We have a report coming out soon on the rise of digital-only aka, virtual banks. Banks and credit unions are certainly keeping an eye on what their impact might t their client base and deposits. Some traditional financial institutions are giving their customers less of a reason to move to one of these “neo” banks by upping their digital game through a fintech acquisition of their own. Fifth Third’s savings app called Dobot, “the robot for your dough” was reviewed by The Financial Brand. Early indications are that Fifth Third has been successful in opening new savings accounts and pulling in deposits from other institutions:
Dobot was actually spawned by a fintech startup. The app had some early success and strong reviews, but the company had to shutter its doors in the fall of 2017 after burning up all their capital.
Dobot officially relaunched in early December 2018. In less than three months, the app has already yielded roughly 20,000 users — without any marketing muscle outside Fifth Third’s own customer base.
The Dobot algorithm automatically begins to scan and analyze your checking account activity and determines how much you can afford to move into savings.
Every few days, the app automatically transfers small amounts of money — typically $5 to $20, although it can be as much as $100 — from a person’s checking account into their Dobot savings account — now at Fifth Third. This happens in the background unless consumers want to turn off the auto-save feature, which they can do easily at any time and for any length of time. They can also add additional funds to the account, and can return money to their checking account from within the app. Transfers in either direction are done by ACH, so they are not instantaneous.
Incoming dollars show up in the app as little green balls, each one representing $1. They move around the screen if you tip it, almost like they’re liquid. They accumulate there until the consumer allocates them to one (or more) self-determined goals. It’s more fun to do it yourself, however, because of the cool visualizations in Dobot. Once you allocate, say, $35 toward your spouse’s birthday present, that goal reappears as a circle displaying in its center the photo you selected to make it more personal and the little green balls move up and around it and then change into a circular progress bar, much as you see when downloading an app.
Overview by Sarah Grotta, Director, Debit and Alternative Products Advisory Service at Mercator Advisory Group