By Elizabeth O'Brien
The federal government isn’t normally associated with technological innovation. So to create an app to help Americans make better financial decisions, the U.S. Department of the Treasury decided to ask for a little help.
The agency held an app design contest, assembling a panel of judges, including representatives from Google and Facebook, to identify ideas with strong potential. The winning idea, an app called Centz, designed to help users manage their student loans, came from Nicole Kendrot of Hoboken, N.J. Among other features, the app would allow users to link information about all of their loans in one place and create a payoff plan that syncs with their budget, and it would suggest ways users can reduce their payment period and total interest by making extra payments. Kendrot was awarded $10,000 to help make her app a reality, the agency said Tuesday.
There’s certainly a need. Americans are estimated to be on the hook for a whopping $840.5 billion in federal student loans.
Runners up included My Next Car, an app to help prospective car buyers save up before buying their wheels, and Moolah, which would assist low-income households with their financial goals, by helping them create a budget with connections to public benefits.