Charlie, a personal finance app that began as a chatbot, is relaunching today with a revamped experience focused on the larger goal of helping everyday Americans get out of debt. To do so, Charlie presents users with a full picture of their current debt and how long it will take them to pay it off. Users then connect their bank account to Charlie for personalized assistance in reducing their bills. It also “gamifies” saving money to make the process of setting money aside for paying down debt more fun.
According to Charlie CEO Ilian Georgiev, the idea to turn saving into more of game arose from his prior experience in the mobile gaming industry. At a company called Pocket Gems, he helped scale apps that generated millions of dollars in revenue growth from across millions of users.
“A really well-designed mobile game gets people to obsessively manage a virtual economy,” he explains. “And what I was curious about was how do we get people to do better in the real-world economy by using the same kind of tools?”
To help on that front, Charlie’s team includes people with backgrounds in not only computer science and engineering, but also in psychology. Using similar psychological tricks as found