EOFY most downloaded apps: Is traditional finance management on its way out?

As the end of financial year approaches, market intelligence company Sensor Tower has lifted the lid on which apps Aussies are downloading to help get their finances in check – and the findings reveal a significant adoption of fintech and BNPL options.

The new data has revealed a new era of fintech is starting to shape Aussies’ personal finance management, with crypto apps and BNPL apps consistently featuring in the top 10.

Analysis of data from May 2022 reveals:

· Crypto apps continue to rise in popularity, with Binance downloads increasing by 38% compared to April, as Aussies look beyond more traditional means of investing.

· Buy Now Pay Later apps (BNPL) apps have increased in popularity since the start of the year, however as EOFY approaches, downloads have decreased with the likes of Klarna seeing a decline of 11% in the past month.

· The big four banks do still consistently place in the top ten with NAB, Westpac and ANZ all seeing an increase in downloads in the past month. CommBank consistently places in the top two for most downloaded finance apps.

“We’ve come a long way from the days where Aussies had to desperately search through their crumpled receipts to manage their finances,” said Eugene Du Plessis, regional director of Sensor Tower.

“Whilst banking app usage has been increasing for a while, it’s interesting to see Aussies tapping into the BNPL and crypto trends that are sweeping our nation.”

BNPL: ubiquity, criticisms, and hot water

The BNPL industry has been the subject of many criticisms in recent years, but despite this, the sector continues to see rapid growth in the Australian market.

Earlier this month, Apple launched Apple Pay Later, a buy-now-pay-later service with no interest fees, in partnership with Goldman Sachs Group.

The Apple move marks a running trend of traditional finance (or in Apple’s case, tech) companies offering BNPL services – the top two downloaded finance apps as per the Sensor Tower data have both released their own in-app BNPL function in the last 24 months.

“Despite new fintech players consistently entering the market, the big four legacy banks continue to play a vital part in Aussie’s personal finance management, with CommBank consistently placing in the top two for most downloaded. At SensorTower, we’ll continue to keep a watchful eye on new entrants – perhaps this time next year we’ll even see tax return-specific apps making the cut.” said Du Plessis.

Today, PayPal has rolled out an update designed to make its buy now, pay later (BNPL) offering more enticing amid stiff market competition – notably Apple.

They announced the BNPL service would be expanded with a new Pay Monthly plan, which would allow US-based customers to spread repayments over periods as long as 24 months. This particular component of their BNPL offering is designed to differentiate from competitors like Apple, and capture a greater deal of the market share.

When the Apple announcement was made in early June, BNPL stocks across the market collectively tumbled, with shares in Affirm, PayPal and Jack Dorsey-led Block falling between 1.1% and 4.8%, while ASX-listed peers Zip Co and Sezzle Inc closing down 5.2% and 14.4%, respectively.

Apple’s entry wasn’t the only cause for the market decline. The sector was under existing pressure globally as a boom induced by the pandemic deteriorated, and governments ramped up oversight of what was a largely unregulated industry.

The recent news that Klarna will need to start reporting its credit data to lender was a landmark crackdown for the industry. It came amidst burgeoning criticism from regulators and consumers alike that the easy, accessible nature of BNPL was posing a risk to consumers and their credit scores.

The changes, which will take place in the UK, came amidst rising pressure from regulators to protect consumers from falling into entrapments of debt. Most BNPL firms only perform soft credit checks that don’t affect consumers’ credit scores and are not visible to lenders.

Locally, buy now, pay later offerings will be regulated as credit products by mid-2023, with Labor Financial Services Minister Stephen Jones announcing that Australia’s consumer credit laws would in a way be extended to BNPL products. The news of the latest market entrant, Apple, may have encouraged the push for appropriate regulatory reform in Australia.

Australia’s Most Downloaded Finance Apps for May 2022



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