North American financial services firms are expected to ramp up their marketing efforts next year by developing do-it-yourself financial improvement apps inspired by behavioural economics research and powered by artificial intelligence (AI), according to Mintel Comperemedia, a subsidiary of London-based market research firm Mintel Group Ltd.

“Mirroring recent changes in the health-care, self-help and diet industries, advancements in financial wellness will gain some much needed momentum and more and more consumers will find comfort in having control over their own financial situations,” says Lily Harder, vice president of research with Mintel, in a statement.

“We predict that do-it-yourself financial wellness will pave the way for financial services marketing to focus on a more holistic, customer-centric message that brings financial products into every aspect of the customer journey,” she adds.

The challenge for marketers, the report says, is getting consumers to adopt mobile-centric tools. With growing concerns over cybersecurity, consumers may be slow to embrace new apps that require private information.

That said, 77% of Canadian consumers who have used a mobile money management app say they like it, the report says, and 31% of U.S. consumers aged 22 to 39 said they would be more motivated to use mobile banking or use it more often if there was a budgeting feature that tracks spending.

As for mobile trends already in action, the report cites Toronto-based Royal Bank of Canada’s 2017 launch of NOMI Insights and NOMI Find and Save, two digital services that use AI to help consumers manage their finances and spending. The report also highlights Toronto-based Bank of Nova Scotia’s MomentumPlus, a digital savings account launched in August that helps consumers save for multiple things at once.

Mintel expects an increasing number of financial services institutions to create similar solutions to help clients manage their finances and develop better savings habits.

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