Amy Hamilton Chadwick reviews the new Pocketwise website:
Smart, straightforward and totally free: Pocketwise is a website created by four experienced fintech entrepreneurs to compare local prices on financial products.
It’s got a lot in common with international price comparison sites like Britain’s MoneySupermarket and Australia’s Mozo – they all let you browse interest rates and credit cards, alongside some basic money advice. But Pocketwise has a distinctly New Zealand flavour, with KiwiSaver fund information and local real estate listings.
The site is brilliantly designed and user-friendly, offering four basic features.
My favourite is the credit card tool, which shows fees and rewards for the major bank’s various products. This is beautifully simple and effective. With it all set out on my screen, I was able to calculate which card provided the best airpoints-to-fee ratio, and I’m planning to switch – thanks Pocketwise!
The KiwiSaver fund comparison is also useful, particularly because you can filter down to ethical funds-only. I would have liked a self-employed option – there are more than 350,000 self-employed people in New Zealand, and a lot of us are in KiwiSaver.
There’s a personal loan comparison, showing up-front fees, minimum amounts, interest rates and repayments for the sum you want to borrow. With only six providers, it’s easy to figure out the best rates.
The mortgage comparison chart is also easy to use, and includes an interest-only toggle – something a lot of Kiwi mortgage calculators miss. That’s a win.
Then you have the affordability calculator – again, simple to use, but possibly too simple.
Maybe this feature could ask a few more questions, particularly when it comes to buying an investment property. It’s extraordinarily generous, with a delightfully optimistic view of my purchasing power: putting in a household income of $160,000, I can buy a house worth $1.2 million using a $75,000 deposit.
Do you think if I took that screenshot to the bank they’d agree to a 94 per cent loan-to-value ratio? In 2004, that would probably have worked, but this is 2017.
But what wouldn’t have worked in 2004, and does work now, is the integrated TradeMe Property search. It gives you houses in your price range in the area you specified. That’s a fun way to see what’s available in different areas for your price point.
One of Pocketwise’s selling points is its independence: “We're not owned by any financial products company, meaning we're 100 per cent independent.”
That is true, but one of the company’s four main founders is also a director of Harmoney. Aside from the major banks, Harmoney is currently the only other lender featured on the site.
However, one of the founders says they’re in the process of adding other financial product providers to the site, which should balance things out a bit.
As well as expanding its providers, Pocketwise is also planning to expand its features to include foreign exchange, insurance, mobile, managed funds and broadband.
That could make this site an ideal starting point for someone wanting to cut back on costs by reviewing their financial outgoings.
There’s no doubt New Zealand could use a one-stop-shop for financial products and services, and Pocketwise could be that site. It’s got some way to go, but hopefully it will get there.
By Amy Hamilton Chadwick
First published 4 December 2017
JUNO does not contain financial advice as defined by the Financial Advisers Act 2008. Consult a suitably qualified financial adviser before making investment decisions. This story reflects the views of the contributor only. Content comes from sources that JUNO considers accurate, but we do not guarantee that the content is accurate. Charts are visually indicative only.