Question: Could credit cards actually promote financial wellness?
What part of modern life doesn’t revolve around money - whether you have a lot or a little? Despite its presence everywhere, when you ask most people about money, they talk about anxiety and fears. Credit cards often up the volume on the negativity even more. The average American has 4 credit cards – and a whole lot of debt that goes with it. In a society oriented around consumption, the result is about $14 trillion in consumer debt – yikes!
None of this is news to be honest. We’ve all heard about the great American debt problem for decades, and systemic change is necessary to right the ship. But if you focus on individuals, there’s an opportunity to look at things through another perspective - of holistic wellness. Through that lens, we wondered out loud if money and credit cards could be used to increase our self-awareness. In that way, maybe “financial inclusion” could become less about getting unbanked people access to a credit card - and more about giving people access to the tools they need to have a healthy relationship with their finances.
After an exhaustive review of existing research, we realized that we needed to address the money haze – that’s what we call the result of swirling systemic forces so large, they become difficult for individual people to contemplate. How can people chart a course for their personal finances that cuts through the headwinds of advertising, social media, capitalism, and so much else? We used inclusive research methods to create a map towards financial wellness.
First, we conducted a series of semi-structured interviews with money coaches. This is a relatively new profession of folks who bridge the worlds of psychology and financial advising.
Each interview lasted for 60-90 minutes and focused on the origins of their work, a survey of the journey they lead their clients through, and observations of the various trends and forces influencing their practice – including structural circumstances and financial tools.
After synthesizing all the interviews, we arrived at some golden insights...which eventually fueled a co-creation workshop with a series of experts. Together, we co-designed a tool that might help individuals design their own path out of the haze.
Say Hi to Dee! – a new kind of credit card that guides its customers along that path from unconsciousness to awareness. Paired with an app, Dee supports you no matter where you are on your financial journey providing financial education, spend journaling, flexible credit, values tracking and rewards with purpose.