It’s official. Refundo’s long-awaited mobile banking software has arrived.
OK, so “long-awaited” may be a bit of a stretch. After all, we’ve only been around for a little over a year now. Still, with all the buzz that’s been generated since our tax refund program debuted at last summer’s IRS Tax Forums, many have been asking themselves the question:
“What’ll those youngsters over at that company with the funny name come up with next? What were they called again? Refundo?”
Last week — on Monday, September 9th — an answer to this question came in the form of a tech launch. Looking to add another feature to our arsenal, Refundo’s sleek new mobile banking app was unveiled at the renowned TechCrunch forum, “Disrupt,” in San Francisco. The company’s intent to release its ambitious new program was announced at roughly 2:00pm [fill in actual precise time]. Though it’s not ready to hit the shelves just yet, conventioneers were treated to a sneak-peek of its layout and all the cool features it’ll include.
A “Crunchie” statuette
Refundo’s timing for this release was no accident, either. TechCrunch has played host to a number of major product launches over the last half-decade; for the fifth year in a row, the summit is set to award its annual batch of “Crunchies” to the best and most innovative companies in the field. (Picture the Oscars the Emmys, only with one of our hominid ancestors from Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey instead of the standing man or winged woman). With categories ranging from Best Mobile App to the Best Cloud Service, we knew that the competition would be bringing its A-game in looking to bring home a trophy. That’s all right by us, though. We welcome the challenge.
Not only is TechCrunch a big stage, however. The caliber of celebrities milling about in the audience is intimidating too. A whole range of stars come out for the event, ranging from Hollywood starlets like Jessica Alba — herself a co-founder of the Honest Company startup — to icons of sci-fi geekdom like the great William Shatner, of Star Trek fame. That’s right, folks: Captain Kirk is on record as loving TechCrunch. (This latter species of celeb tends to only turn up at techie events like this and comic book conventions). A few days ago, The New York Times even ran a feature on all the big names who attended TechCrunch “Disrupt” in San Fran.
Actress and businesswoman Jessica Alba at TechCrunch last week
To be sure, the magnitude of an event such as this can be a little nerve-wracking. But our team was up to the test. Rather than bite our nails in anxious anticipation, we took some time to chill out and see what other groups had to offer. No pressure.
So beyond all the pomp and pageantry on display at big industry blowouts like “Disrupt,” what’s the significance of Refundo’s mobile banking app?
Well, for starters, as some of you may already know, online banking has really changed the way that people move and manage their money. Not only is it more convenient and instantly accessible on one’s laptop or smart-phone — you can even automate payments, transfer money from one account to another, and keep a handy record of all your past transactions. All this at the tip of your fingers (quite literally with multitouch tablets and smartphones).
That’s all well and good, you might say, but what sets Refundo’s virtual banking system apart from the competition?
To begin with, there’s the social aspect of the technology we use. Subsequent posts will flesh out this aspect of our mobile banking software with more details, but suffice it to say for now that you’ll be able to check out purchases your friends have made public or deals they’ve tracked down, split checks, etc. Refundo aims to create for its customers an all-in-one banking experience.
Perhaps even more importantly, what distinguishes our banking technology from the rest of the pack is the way it eliminates unnecessary fees and costs. This is a recurring theme we’ll take up in later entries, but what you need to know in the meantime is that if you’re using the standard mobile banking software on the market right now, you’re incurring all sorts of invisible costs and penalties just for making everyday purchases and performing ordinary tasks. Refundo’s interest in developing a banking component largely arose out of our frustration with the way the public was getting nickel-and-dimed by the other big companies and banks. It just ain’t right.
The final major goal we’re hoping to accomplish through the release of this product is to make available to the underserved (sometimes called the “unbanked” or “underbanked”) those services that many of us take for granted. Sociologically, these sections of the population tend to be minorities or immigrants, who either have to leap through all sorts of hurdles in order to get set up an account, or who mistrust the idea of storing money away from a place they can easily access it.
That about does it as far as providing a debriefing from TechCrunch is concerned. Yesterday, TechCrunch — tomorrow, the world! For now, I’m signing off.