There has been a lot of buzz around 22Seven. First the big launch quickly followed by all the banks telling you why it is a bad idea. Last week FNB issued a press release saying that they now allow access to 22Seven if users set up a secondary read-only access profile.
Having signed up for the service on the launch day almost a month ago I have to say that it is actually pretty cool. I am not going to get technical, all the details are on their site at www.22seven.com. If you have not heard of 22Seven, this is what you need to know:
Its an online tool that turns managing your money into a game. I assume that they get their name from 22 over 7, i.e Pi, which is much loved by math and tech nerds alike. They also seem to like using circles on the site. Mmmm.
To get started you enter all your banking details on their site and they import your bank statements for the last 3 months or so into 22Seven. To do this they use a third partner called Yodlee. Yodlee is a US software company that has over 30 million users and a 13 year 100% security record. Still, if you are a non-FNB customer the risk is yours. Those using FNB, be sure to use the read-only access feature when signing up for 22Seven.
The first time you sign up you will go through a couple of formalities. The sign up process is well thought out and before you know it your finances appear on your screen in brightly coloured Circles. Black for what you earn, yellow for recurring costs, blue for day-to-day and orange for exceptions. They also throw in some flash to make it look pretty.
The next step is to plan how you want to spend your cash. 22Seven shows you where you spent your cash in the previous month and you need to commit how much you want to spend this month. This is where the fun begins. The figures are shown in a graphical way that makes sense. You can also challenge yourself with The ABM Machine. Choose three areas where you would like to spend less and challenge yourself to “get A Bit More money out this month”.
If you have a competitive streak you will love being able to beat your personal best and save more money than the month before.
So here’s the verdict:
Pro’s: Easy to use, quick to get started, awesome to look at and its totally free while it is in Beta. I also enjoyed the cheeky messages that guide you through the sign-up process.
Con’s: Flash, sadly it does not work on iPad and has no mobile version, but they have promised that an app is on the way.
Verdict: Some will love it, others will fail to see the point of it and some will sign up just to support a local start-up. I enjoy 22Seven and will continue using it while it is in Beta, but I am not sure how many people will be willing to pay R70 per month when the paid for version releases.