Alternative Finances

Ally Financial Uses Teamwork To Help Consumers Control Their Spending

Just when it seems easy to think that every application on Earth is being optimized to sell consumers something, a maverick comes along and goes in a very opposite direction.

Ally Financial is testing an app called “Splurge Alert,” which is targeted at helping consumers control their spending by sending them “splurge alerts” when they are in geographic proximity to stores where they have a history of overspending. The app also has a feature that allows it to alert friends so they can intervene.

The app might find a receptive audience in U.S. consumers, given the results of a Harris poll that shows 85 percent of Americans admit to splurging. A splurge, for the purposes of this study, is any item purchased by a consumer for reasons other than need and at any price.

Ally’s new app asks users to identify stores and areas where they tend to overspend and to select friends or family who can help them avoid overspending pitfalls. When the app user ventures forth to an overspending area, the app alerts the chosen “talk-down” list so that they can help their buddy stay away from the spend zone.

“The intent of this fun and insightful tool is to raise awareness for consumers about spending habits that may be keeping them from attaining their savings goals,” noted Andrea Riley, Ally’s chief marketing officer.

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