Personal financial management (PFM) providers are trying to get consumers to use the tools more frequently, and MoneyDesktop this week made a move to embed its services deeper into the credit union space by partnering with CUBUS, a credit union technology company.

"We can tightly integrate PFM tools with the credit union's system to make it a seamless part of the online banking interface that CUBUS has introduced to the market," says Keith Riddle, vice president of strategic partnerships for MoneyDesktop. CUBUS develops and deploys online banking and other tech solutions for credit unions.

Its online banking platform is what the company describes as "widget-based," providing a customizable dashboard representation of banking tasks and data, such as account data, bill payment, transfers and other services that's accessible via a single sign-on. MoneyDesktop's PFM tools will be included in that mix of services on a white-label basis.

"CUBUS has a modular online banking platform that provides flexibility for the credit union, and with [HTML5] we can align our PFM service to the same degree of modularity," Riddle says.

To promote consistency, MoneyDesktop's web interface is programmed using HTML5. HTML5 a version of HyperText Markup Language that can accommodate "responsive design" to provide web content that automatically adapts to different mobile devices.

In the case of MoneyDesktop and CUBUS, HTML5 will allow PFM tools to reside alongside or in close proximity to mobile banking functions, so consumers can view budgets and spending history as they are conducting banking transactions. "We started building our own, but we figured that our own customers would benefit from [a PFM specialist]," says John-Ashley Paul, president of CUBUS, who says the company was particularly attracted to MoneyDesktop's MoneyMobile application, which optimizes the PFM tools for smartphones and tablets.

Across the entire PFM industry, adoption has been a challenge. Despite the considerable buzz PFM gets in tech circles, consumers have not embraced the tools.

MoneyDesktop, which says that at some clients up to 60% of web banking consumers are using its PFM tools, relies partly on design to boost usage. MoneyDesktop's budgeting tool is presented to users in a series of "bubbles" which get larger and change colors depending on the amount of money a person has allocated to a particular category of spending, and how close he or she is to a monthly spending limit for that category.

The company believes the visual presentation, coupled with the tight integration with other types of online banking, will help boost usage of PFM. "Having the technology embedded so closely brings PFM a greater awareness," Riddle says.

Among MoneyDesktop's rivals, Geezeo, which also offers its services to financial institutions on a white-label basis, says it can also tightly combine PFM with online banking, which is enabled through Geezeo's application programming interface.

"Geezeo has relationships with several large and small online banking providers and core processors, to ensure not only a strong single sign on, but an integrated, seamless user experience that best supports the financial institution and the online banking experience," says Bryan Clagett, a spokesman for Geezeo, which this week signed its 140th financial client.