If Pluto was on the phone of every college graduate with a student loan, the US would soon no longer have a problem with rampant student loans. People would be empowered to pay their loan off effectively, take back control of their finances and move on with their lives.
The average member of the class of 2016 in the US graduated with $37,000 in student loans (https://studentloanhero.com/student-loan-debt-statistics/). Pluto is an app designed to empower recent graduates to take control of their student loans, and begin building a strong financial base for their future.
According to the paper, “Money in the Bank: Feeling Powerful Increases Saving,” when people feel powerful and in control they are motivated to save more. That is exactly how Pluto operates. It gives people clear information and forecasts that show them exactly how their actions today will compound in the long term and decrease the amount of interest they will pay on their loan over its full term. Pluto puts the user in a position of power over their loan, and this in turn motivates them to save more.
Pluto operates in conjunction with your bank accounts and loan provider to show all the necessary information to give you a complete picture of your financial situation. It tracks your spending, and when the algorithm detects an increase in savings relative to past weeks it will generate a forecast that shows you the positive impact that this change will have on your loan in the long term, such as the total amount of interest that you will save if you can maintain that repayment rate, and how much sooner you would repay the loan relative to the last week.
Graphs are vital to Pluto. They are what provide the trigger for the user. Clearly showing the long term forecast is vital, as this long term perspective is what is missing when people are just meeting their minimum repayment each month, allowing interest to build up. With long term graphs that show up to date spending data from the user’s bank, the user now has a hook in the app that they want to keep coming back to. They want to see the time until the loan is paid off and their total interest payment ratcheting down every week, even if it is just by a little bit. These two key metrics, and how they are displayed, provide powerful incentives to the user to keep saving.