Understanding your spendings with new insights

By Benoit Billington

The latest version of the app offers you extensive new insights into your spending. At a single glance, you can see which categories or merchants you spent the most money on. But why is it so important to have good insights? And how does it work exactly?

At Cake, we are committed to improve the financial well-being of every user. We analyze financial data to help people better understand, control and improve their finances. And, as the cherry on the cake, we share our revenue with our users. 💸

Better insight into your spending

In the latest version of the app, we have added a number of functionalities that give you better insight into your spendings at a single glance. 

When you go to your Spending dashboard, you will see your monthly total spend and your cash flow. But also the top categories and top merchants for your monthly spending.

You can then continue clicking through the categories each time to view a further breakdown by subcategory. Within the food and drink category, for example, you can see how much you spent on groceries and how much on restaurants and bars.

Clicking on the subcategory brings you to the detail of all the individual transactions that make up this amount.

The same way you can click through to the merchants as well.

For example, if you click on Delhaize, you will see from which individual transactions the total amount was built up for that month.

The insights allow you to verify your list of transactions.

It all starts with insight

We want to offer our users a better independent banking app that brings together accounts from different banks and gives them a clear overview and insight. Our mission to improve consumers’ financial well-being starts with helping them better understand their finances. 

We are convinced that a good understanding is the basic requirement to get a grip on income and spending. This is the only way to control and improve financial well-being.

Income and spending are a complex issue. An average person has 40 banking transactions a month and keeping this overview is not easy. Costs also include a wide range of goods and services from many different suppliers. They also differ in terms of necessity (e.g. the payment of an electricity bill versus a party) or in terms of expectation (e.g. the monthly repayment of the loan versus an unexpected breakdown of the car). And there are not only the recurring monthly expenses such as food, but also the large annual expenses (property tax, fire insurance, …). All these aspects make it very difficult for consumers, understandably, to keep a good overview – difficult on an individual level, but even more difficult on a family level. This often leads to a lack of understanding of their own financial situation, let alone the ability to adapt their behaviour accordingly.

Feedback as a building block

In order to be able to offer correct and relevant insights in the app, a solid basis is needed. Nowhere does “garbage in, garbage out” apply more than in this case. The insights we can now offer are the result of months of focusing on enriching the often cryptic transaction information we receive from the banks.

Anyone who has been following us for some time knows that from the first beta tests onwards our focus was on this. The who, where and what of each transaction should be clear: at which merchant (name) and where (place) the expense was made and what for (category).

For a large part we have done this enrichment ourselves based on various sources of information, but for a substantial part it is also done by the users themselves. 

We provide large retail chains or brands with all the necessary information in the app. But if a user wants to change this, it will be given priority over the categorisation we have provided by default. 

For example, it is possible that someone at Carrefour makes a purchase one time in the electronics category and the next time in the shopping category. But it could just as well be that you only go to Carrefour to buy bread and want to put all your expenses at Carrefour in the category “bakery”. The insights we offer are only valuable if each user can decide for themselves what belongs in which category.

When a user indicates in a transaction that the name, place or category should be different, this will initially be applied immediately in the app of the user providing the feedback. But he also trains our data models in this way, making the app better not only for himself but for all users. That’s what we call wisdom of the crowd. Therefore, the user feedback we receive in the app is very important.

Understanding even better

Everything we now offer in terms of overviews and insights is solid and is more than what users will find in most banking apps. At a single glance, we provide insights that allow users to better understand their finances, to which they can or cannot link actions.

To ensure this understanding, we want to offer even more tools in the future.

In the next phase of understanding your finances, we also want to be able to make comparisons with the average of groups of Cake users. This provides a better frame of reference for your own spending. It is this frame of reference that brings the figures to life and provides additional new insights.

It’s a big step forward that, thanks to Cake, you can now see at a glance that, as a family of 4, you spend an average of €850 per month on food and that this includes €300 restaurant costs. This may lead you to reconsider certain costs. But if you know that an average family of 4 monthly spends only €650 on food of which only €150 restaurant costs then you have a better benchmark and you will be able to adjust your behaviour even better if you want to.

From understanding to control

In the longer term, we not only want to make sure you understand your finances, but we also want to offer proactive and automated personal advice. By doing so, we want to give users more control and really help them optimise and improve their financial health. 

And that’s another step closer to our mission to help people better understand, control and improve their finances.

You might like reading this too

Why we share our revenue with our users

Download the app in the App Store and on Google Play.
If you like it, do not hesitate to write a review! 📝