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Merrill Edge grabs consumer retirement interest through 3D app

March 3, 2014

Instead of solely focusing on money-management tools, Merrill Edge leverages the mobile photo in a new application designed to spur consumers to immediately start planning for their future.

The Merrill Edge Face Retirement app builds on a similar Web site that the company launched in 2012 that the company claims has been used by nearly one million consumers. The strategy behind the app is to give consumers a sneak peak at what their future looks like so that they will begin planning for their retirement today.

“The new Face Retirement mobile app was created with the goal of motivating users to really think about the costs associated with retirement now and in the future,” said Tim Paul, director of online and mobile channels at Merrill Edge, New York.

“We launched Face Retirement based on Stanford University research that said people who can see the future ‘you’ are much more likely to begin taking control of their retirement planning,” he said. “We hope this will encourage Americans to think about retirement and plan for their future.”

Merrill Edge is an investment service that brings together Bank of America’s banking and Merrill Lynch’s investment expertise.

Getting a mobile perspective
While many financial institutions have used mobile to spur consumers to manage their money better, what is interesting about Merrill Edge’s app is that the focus is less on managing money and more on how consumers physically change as they get closer to retiring.

Using the app, consumers can snap a picture of themselves and type in additional information about themselves, such as their age.

Merrill Edge’s app then uses 3D technology to morph the photograph into a life-like image of what a consumer will look like as they age. The photos can be shared via Facebook and Twitter.

An example of how the 3D technology works

The app shows consumers what they will look like during a few key financial times throughout their lives.

A tab along the bottom of the app pulls up a landing page that shows consumers how much they will need to start investing now to retire. Additionally, the landing page details the expected cost of living increase.

A call-to-action prompts consumers to visit Merrill Edge’s mobile site, which includes content about retiring.

The Face Retirement app is free in Apple’s App Store.

A screenshot showing financial information

Managing finances
In addition to the Face Retirement app, Merrill Edge also offers consumers a mobile app specifically designed to manage financial information.

Clients can choose to either manage their money on their own or open an account that lets consumers receive investing information and advice from a financial advisor.

“Our mobile offerings are an extension of our online platform, including the Merrill Edge Mobile App and Face Retirement Mobile App,” Mr. Paul said.

“They are designed to provide fast access to investment information for our clients on the go,” he said. “The Face Retirement mobile app specifically falls in line with this focus – clients can not only see what they will look like when they retire, but they can also become educated on the forecasted cost of living when they retire and learn about resources from Merrill Edge to begin saving and investing.”

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York

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