Big Banking, Big Problems: Is it Time for an Alternative?

Photo by Andre Taissin on Unsplash

The following post was written and/or published as a collaboration between Benzinga’s in-house sponsored content team and a financial partner of Benzinga.

Traditional banking can be a pain for many Americans. Banks can seem to be faceless behemoths that care little about their individual customers. The industry, dominated by the likes of Bank of America Corp. BAC and JP Morgan Chase & Co. JPM, seems to be much more concerned with reaping profits than with the success of those who bank with them.

At most of these major banks, fees abound. During 2020, a year in which the world struggled through a global pandemic, banks collected more than $30 billion in overdraft fees. And this was in spite of urging from federal regulators to relax overdraft penalties at a time when so many families struggled to put food on the table. Not only did these big banks ignore regulators, they charged an all-time-high average of $33.47 per penalty.

This came on the heels of the Wells Fargo & Co. WFC scandal in which the bank defrauded thousands of its customers through opening multiple unauthorized accounts in customers’ names. The company initially responded by blaming isolated, bad actors at lower levels, but it soon came to light that it was, in fact, a companywide issue that stemmed from top-down pressure and company culture set by high-level management.

Many Americans are distrustful of these institutions and rightfully so. They are hungry for change, for an alternative answer.

Envel* aims to be just that. The company, a fintech startup, hopes it can bring fairness and trust back to the banking experience. 

The company charges no overdraft fees, and there are no minimum balance requirements. Envel also wants its customers to feel valued and supported. The company says it is committed to having accessible support for any issues or questions its customers have. No waiting on the phone for 2 hours jumping through hoops and being transferred 20 times.

Critically though, the company hopes to be much more than simply a pleasant banking experience. Envel is centered around helping its customers learn financial literacy and to save and budget most effectively through the use of artificial intelligence (AI) optimization. 

The name of the company comes from the tried and true method of budgeting in which you divvy up the cash you plan to use for the month into separate envelopes marked with a specific spending category. This allows you to have a more direct experience with your budgeting and many people swear by it. The problem is it’s cash-based and most people today want to use plastic.

Envel’s answer is to digitize this process. Each “envelope” is actually a separate bank account, insured through nbkc bank, Member FDIC. You can easily and clearly track your spending this way. And, perhaps most exciting, is that the platform helps you to budget these separate categories using advanced AI. 

Envel is targeted towards the many Americans who lack the time, knowledge, or effort to budget for themselves. Combining minimal fees with autonomous budgeting and savings, Envel aims to help millions of people who lack basic financial literacy by providing an app that does the heavy lifting for them. Envel strives to be accessible to Americans of all backgrounds, demographics, and income levels, regardless of previous banking or budgeting experience. 

If this intrigues you and you’re tired of your traditional bank, you can check out its platform here and decide for yourself. As Envel is a startup it's also currently looking for investment. If you’re interested in backing the project, check out its investment page here.

The preceding post was written and/or published as a collaboration between Benzinga’s in-house sponsored content team and a financial partner of Benzinga. Although the piece is not and should not be construed as editorial content, the sponsored content team works to ensure that any and all information contained within is true and accurate to the best of their knowledge and research. This content is for informational purposes only and not intended to be investing advice.

* Envel is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services provided by nbkc bank, Member FDIC. 

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