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Worldwide favor

Released at: 07:53, 13/05/2018

Worldwide favor

Photo: VET Magazine

Money Lover has proven to be one of Vietnam’s most successful apps on the global stage.

by Hai Van

Modern life, for most people, seems to involve a constant race against time, in particular when it comes to properly managing and monitoring spending and savings. Introduced in 2012, Money Lover makes all this a little easier, allowing users to manage their incomes and expenses and set up financial plans for the future. It works on phones, tablets, laptops, and PCs, on Windows, Android, iOS, and Web.

According to Mr. To Thanh Cong, Chief Operations Officer (COO) at Money Lover, it allows users to note down and prepare their expenses. The app also boasts breakthrough functions such as being multi-platform, which brings a sleeker experience to customers. Money Lover also has a range of smart functions that save time and uses artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to provide reasonable suggestions on expenses.

Significant growth

Mr. Cong said the app was developed based on actual requirements. “Our CEO, Mr. Ngo Xuan Huy, tried to use popular apps at that time to manage his expenses but never felt satisfied,” he explained. “He therefore designed an app based on the problems he was experiencing.” Fortunately, when it was launched it received a favorable response straight away and it was clear that many shared Mr. Huy’s frustration with existing apps. 

Money Lover was downloaded 10 million times last year, six years after being launched, which was up four-fold against 2015. Twenty per cent of Money Lover’s users are in Vietnam while a substantial number are from throughout the region, such as Indonesia and Thailand. Moreover, the US holds great potential and there is also a small number of users from Europe, including Italy, Russia, Spain and France. “Money Lover is available in 29 languages, and the special thing is that its foreign users contact us to correct the language, confirming that they like and use the app,” he told VET

During the annual Google I/O developer conference in Mountain View, California, in May last year, Money Lover was named among the Top 5 best apps; the first and only app from Vietnam or Southeast Asia to make the grade. “This is a source of pride for us,” said Mr. Cong. Its development team also won first prize at the Vietnam Talent Show in 2014, was in the Top 5 startups at the MayBank Fintech 2015 event in Malaysia organized by MayBank, and was named among the Top 5 Vietnamese Startups by the VnExpress news website in 2016.
Money Lover is now cooperating with all commercial banks in Vietnam and has connected with foreign banks to support users in countries around the world. They also help users manage their bank accounts via the PayPal e-wallet and have recently updated features to help users manage electronic money wallets in general. 

Surmounting hurdles

Despite being a leading app in Vietnam, Money Lover has nonetheless had to cope with certain disadvantages. The biggest issue has been maintaining the project, as Vietnamese people are not overly familiar with paying for mobile apps. Not much revenue is being generated in Money Lover’s home country and most initial revenue has come from overseas. “Revenue in Vietnam is too low to maintain quality staff,” Mr. Cong said. “The country represents just 5 per cent of all Money Lover’s revenue.” A life-long version of the app is available in Vietnam for just VND100,000 ($4.40) while a monthly fee is involved in Europe and the US. Improvements are forthcoming all the time.

Mr. Cong said that users have different purposes in using the app. “Some just want to manage different bank accounts, while others want to control loans or set up detailed spending plans, so we expect to provide more modern functions in the future.” The Money Lover team also aims to build an ecosystem with a wide range of apps relating to the management of personal finances, such as information pages on financial products. They are also designing specific products for disparate customer segments, including household and personal spending management.

In the words of famed American poet Mattie Stepanek: “Unity is strength, and when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved,” and Mr. Cong expects more investors to come on board as long as they share similar ambitions and are committed to long-term development. “We don’t care whether investors are domestic or foreign; we just want to find a reliable long-term companion to develop our products and expand to other markets,” he said.

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