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The US-based fintech, which enables consumers to connect their bank accounts to other financial services providers, has partnered with Microsoft to let consumers automatically connect their finance data to Excel via a new service dubbed Money in Excel, according to a blog post.
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Initially, the new service is available to all Microsoft 365 subscribers in the US, but a wider rollout seems likely in the future. The partnership was announced as Microsoft launched a number of new products and rebranded its monthly subscription service from Office 365 to Microsoft 365, which will continue to cost $6.99 and $9.99 for personal and family plans, respectively.
Money in Excel aims to help consumers better manage their finances, and Plaid’s integration with an extensive network of financial institutions makes the tool particularly useful. With Money in Excel, users can import data from their bank accounts, sync balances and transactions over time, and gain a better understanding of their financial situation.
They can view a monthly snapshot of their finances and further customize the service by adding templates, such as for recurring expenses and net worth. Under the partnership, Plaid provides the permissioned connection to financial accounts via Plaid Link. Plaid already connects with 11,000 institutions across the US, Canada, and Europe — and in the US specifically, it supports nearly every financial institution, per the company, including retail banks and community credit unions. This ensures that Money in Excel will be useful for the majority of consumers.
While the personal finance management (PFM) space is getting increasingly crowded, Plaid’s network and a desktop-friendly interface may make Microsoft’s new service stand out.
- Money in Excel will compete with numerous PFM tools from legacy financial institutions and fintechs alike. Consumers have a variety of options to manage their finances, including their traditional bank apps, which are increasingly adding PFM tools. Additionally, neobanks like Chime and Aspiration boast PFM functions like spending insights, while standalone PFM apps like Cleo are seeing increased uptake. In the UK — a comparable market to the US — just 17% of consumers are now using Excel sheets to manage their money, compared with 53% using the mobile app of their conventional bank, per YouGov.
- That said, being available on desktop could give Money in Excel a competitive edge. Money in Excel can use the larger desktop screen to its advantage by giving users a more comprehensive overview of their spending habits, as opposed to what can be shown on a smaller screen via competing mobile-only PFM services. Microsoft’s service could therefore prove particularly useful for longer-term finance management as opposed to daily check-ins, especially since the Plaid integration will allow for a truly complete view of users’ finances. Additionally, though only a small percentage of consumers currently use Excel to manage their finances, the availability of a tool engineered specifically to work with its interface could convince more consumers to employ it.
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