So if one person has a bank account he or she doesn’t want visible to a partner through the app, it’s possible to choose not to share those banking details or give a limited view of them (“balance only”).

Here are some additional capabilities of the app:

Track balances

Couples can see all bank balances in one place in the app. They can track both credit card and bank balances, along with individual transactions related to each account. Transactions and balances are updated in real time so there’s always a complete, accurate snapshot of where these accounts stand.

The nice thing about this feature: that ability to choose which accounts your partner can see and at what level of detail. Eugene says many partners feel like it isn’t necessary to share at the transaction level. In his words, “trust doesn’t always mean transparency.” According to a 2014 poll in the magazine Money, surveying more than 1,000 married adults, 55 percent of respondents said finance arguments in their relationships were over purchases. This is exactly why Honeydue built these privacy features into the app.

Categorized spending

This feature allows a couple to see how all of their money is spent. As transactions are completed and updated in the app, Honeydue gives them a category: cash & checks; family & pets; getting around; gifts & charity; miscellaneous; personal & wellness; home & utilities; food & drink; trips & occasions; shopping & fun. If the app assigns a category incorrectly for a transaction, it can be fixed with a quick edit.

Secure banking

Honeydue uses military-grade encryption.

Share expenses

You can share expenses with your partner using Honeydue. Once a transaction appears in your bank feed, you can mark it for sharing and add comments. The app will send the share notification to the partner, as well as periodic reminders to settle up a balance owed with his/her mate.

Bill reminders

You can enter bill due dates and amounts with Honeydue. It will keep a running log of coming bills, so they are not lost in the shuffle of life. In the Settings areas of the app, you can create push notifications for bills as well.

How do you sign up for Honeydue?

The sign-up process is extremely simple. After downloading the Honeydue app for iOS or Android devices, you’ll open the app and enter information it will use for your account settings. Then, you’ll enter your partner’s information so he/she can receive an invite to join the app and view all of your combined financial information.

The rest of the process involves connecting your bank account and setting up bill reminders. The app connects with most major banks. You can even include a PayPal account in your bank feed.

Honeydue fees

At the moment Honeydue is totally free to use for both partners.

There is an “offers” tab in the app where you can apply for credit cards and explore bank new accounts. The app also allows you to look for deals on things like Hulu, Starbucks and Gobble. All the categories in the offers tab include bank accounts, credit cards, loans & insurance, savings and investments and money savers.

According to Park, this monetization model will remain in place to keep the app free to use.

Who should consider using Honeydue?

As my husband and I found, Honeydue gives couples a springboard for constant discussions about money. It gives them practice with communicating, negotiating and saving in money conversations they may not otherwise have.

Final words

Honeydue is another app in the sea of fintech innovation. There are so many tools out there that it might be difficult to add another to the mix for couples already overwhelmed with financial issues.

However, the branding and features that cater to couples can’t be underestimated. When was the last time you were able to stamp bank transactions with a smiley face or a comment for your partner to see? Honeydue let’s you do just that. For the price (free), I think it’s at least worth a try.

The post Honeydue App Review: A Way to Help Couples With Their Finances? appeared first on MagnifyMoney.

Are LendingClub’s Troubles Bigger Than Just One Company?

fintech

The spin factory is working extra shifts these days.

No, I’m not talking about the upcoming presidential election. Rather, I’m referring to the surprisingly quick and robust efforts on the part of financial services industry advocates to regain control of the narrative following a so-called FinTech (financial technology) poster child’s fall from grace.

LendingClub Corporation was the first peer-to-peer finance company to have an initial public offering. Given the breathtaking $8.5 billion valuation it garnered at the time of its 2014 debut on the New York Stock Exchange, it’s clear that expectations for the company, and the edgy sector of financial services it represents, were high.

Although the firms that share space in FinTech vary in their approaches to the consumer and small-business demographics they target, the two things they have in common are super-fast online processing (thanks to algorithmically based credit underwriting) and limited regulatory oversight because none are depository institutions—no savings and checking account balances are at risk. At least not yet.

Lately, these two commonalities have begun to attract negative attention for reasons I’ll discuss in a moment. At first blush though, it appears as if the LendingClub scandal involves an isolated instance of alleged impropriety on the part of some members of senior management.

Until you take a closer look.

LendingClub’s CEO Renaud Laplanche resigned after the company disclosed that it had misrepresented key characteristics of the loans that were sold to an institutional purchaser. Bulk-loan purchase agreements are specific about what constitutes a so-called eligible contract — such things as bona fide, legally enforceable documentation and the timely receipt of installment payments to the point of sale.

So the $22 million question (the value of the subject transaction) is: Why would a company the size of LendingClub allegedly jeopardize the reputation it has with customer-borrowers, institutional and retail investors that trade in its stock, and the sources on which it depends to fund the loans it originates, all for a deal that represents less than 1% of the loan volume the company booked in just the first quarter of 2016?

The answer could be the canary in the FinTech coal mine.

Are There Problems With the Credit Underwriting Process?

I learned three important lessons the hard (costly) way during the slow-motion train wreck of the Great Recession: Sell when the company builds a corporate Taj Mahal, when the CEO leaves for any reason other than dropping dead at his desk, or when senior management speaks nihilistically about “new economy-related paradigm shifts.”

FinTech companies — along with the private equity firms and venture capitalists that have pumped billions of dollars into their operations — seem to believe they are the future of low-dollar-value lending. Thanks to the advent of big data-driven algorithms, what once took a ridiculous number of weeks, if not months, for institutional lenders to complete is now accomplished within hours online. That the activities of these nonbank institutions aren’t subject to the same regulations as are their traditional banking counterparts doesn’t hurt either.

I believe this is the real story behind the news story.

The credit underwriting process isn’t singular — science vs. art — it’s binary, particularly in regard to transactions that involve borrowers who are unbanked (no institutional relationships and/or credit history) or under-banked (limited relationships and/or tarnished credit), both of which constitute FinTech’s demographic mainstays. That’s why any lender that believes it’s developed a magical mathematical mechanism (i.e., algorithm) to take all this into account but neglects to test its hypothesis by re-processing a statistically significant sample of credit failures that occurred at various points during an end-to-end business cycle (boom to bust to boom) is, in my opinion, kidding itself. Why go through all that trouble for a comparable result — or worse?

Considering that so many FinTech lenders didn’t appear on the scene until after the last meltdown, coupled with the fact that the historical credit-performance data they’d need to test their prospective underwriting methodologies reside within the very institutions they propose to supplant, one can’t help but wonder if the next credit cycle — which would be the companies’ first — may well be their last.

And then there’s the structure of these loan products.

Small-dollar, short-term lending is a tough business. There simply isn’t enough profit in a $1,000 loan that’ll be on the books for only a month or two. Not without automating the process, hyping the hell out of the rates of return (i.e., APRs, which mathematically combine interest rates and fees), setting up shop in accommodating jurisdictions (there’s a reason why many credit card companies call South Dakota home) and devising products that encourage repeat use (payday and merchant advance loans are good examples).

The Need for a Watchdog

That leads me to the second problem facing FinTech companies: The growing call for regulatory oversight at the federal level to override individual states.

So whichever comes first — an economic downturn or amped-up regulations — you can probably look forward to a frenzy of mergers and acquisitions to follow. My guess is that the old-economy banks will take the lead because they’d stand to pick up loan portfolios and tech platforms all on the cheap.

The question is, how will consumers and small business fare if this happens?

They’ll do well if the banks successfully translate what they learn from their nonbank counterparts into an ability and willingness to lend to the under-represented demographics upon which FinTech currently relies.

They’ll also do well if the surviving FinTech firms combine new- and old-school approaches for underwriting credits as they transform their existing loan products into ones that are more reasonably structured and priced.

Don’t hold your breath though. If history teaches us anything, it’s that the more likely outcome will be yet another credit crunch for small-time borrowers. That is, until the banks realize they need more business or a fresh crop of entrepreneurs come up with something new. Again.

This story is an Op/Ed contribution to Credit.com and does not necessarily represent the views of the company or its partners.

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Image: IndypendenZ

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