Goldman Boosts Digital Banking With Clarity Buy

The purchase of money-management app Clarity Money continues Goldman's push to expand the services offered by its Marcus digital banking arm.
Matthew HellerApril 16, 2018

Goldman Sachs is buying money-management app Clarity Money in a move that will expand the customer base for its Marcus digital banking business.

Clarity users allow the app to access their current and credit cards so it can help them make better financial decisions, providing them with suggestions for loans they could refinance, subscriptions they could cancel or bills they could renegotiate.

If a customer accepts an offer from another service provider, Clarity takes a finder’s fee.

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The app will add to the services offered by Marcus, which has originated more than $2.5 billion in personal loans since its launch in 2016. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed but The Wall Street Journal has reported that Goldman “is paying a high eight-figure sum for Clarity Money — a rich valuation for a two-year-old startup that has yet to turn a profit.”

“Consumers want a better way to manage their finances,” Stephen Scherr, chief executive of Goldman’s banking arm and head of its new consumer and commercial division, said in a news release. “Clarity Money has pioneered a consumer-centric approach to personal finance that will help Marcus continue to put power in the hands of consumers.”

As The Financial Times reports, Goldman “has been intensifying its push into retail banking, a decade after its conversion from a broker-dealer into a bank that can take consumer deposits.” Marcus also offers high-interest savings accounts, amassing about $20 billion of deposits.

“The aim is to give the 149-year-old bank more streams of revenue as core businesses such as trading are squeezed by tighter regulation, a shift to electronic platforms and stop-start activity among its big institutional clients,” the FT said.

Clarity was founded in April 2016 by Adam Dell, the younger brother of Michael, the founder and chief executive of Dell Technologies. It has raised about $15 million in venture capital from investors including Citi Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners, Sherpa Capital, and Soros Capital.

Earlier this year, Goldman bought Final, a startup that offers customized credit card numbers to cut down on fraud.