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Money management apps have proven popular since the advent of the app store. Some are simple daily budgeting assistants while others are more comprehensive, linking your existing bank accounts, credit and store cards together, so that you can monitor, and ultimately manage your money better.
In the latter camp of more comprehensive apps, something like Mint comes to mind, an American-based app that pulls information from your bank accounts, and now has more than three million users. Mint though, only works in the US, and that’s where South African-based 22seven found its niche.
Functioning as a subscription-based online money management service akin to Mint, 22seven is compatible with all major local banking institutions. Now, with the prevalence of mobile penetration in Africa and specifically South Africa, 22seven is expanding its mobile offering in the form of a brand new Android app.
Simon Dingle, partner at 22seven, tells Ventureburn that the company worked very closely with Google to build the Android app from the ground up. Following Google’s design principles 22seven is excited to unleash the app onto its user base. Dingle explains that the company’s iOS app has proven very popular, so much so that soon more people will use that app over the desktop offering. With people’s preference for mobile, it only made sense to get an Android offering out to whet the appetite of that ecosystem’s users.
Given Android’s open policies, security is often a concern especially for third-party financial apps. Dingle expresses that 22seven faced this challenge by being “pedantic” about security, and adhered to compliance that is nothing less than “bank-level security.” Ensuring this, a consultant from MWR InfoSecurity was embedded into the development team for a short period while conducting the audit.
Dingle explains that the development process for the Android app was in conception for about two years, but hard development (read: coding) began around six months ago. He explains that it has been an “amazing experience” working with user-testers on Google Plus as well as with the Google ecosystem.
22seven had a tough start after its launch in January 2012, facing some early criticism from banks for the way it accessed people’s accounts, however it seemed to find its footing, and was eventually sold to the UK division of Old Mutual in 2013.
“We’ve worked closely with Old Mutual in defining our shared vision of reshaping people’s relationship with their money,” adds Dingle. “We understand that this is a mobile-first world and when we think about the future of 22seven, we see it on the personal devices that people rely on to make their lives better. That’s where Google is prominent and that’s where you’ll find 22seven too. Our native Android app is the next big step in this direction.”