Unifimoney is partnering with brokerage platform DriveWealth to add investment options to its product offerings, the companies announced Wednesday.
The new feature, made available through DriveWealth's application programming interface (API)-enabled technology, joins Unifimoney's existing suite of products, which includes a high-yield checking account, a credit and debit card and investing.
The San Francisco-based startup, which describes itself as a neobank for affluent millennials, is the latest fintech to use automation to help customers save and invest money.
"What we're seeking to solve for is to help accelerate the path to financial resilience through automation of the manual parts that we should all be doing — everyday money management — but we don't because it's complex, hard, repetitive and boring," Unifimoney CEO Ben Soppitt said.
The company, which has been in private beta since April, takes a monthly minimum contribution of $25 and funnels it into a low-cost, diversified robo fund. The company also provides a full suite of investment services. Customers can trade equities, crypto and precious metals. Unifimoney's deposit product services are offered by UMB Bank.
Talks with DriveWealth began almost a year ago, Soppitt said.
"The idea of feeding passive income into a highly diversified low-cost fund, plus giving people the option to trade whatever equities or alternative assets they wish, that was a core part of the proposition from the very beginning," he said.
The coronavirus pandemic and resulting economic uncertainty has heightened the demand for automated saving and investing, Soppitt said.
"What we advocate is a far more systematic approach to planning for financial resilience, but also making it incredibly easy so that it's automated," Soppitt said. "COVID has made our message even more relevant, but certainly more front of mind than it was last year."
DriveWealth has also seen interest in its API platform grow amid the pandemic, said Stephen Nash, the company's head of business development.
"Q1 of 2020 was already at record investment levels, and I would say in Q2 and beyond, we've seen at least an 87% increase over Q1 in terms of investing activities on our platform," Nash said. "That interest, which is predominantly driven by retail investors, is continuing to accelerate with retail investors utilizing the platform through our partners."
DriveWealth's clients include more than a dozen challenger banks, including Revolut and MoneyLion.
Unifimoney also offers student loan refinancing, home loans and mortgage refinancing. The company will offer auto loans starting next week, Soppitt said.
Soppitt and Nash say their partnership represents a growing trend around the "rebundling" of financial services.
"Neobank execs often share that customer asset levels plateau at very low levels, absent options for them to earn meaningful yield on cash, and we enable partners to overcome this by providing their customers with a fully integrated investment option that really differentiates them from other neobanks that are in the market that don't offer investing," Nash said.
Palo Alto, California-based fintech Wealthfront launched its own automated savings and investment plan this month called Autopilot, which monitors a client's account and automatically deposits cash into a separate investment or cash account when a balance exceeds the prescribed amount. Customers can choose which account to monitor and save in and have control over the routing.