Women juggle many roles – manager of the household, mother, employer, micro business owner, entrepreneur. All these roles require financial tracking for savings and payments, and you’re probably using different bank accounts for household, business and personal spending. Now there’s a mobile banking app, with prepaid Mastercard too, that can help you easily manage all your money and mobile payments from one place. It’s called Lucy!
Plugging gaps in mobile banking
The app was launched in September 2021 with the aim of helping women in Singapore in managing their finances. Co-founder DEBBIE WATKINS tells us how Lucy addresses the key challenges and pain points women face with banking.
Why a mobile banking app specifically for women in Singapore?
The lack of access to tailored financial services is a universal issue; it’s difficult for most financial institutions to be customer-centric and products are very generic. So people usually end up with a product that doesn’t seem to solve any particular problem.
There are lots of gaps in mobile payment and money management services for women in particular. One of the main reasons behind this is because 98% of senior bank management are male. So there isn’t a focus on understanding the lives and aspirations of women and designing products to solve their problems.
Who will find Lucy useful?
We identified two groups of women in Singapore who require mobile banking services that aren’t really being addressed by mainstream banks.
One group is home-based female micro entrepreneurs. Some of these women are also on dependent passes and have difficulty getting a bank account in their own name.
Besides managing their business, they’re also CEO of their households. They also have to manage finances for the household, the helper and their personal spending.
The other group are foreign domestic workers. They suffer from what we call the poverty tax. Bank remittances to their families are expensive. About 40% of helpers are paid in cash so they also don’t have an organised way to save money or a way to buy things online.
Using the Lucy mobile banking app, they can create as many accounts as they want for different purposes. There’s no fee for opening accounts and no minimum balance required. Each account also comes with a physical prepaid Mastercard and can receive and send money using FAST and PayNow.
What are the mobile banking services Lucy has for micro entrepreneurs?
Microentrepreneurs can create a fee-free account for their business, with no minimum balance. It takes just five minutes and is entirely digital. At the same time, they can also manage their household finances through the mobile payment app. For example, they can have a different account for groceries, bills and personal spending, and each one can have its own prepaid Mastercard with the account name printed on it.
To assist them with managing their domestic helper’s wages, they can set up automated salary payments to their helper’s Lucy account. This account can be enabled for advance wage payments and salary advance management, all of which can be tracked on Lucy.
How does Lucy help foreign domestic workers?
Helpers can request for wages earned up to the day or even an advance on their wages for a flat fee of S$1.
They can access their Lucy account on their phone to perform remittances with a low fee and at the best exchange rates, including sending cash to agents. So they can enjoy their day off rather than spend hours at a remittance agent or bank.
They can also use their physical prepaid Mastercard linked to their Lucy account for online shopping (as well as in physical stores or on public transport in Singapore). So they can use their prepaid Mastercard for online purchases from a shop in their home country and have the item sent to any address there.
Currently, Lucy remittances are to Indonesia and the Philippines. Myanmar is the next country we’re looking at, with more countries available by the end of this year.
How does Lucy help women in financial management?
The different accounts on Lucy follow the principles of money jars that our grandparents used to have. Each jar contains savings for different things such as children’s education, monthly utilities, groceries and more. You can give each jar a name of what you’re saving for.
You can also set goals for each account and as they save money on the Lucy mobile banking app, they can see how close they are to each goal.
How else is Lucy helping women?
We’re launching a rewards scheme for the card on International Women’s Day, 8 March. We’re working with NGOs on a Pay-It-Forward scheme.
Points are accumulated when payments are made using the prepaid Mastercard. The points can be exchanged for tangible things that benefit less fortunate women in Singapore. For example, sponsoring a training course on entrepreneurship skills or providing a food package for someone living in a shelter. You can pick and choose the reward that resonates most with you.
Get the Lucy mobile banking app and prepaid Mastercard
If you’re looking forward to managing your finances from one place, head to the Lucy website at welucy.com to download the mobile banking app. When you start setting up your accounts, you can order the prepaid Mastercards too.