Digital finance leader MoneyLion aims to rewire the financial system to positively change the path of every hard-working American.

Fintech Explained interviewed MoneyLion’s Chief Product Officer Tim Hong about the company’s mission, the importance of open finance to break down barriers to financial services, and its message to regulators in Washington.

Tell us about MoneyLion’s mission and the consumers you serve.

MoneyLion is the go-to destination for personalized financial content, offerings, and advice. MoneyLion’s mission is to rewire the financial system so every customer can live their best life without worrying about money. To build a positive culture around money, we develop and curate content to engage and empower consumers. Through our Consumer business, we offer products that serve customers throughout their financial journey — both in times of need and to save, invest and earn. Our Enterprise business delivers leading embedded finance, marketplace, and media solutions for enterprise customers and partners.

How is MoneyLion breaking down barriers to financial services, particularly for underserved communities?

Our Consumer business, or the MoneyLion app, is centered around hyper-personalized financial management, content, offerings, and advice. A key differentiator for MoneyLion is our use of content. Our media asset creates engaging, motivational, fun, and educational financial content. It also utilizes a vast network of diverse and influential creators. The MoneyLion app is powered by large amounts of data, gathered through billions of consumer transactions with our financial products, that our customers authorize us to analyze. We use this data-driven approach to offer innovative tools that address our customers’ life inflection points and financial circumstances.

When our customers enjoy periods of financial excess, we provide tools to easily manage their spending and saving goals through our digital banking and automated investing solutions. When our customers experience moments of financial need, we offer them immediate access to innovative lending or earned income advance products and credit improvement programs to bridge these times of financial stress and improve their financial health. We provide access to personalized, proprietary products and financial and non-financial products offered by third-party providers through our enterprise marketplace partners.

What are the most significant regulatory challenges that MoneyLion faces in Washington?

The regulatory structure is antiquated. MoneyLion stands ready to engage with regulators to develop thoughtful solutions that protect consumers and allow for innovation. The approach from regulators, however, often tries to shoehorn innovative financial solutions into a decades-old regulatory framework designed for brick-and-mortar banks. Additionally, we often see that regulators try to preference one business model over another. In our view, regulators should take an approach that is business model agnostic, that allows companies to compete and innovate in a manner that protects consumers. Consumers love the products that fintechs like MoneyLion and other FTA members are creating. Just look at the adoption rates and NPS scores. We need a regulatory structure that keeps pace.

How does open finance help you compete with legacy financial institutions and provide consumer-friendly products?

Consumer authorized access to data is paramount to driving positive outcomes for our customers. We believe consumers benefit when their financial partner understands their entire financial life and can provide both access and advice at the right time and place, and, importantly, with the appropriate solution. Traditional providers generally attempt to sell consumers specific financial products, only seeking to qualify them as suitable buyers and generate a fee. With a deep, data-driven understanding of our customers and a broad set of integrated, tailor-made products, we can guide our customers to use our products when and if appropriate for their needs, creating a mutually beneficial partnership. However, MoneyLion’s destination approach means that we also work closely with traditional financial institutions and other industry participants to offer the best solution for our customers. Specifically, our embedded finance marketplace digitally connects and matches consumers with real-time personalized financial product recommendations from a growing network of financial institutions, insurance, and fintech partners.

How do you see the fintech industry changing over the next five years?

MoneyLion is proud to be at the forefront of change — not just in fintech but in the financial industry at large. We have pioneered in areas like bank accounts without overdraft fees, advance access to up to $1000 of earned wages, and holistic bundles of financial capabilities that empower customers no matter their needs. These tools, and more, can now be seen throughout the financial services industry, all to the consumer’s benefit.

Moving forward, we’ll see the customer continue to be at the center of everything. Far more than just a set of accounts or tools, fintech has the opportunity to democratize financial advice and personalized content and build communities that help uplift consumers to achieve their goals and build financial opportunity and resilience.