Google Makes a “Play” for Financial Health

Thursday, March 16, 2017

By Shannon Austin, Financial Health Network

When you think of Google, you’re probably thinking search. Synonymous with how we call tissues by the brand name “Kleenex,” the phrase “Google it” is, of course, how we all associate finding things. In that way, “Googling it” has taken the place of many practices the over-40 set grew up with: Going to the library to do research on microfiche, for example. Gone.

But what if Google could guide you to other things, like financial health?

That was the thinking Google Play and the nonprofit Financial Health Network had in mind when creating a comprehensive guide to enable more app developers to do well — while also doing good.

“When we started working with Financial Health Network, it was through the lens of how its Financial Solutions Lab could help us to reach more fintech innovators,” says Ashraf Hassan, Business Development Manager at Google Play. “But our relationship quickly morphed into something much greater, as we came to realize the extent to which responsible financial app development can benefit everyone — and ultimately improve consumers’ financial health.”

“Working with Google on the guide to help developers make financial health connections is important — not only because of the scope and relevancy of the Google brand, but because it creates opportunity for more developers to be mindful of their audiences, and how they can be a force for good,” says John Thompson, Senior Vice President of Financial Health Network.

Google launched the new guide in a post on the Android Developer blog, as well as its monthly newsletter, reaching a global developer network.

The new guide encourages developers to know their users, focus on access, establish trust, test and iterate, drive positive user behaviors, and recognize the value of mutual success. It also provides concrete technical best practices for developing financial apps for Android and distributing those apps through Google Play.

Image: Google Play

This guide, and the principles it contains, has already been used by many developers on the Android platform, including robo-investor WiseBanyan, freelance tool Everlance, and savings tool Digit, each of which were members of Financial Health Network’s Financial Solutions Lab. As an extension of this guide, Google Play is also featuring a collection of apps on a new page called “Improve Your Financial Health,” which it expects to grow over time as more developers focus on these important areas.

This is only the beginning of Google’s work with Financial Health Network, which sees itself becoming a champion of financial health, joining a network of Financial Health Network supporters that include Ford Foundation, MetLife Foundation, Omidyar Network, and the Gates Foundation, as well as a larger network of banks, financial services providers, and innovators large and small.

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Developers: Want to innovate for good? Financial Health Networks Financial Solutions Lab is seeking innovators who are working on the issue of financial health. Apply for a spot in the next class and receive support from FinLab resource partner Google Play! Applications due April 27, 2017. (The Financial Solutions Lab is a $30 million, 5-year initiative managed by Financial Health Network with founding Lab partner JPMorgan Chase & Co. The Lab seeks to identify, test and bring to scale innovations that help Americans increase savings, improve credit, and build assets.)

Want to learn more about the financial health work of Financial Health Network? Subscribe for updates, follow us on Twitter, and join the conversation!

By Financial Health Network on March 16, 2017.

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