No trip down Madison Avenue or the local mall is complete without window shopping. But for some, window shopping can quickly spiral into yet-another maxed out credit card. Online banking firm Ally wants to help curb the unexpected spender inside of us with its own little app called Splurge Alert.
As the name suggests, Splurge Alert aims to stop you from spending too much money on guilty pleasures. Anytime you get a little too close to that Starbucks, Macy’s, or Best Buy, Splurge buzzes up in your phone and warns you not to break the bank again.
“The Splurge Alert app was designed as a creative way to bring attention to areas where consumers, and celebrities, tend to overspend,” Ally’s Chief Marketing Officer, Andrea Riley, told Digital Trends in an email interview.
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You can set up your stores by category, including designer fashion, fast food, electronics, and even liquor stores. Then, Ally’s Splurge app will use the Google Maps API to locate nearby stores that meet your category, and warn you to stay strong and avoid temptation as best you can.
But the warnings don’t end there. Ally’s Splurge App will not just warn you about avoiding that urge to go inside, but it’ll let your friends know about it, too. You can set up “Splurge Buddies” who will get alerts via text message when you enter a splurge zone. Then, your friend can also jump in and tell you to stop before you spend.
If you do enter the store, you and your friend will be alerted. Messages like, “Grab a nice big cup of ‘Get the heck outta here,’” might appear in all their cheesy glory from your iPhone to try and encourage you to get out while you can.
The app doesn’t link to social media, and you don’t need the app to be a buddy, which makes the setup a bit more discrete and easy. It doesn’t try to sell you anything, either, nor do you need to be an Ally customer for the app to work. According to Riley, Ally is just trying to just get the word out to millennials about overspending.
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“According to a poll conducted on Ally’s behalf, 85 percent of consumers are guilty of splurging at least occasionally. We believe that it’s beneficial to raise the conversation and awareness around overspending,” noted Riley.
When it comes to financial apps, this has to be one of the most interesting — and off-beat — ones we’ve seen yet. Ally isn’t trying to get you to be a customer out of the app right now, and it’s free to use and free for your buddies to join in on the fun. If you’ve got a bad habit you’re looking to kick, this app might be worth downloading. There’s certainly a few habitual splurgers out there who could use some negative reinforcement.
Right now, Ally’s Splurge Alert is available for iOS devices as a beta. You can sign up to test it here.