U.S. Treasury Department officials doled out $25,000 in cash prizes and announced the winners of the department’s MyMoneyAppUp challenge contest.
The winners were selected from among eight finalists in a final judging session taking place at the Treasury Department and available for viewing live via webcast at 9:00 A.M. EDT Friday.
The contest – the latest in a series of Challenge.gov initiatives sponsored by federal agencies over the past two years – was designed to engage American entrepreneurs, software developers, the public and students with the goal of generating new ideas and designs for mobile tools to help Americans control and shape their financial futures.
Support for program, including prizes and the administration, came from the Center for Financial Services Innovation, D2D, the Ford Foundation, Omidyar Network, and the Citi Foundation.Ã¯Â»Â¿
The winners are:
Grand Prize-Centz: Nicole Kendrot, Hoboken, New Jersey
Centz makes student loans easy and simple to manage. Centz is a mobile application that helps users make sense of their student loans and earn cents while doing it. With Centz, you can:
• Link your student loans to view all of your student loan information in one place
• Create a payoff plan that works for your goals and budget
• Estimate how much you can reduce your repayment period and total interest paid by paying extra each month
• Learn about managing your student loans and finances via Centz’s resources tab, which provides access to high-quality articles
• Test your knowledge of student loan and personal finance management via quizzes
• Earn Centz (which can be redeemed for cash) for tracking, planning and completing quizzes about managing student loans.
First Runner-Up-My Next Car: Richard Trask, Landenberg, Pennsylvania; Jason Mastriani, Newark, Delaware
My Next Car! is an innovative and fun mobile app would help people to save in advance for their next car, thereby avoiding car loan interest. It could help anyone who is planning to buy a new or used car, especially first-time car buyers. It’s also designed to encourage people who have paid-off their present car to continue making “car payments” into a savings account.
The user would enter a savings goal for the new car, and set a time frame for making the purchase. The app will calculate a monthly “payment” to reach the goal, as well as show the estimated overall savings based on earning interest rather than paying interest. The monthly payment figures would automatically adjust as the time frame and amount to save are modified to show different scenarios. The app would also include an input field for the trade-in value of the old car, and make that a part of the calculation too.
Other features of the app would include:
• Select or upload a photo of your desired car
• See a list of cars within your desired price range
• Set up a monthly “e-bill” reminding you to make the “car payment” into your savings account
• View progress indicators, graphs, dials, and small accolades for reaching milestones • See a running total of loan interest saved
• See the number of payments left
• Add a button link on the e-bill reminder to your bank’s login screen, to make a transfer to savings
• Set up an RSS feed for news and reviews about your selected auto
• Link to Kelley Blue Book or other data sources for prices and trade-in values
• See tips for car buyers, videos and other useful information.
Second Runner-Up-MOOLAH: Pamela Chan and Eric Tyler, Washington, DC
The MOOLAH App is a financial decision-making tool that assists low-income households in the United States. The app will allow the user to achieve their personalized financial goals by assessing their financial situation, creating a budget with connections to stabilizing public benefits, and recommending related social services and financial products.
Essentially, the application will serve as a personal financial management software combined with a single-stop public benefits and community services referral portal. It also will open the door for future integration with developing mobile money services (i.e. freezing of mobile payments when a personal budget has been exceeded). Without the MOOLAH App providing a bridge to relevant financial information, services, and technologies, low-income households will be unable to make better economic decision and will fall further behind.
First Honorable Mention-Crazy Money: Nancy Anderson, Clinton, Mississippi
Crazy Money is a twist on the drudgery of budgeting by making it fun and easy to control impulse spending. This is a tool that can be used to help parents teach their teens about spending limits or help spouses avoid arguments over spending habits. The app keeps users accountable, gives them the knowledge to make good decisions, and makes it all fun!
Second Honorable Mention-Know It All: Robert Scott, Parrish, Florida
Instant gratification by making a purchase feels great, but racking up mounting debt sure doesn’t. Know It ALL! will allow the consumer to instantly see the full cost of a purchase made by using a credit card, so that they can make a fully informed decision. As the cliche goes; you can pay now, or pay even more later.
BankUp increases financial capability and capacity by motivating users to set and achieve their financial goals; connecting users to banking services near them; and building up banking capabilities by leveraging gamification and a user’s social network to encourage them to develop their financial literacy.
Over a quarter of American households are either unbanked or underbanked. According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the primary reason is that these individuals do not see the value of a bank account. BankUp invites unbanked and underbanked users to partner in considering the value of a bank account and encouraging users to improve their financial capabilities.
The Buying Happiness app allows users to enter purchases and categorize them (e.g. “Spending time with family or friends,” “Giving/Charity,” “Saving or Investing,” “Travel”), and then follows up over time and asks users to rate how much happier their previous purchases have made them. The app compiles these data into simple graphs about how each spending category relates to a user’s happiness over time.
Individuals can use this information to adjust their future spending, and thereby shape their financial futures, in ways that increase their well-being. Users can share their individual data with family and friends, and can view aggregate data on other users. This app is designed to add to the financial capability field by drawing the broader issue of people’s well-being into the discussion about how Americans manage their money.
The PayU app for is designed to pay yourself first by scanning savings on a store receipt or online order to a savings account by a transaction on a credit or debit card.