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Vanquis Banking Group hopes Snoop deal gives it a competitive edge with budget-conscious UK customers

The news: UK-based Vanquis Banking Group, formerly known as Provident Financial, has acquired the London-based fintech Usnoop, which uses artificial intelligence and data gathered through open banking to help customers better understand and manage their finances.

Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

How does Snoop work? It’s a money management app that lets users track their bank accounts and spending through different providers in one place, and offers budgeting tools, automatic spending analysis, and upcoming bill alerts.

  • The Snoop app uses open banking technology to connect to a customer’s bank accounts and credit cards, and AI to sift through the retrieved data to find money-saving opportunities on bad deals, poor value renewals, and wasteful subscriptions.
  • The app pledges savings of up to £1,500 per year (about $1,915.67) for the average British household in a period when energy bills and other living costs have been rising sharply.
  • The Snoop app has been downloaded more than 1.5 million times, and sources told SkyNews it had generated over £1 million ($1,276,773.50) in revenue last year.
  • It also helps businesses monitor consumer spending habits and transactions on its platform to better understand their customers.

The standard app is free, but a £4.99 (about $6.37) monthly subscription service to Snoop Plus gives users access to more features, such as creating unlimited spending alerts and custom spending reports, or tracking total net worth.

A shared demographic target: Former Virgin Money and Salesforce UK and Ireland CEO Dame Jayne-Anne Gadhia launched Snoop in 2019, seeking to leverage open banking reforms to assist consumers with saving on household bills.

Vanquis, which targets consumers who have been declined credit from high-street lenders and its focus on subprime lending, is a logical buyer for the business.

  • The takeover is expected to help Snoop grow through access to the banking group’s 1.7 million customers.
  • And Vanquis could use the fresh boost supplied by innovative tech. On July 28th, it reported a pre-tax loss of £14.5 million ($18,139,500) in its half-year results, but said it had performed well amid "uncertain macroeconomic conditions." That’s down sharply from a profit of £46.9 million ($58,671,900) the same time last year, after it saw costs climb amid persistently high inflation.

Our take: In and of itself, the Snoop app is less important than the example it offers of a fintech exploiting two different tech developments, open banking and AI, to solve a problem for consumers.

Surveys show that 77% of UK banking customers suffer from anxiety while checking their banking apps during the ongoing cost-of-living crisis.

  • 57% of UK respondents said they want their banks to proactively reach out if their spending habits could lead to financial trouble.
  • 26% of consumers said they want their bank to remind them of upcoming bills and let them know if they have enough money to cover them.
  • 22% said they want a daily or weekly summary of where they are spending their money, and 21% said they want instant spending notifications.

Open banking has become synonymous with making it easier for consumers to switch accounts—and in the eyes of some, for banks to lose customers to competitors. But it’s always had greater potential than that. Apps like Snoop will help open banking achieve its promise of empowering financial consumers to better manage their financial lives and control their personal data.