The effectiveness of smart phone apps in improving financial capability

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This study is the first to assess whether smartphone apps can be utilised to improve financially capable behaviours. In this study four smartphone apps, packaged together under the title ‘Money Matters’, were provided to working age members (16- 65 years) of the largest credit union in Northern Ireland (Derry Credit Union). The smartphone apps consisted of a loan interest comparison app, an expenditure comparison app, a cash calendar app, and a debt management app. The assessment methodology used was a Randomised Control Trial (RCT) with the UK Financial Capability Outcome Frameworks used to set the context for the assessment. For those receiving the apps (the treatment group) statistically significant improvements were found in a number of measures designed to gauge ‘financial knowledge, understanding and basic skills’ and ‘attitudes and motivations’. These improvements translated into better financially capable behaviours; those receiving the apps were more likely to keep track of their income and expenditure and proved to be more resilient when faced with a financial shock.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)302-318
Number of pages17
JournalEuropean Journal of Finance
Issue number4-5
Early online date14 Jul 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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