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Business

Berlin start-up launches portal to stop you wasting money

Berlin-based start-up MoneyMap wants to save Germans money by managing their utility, phone and insurance agreements. The site's co-founder spotted a market gap as more than half the public never change energy suppliers.

The liberalization of Germany's energy market was billed as offering consumers more choice. But with close to 150 different electricity and gas tariffs available (after a quick look at the price comparison website check24.de), perhaps we now have too many options.

For all of our financial arrangements - from cell-phones to car insurance, credit cards to multi-channel television - there are numerous providers encouraging us to enter multi-year contracts, which guarantee their monthly fees.

But many consumers complain that the process is not always transparent. They say they're bombarded with too much information and are often unable to pick the best and cheapest option.

That's where MoneyMap comes in. More than a price comparison website, the Berlin-based tech firm wants to effectively take responsibility for your important financial agreements.

Watch video 03:20

Why Germans are good at saving

The company says users could save hundreds of euros by allowing the app to recommend the best alternative suppliers.

How it works

You give the MoneyMap website permission to access your bank account. It then analyses your regular bills, how much you're paying, and works out the earliest time you could change the provider.

It will then advise you how and when to move to a new supplier. Pretty soon, the company says it will be able to take care of the switch digitally, and avoid unnecessary paperwork.

MoneyMap's co-founder and Managing Director Frank Broer told DW that his portal will help customers avoid information overload.

"MoneyMap brings transparency into its customers' running costs, cancels overpriced contracts and switches to more economic providers," he said.

Consumer trust is key

German consumers are open to the idea, according to MoneyMap's research.

"Customer acceptance for using the bank account for new services is increasing," Broer said, adding that 60 percent of Germans are in favor of having their financial situation analyzed by data from their account.

BdT Deutschland Sonnenuntergang Brieselang Windturbinen (Getty Images/S. Gallup)

Germans currently pay some of the highest electricity prices in the world as the country moves to renewable energy

He said EU regulatory changes as well as developments in smartphone technology have helped overcome hurdles to offering such a service.

Consumers can also choose not to give bank account access and instead input their data manually.

At present, MoneyMap can only advise on the best and cheapest energy suppliers, but shortly plans to offer a range of solutions, including cell-phone and internet, media and insurance.

"The potential for our business is enormous, considering that many Germans have never switched a contract," Broer told DW.

He estimated that Germans could collectively save 5 billion euros ($5.33 billion) by switching to a cheaper electricity supplier, for instance.

Backing the start-up is the Berlin Fintech incubator Finleap. MoneyMap already employs 20 staff and has just launched its German portal, with English and other languages to follow, as well as an app.

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