Yesterday, HelloWallet CEO Matt Fellowes spoke on a panel at the Financial Literacy and Education Commission (FLEC) at the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Matt joined Michael L. Davis, Deputy Assistant Secretary at the Employee Benefits Security Administration of the US Department of Labor and Sophia Raseman of the US Department of the Treasury and the Co-Chair of the Smart Disclosure Task Force.
The panelists discussed how companies and government agencies can help improve the financial wellness of workers by giving them more access to their data held by the government and the private sector. These “smart disclosures” allow consumers to better understand and take control of their finances — a core component of HelloWallet’s mission.
HelloWallet already benefits from some smart disclosures that already exist. Our ability to automatically track transactions at 12,000 financial institutions, for instance, is only possible because those institutions have consented to have their customers get ready access to their data. Similarly, our ability to provide the tuition prices of every post-secondary school in the country is possible because of Department of Education disclosure policies.
Through these and other data, we are able to have a direct improvement in the financial life of our members. After just three months of use, for instance, users have increased their savings commitments by more than 80 percent!
We could help workers even more if workers had ready access to more of their data. Getting access to IRS data, for instance, would help workers get tax assistance through out the year and potentially avoid excessive tax preparation fees, too. Similarly, IRS data on home sales would give workers essential data on the wealth potential of homeownership.
These are among dozens of ways that greater access to data would help workers better get ahead. Through meetings like the one yesterday morning, we pledge our commitment to filling the financial capability void by providing personalized information that our members can understand and use to better their own financial health.