We Asked Daves About Dave, Marcus and Other First-Name Money Apps
Can these clients count on the help they need? (So far, none of the startups have called him for advice.)
The question is corroborated by a fairly recent history.
Robinhood’s trading platform and messaging system collapsed when the markets turned earlier this year. When he cut some exchanges completely during the GameStop saga, users were furious at the lack of answers.
Dozens of lawsuits resulted, along with a multitude of investigations, including the biggest fine ever imposed by the Financial Sector Regulatory Authority. At a congressional hearing in February, a lawmaker called Robinhood’s automated helpline – and received a recorded message telling it to send an email. (The company is committed to improving customer service.)
Perhaps the most intriguing thing about the emergence of these start-ups is the vastly different way they present themselves for the first time to the world. Some have taken inspiration from digital banking start-ups of yesteryear, like Ally, and embraced concepts in their branding, with names like Aspiration and, more provocatively, Revolut.
Then there’s Dave and the Boys, a trend that spread years ago with Charles Schwab and the digital bank offering it finally introduced in the wake of its low-cost brokerage services. He advised anyone who would listen to “Talk to Chuck”.
Goldman Sachs, with all its wealth, could have bought just about any URL. He chose Marcus, after Marcus Goldman (bad luck, Samuel Sachs), because the bank, the quintessential Wall Street firm, tried to put a friendly face on a new retail banking operation.
Another app, Albert, has a standard debit card offering as well as a service it calls “Albert Genius,” which the company says is powered by a team of human financial experts. (By the way, Dave Davies’ legal first name is Albert.)
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