When You Take Cost out of a System, Customers Win

Image by Megan Rexazin from Pixabay 

When we started MaxMyInterest seven years ago, in the wake of the financial crisis, the premise was simple: how can we help individual investors keep their cash safer while earning more at the same time?

The safe part was easy — hold your cash directly, in your own name, in your own bank accounts, but spread it across multiple banks, so that you can obtain more FDIC insurance coverage. By avoiding brokered deposit systems or other gimmicks that promise high yield through obscure structures, you’d always know exactly where your cash was since it was always in your own bank accounts that you could access same-day if needed.

The ability to earn more was also pretty straightforward. It was 2013, and e-commerce was growing rapidly. It had become obvious to most that you could buy a book online for less than the in-store price because you weren’t paying for the costs of operating the store. A book is a commodity, and absent the costs of rent, air conditioning, etc., online stores could sell the book at a lower price and still earn the same profit, if not more.

Putting these two concepts together led to the creation of MaxMyInterest: a platform that would help you keep cash safer while earning more by leveraging the efficiencies of online banks. But we noticed one additional, often-overlooked factor: unlike a book that you purchase once, with a bank account, you’re really making a purchasing decision every single day. Because interest rates change, you don’t want to choose the highest yielding bank today, you want the highest-yielding bank every day.

So we took Max one step further: rather than try to pick banks at a single point in time, we made it easy to open multiple bank accounts at once. Max’s software then automatically routes your cash to whichever of your banks is willing to pay you the highest yield each month.

Along the way, we discovered yet another inefficiency in the market. Historically, banks have had to pay to acquire their customers. Even without branches, online banks still spend a fortune on advertising and click-through referral fees. The result: every dollar that banks spend on customer acquisition is a dollar less that they could pay you in interest.

As the Max platform grew, we found we were able to leverage the scale of our business to drive even more scale, arranging preferential rates and terms for our customers — rates that could only be found on the MaxMyInterest platform. Since Max doesn’t accept advertising, referral fees, or payments per deposit, banks are able to attract high-quality customers at lower cost. In turn, they can then afford to pay higher yields to Max customers. It’s a virtuous cycle that gets better as more and more customers discover Max.

As Max has grown, we’ve invested in making it even easier to open new bank accounts, so that as we add new banks to the platform, Max customers can open new accounts in as little as 20 seconds. No logins, passwords, or trial deposits; just a few clicks followed by near-instant approval.

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, where much uncertainty remains and interest rates are ultra-low, earning as much as possible on your cash while keeping it safe and liquid is as important as ever.