This month, we're focusing on all things related to fintech!

A portmanteau of financial technology, fintech is often described as being disruptive to the traditional financial services industry. As technology continues to improve our lives, the same cannot be said with the gargantuan maze that is the traditional bank's backend systems.

Change Machine is an example of a fintech platform, whose focus is making financial coaching easier for practitioners. As social service agencies continue to embed financial coaching into their services (for instance, for groups advocating for domestic violence survivors, formerly incarcerated people, job-seekers, the undocumented, and more), the more working poor individuals can be positively impacted and in turn, achieve financial security.

We're not the only ones using fintech to improve other people's lives. Here are some of our compatriots:

Acorns

Acorns rounds up each transaction you make on your checking or credit card account to the nearest dollar, and invests the difference automatically.

At the Clinic, we strongly believe that automatic mechanisms like this — such as automatically deducting into a savings vehicle — is a major driver for financial security.

Based in New York City, Alice helps low-income individuals save on their subway pass, the MetroCard. 7-day MetroCards cost more than the 30-day MetroCards, but not everyone can afford the upfront cost of the latter.

By allowing consumers to pay installments of $28.50 per week for a 30-day MetroCard, customers can even build credit at the same time!

Similar in principle to Acorns, Digit is a web- and SMS-based service that transfers a small sum of money from your checking account to a Digit savings account every few days, only if you can afford it.

The Clinic believes that saving is an activity, not an amount. It's the activity of saving that matters — even if it's automated.

Propel aims to make applying for food stamps (also known as SNAP) easier for low-income individuals, simply by using their mobile phones. Customers can even take photos of their documents through the mobile interface, and Propel will fax them in on the customers' behalf.

For an in-depth lesson on savings planning from the perspective of a practitioner, visit our LEARN lesson here! (If you don't have a Change Machine account yet, sign up for our free 30-day trial.)

What's your favorite fintech service or app? Let us know below!

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