Huntington launches automated savings tool

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Huntington Bancshares in Columbus, Ohio, has launched a feature in its mobile app to help customers automate their savings.

Money Scout analyzes a customer’s spending patterns, income and expenses and then moves small sums of money, between $5 and $50, to their savings accounts. The company began developing the tool in-house early this year but fast-tracked it when the pandemic hit and customers suddenly needed more help.

“We actually had this in pilot and I chose to accelerate it because I thought there was a need,” said Andy Harmening, the $118 billion-asset company's director of consumer and business banking. “The dollars really add up, and it shows you what’s possible.”

Huntington joins a number of other banks and fintechs offering savings options that play on a similar behavioral principle.

Bank of America has long offered a “keep the change” option that rounds up a customer’s purchases to the nearest dollar and deposits the extra money into savings. Fintech firms like Digit, Qapital and Chime were among the first to offer algorithm-based apps that automatically move money out of a consumer’s account based on spending patterns. Last year, Fifth Third Bancorp in Cincinnati relaunched Dobot, a fintech it bought that follows a similar algorithmic approach.

Huntington conducted a four-month pilot with “a few thousand” people starting in May, Harmening said. The company said Money Scout helped those customers save $1.7 million, or an average of $115 a month.

The tool is housed within Huntington’s digital banking dashboard, called The Hub. Harmening said Money Scout notifies customers before it moves money into savings and that customers can easily shut it off if they’re going through a rough patch.

“It helps people get started and maybe see an opportunity where they didn’t,” he said. “It gives them a cushion where they need it most.”

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