Robinhood Markets (NASDAQ:HOOD) is helping a new generation of young investors get started building wealth, but the “gamification” of its app could pose problems. Instead of Robinhood, Motley Fool contributors Jason Hall, Toby Bordelon, and Nicholas Rossolillo discuss three other fintech stocks they like on this Motley Fool Live “The 5” segment recorded on Sept. 15.
Jason Hall: Toby dropped this one in here. This is all over the financial media today, Robinhood’s College Tour. The company is launching a marketing campaign, targeting college students, and they’re probably getting more free advertising dollars right now and all the articles written about this than they are going to actually spend in doing this. But what they’re doing is they’re going out to colleges that actually have management and reps traveling to community colleges and universities all over the country. If you sign up with your college email address, you get $15 credits and they’ll enter you into a big giveaway. Guys, I have to admit, man. This reminds me back in the ’90s on college campuses and there’s the booth setup and it’s the credit card companies. It’s just so damn predatory, and it’s probably totally unfair for me to be thinking about it, right guys? Because they’re doing what we say people should be doing. Getting people investing as young as possible is great. I just struggle with the gamification of their app. I worry that young people will get burned because they’re going to start trading, and not investing, and then they’re going to swear off stocks, and that’s the thing I hate about it. But I think I just have to get over it here. Maybe, Toby, what do you think? You remember those, get your credit card college freshmen booths?
Toby Bordelon: I do. That’s the first thing I thought of when I saw the story just like you. I’m like, oh my gosh, it takes me back. But yeah, I fall in the same side that you do. I mean, I like that people are getting interested in investing. I think how much better would we all have been off instead of those booths with the credit card. It was a booth like sign up for Schwab or whatever brokerage, but yeah, I don’t know.
Hall: Toby, I think the problem is you and me. I think it’s us. I don’t think it’s Robinhood here.
Bordelon: It may be. When I think about invest, I’m not sure Robinhood’s goal is to get people into investing. I think the goal is to get people trading as much as possible, and that’s something flaws.
Hall: Well, if you think about their economic model, that’s what drives their revenues. That’s the key. Well, here is a question I want to answer. Nick, I’m actually going to ask you to go first here. I don’t even want to talk about Robinhood anymore. What’s your favorite FinTech stock to own for the long term?
Nicholas Rossolillo: Okay, not Robinhood. Square (NYSE:SQ). I like Square. They’ve got all the tools that a small business or a consumer would need all rolled up into one app. The Afterpay acquisition is getting all the headlines, but they made a couple of other pretty cool acquisitions recently as well. They’ve got the tax prep business they picked up from Credit Karma. They’ve made it clear they want to be in on the creator economy when they got a controlling stake of Tidal. I’m going to piggyback on the Robinhood conversation anyways. I think Square actually does something similar with Bitcoin (CRYPTO:BTC). It’s a fantastic marketing tool to get people onto Cash App trading Bitcoin, and from there, they can sell the services that actually generate revenue and profits for Square if they can just onboard them on the Cash App because of the ability to buy and sell Bitcoin. These tech companies are good at not just marketing, but the psychology behind it as well. That’s just how they pick up customers, and I think it comes down to figuring out, is it harmful the way they do it or is it a healthy product that they’re selling their users. In the case of Robinhood and getting people interested in investing and also Square in getting people interested in finance as well, they also have the stock trading platform on there. I like the business for the long term.
Hall: At risk of angering our overlords insert comment about Motley Fool marketing here. [laughs] Toby, what’s your favorite FinTech stock?
Bordelon: FinTech. I’m going to go a little further afield here when you need to find FinTech, but I’m going to go with Intuit (NASDAQ:INTU). Intuit is, I think, a company I like right now. Now, you might think of them as they’re the people who do TurboTax. They do. They owned Quicken and they spun it off, but now they’re back in the consumer space. Intuit owns Mint, which is an app favorite by millennials. It’s consumer finance app.
Hall: I love it, I use it all the time.
Bordelon: Yeah, Mint is great. They just recently bought Credit Karma, which is a nice, little tuck-in for them expanding onto the consumer side.
Hall: I’m on Credit Karma once a month.
Bordelon: There you go.
Hall: I’m also not young, but yeah.
Bordelon: Yeah, you’re not young, but you’re youngish.
Hall: I’ll take it.
Bordelon: Yeah. Then on the business side, they of course have QuickBooks. They just a couple of days ago announced the acquisition of, like the name of the company, Mailchimp.
Hall: Yeah, Mailchimp. Twelve billion dollars, right?
Bordelon: Yeah, it’s 12 billion, big acquisition. They’re the largest acquisition ever. But Mailchimp, which they’re probably going to beef up their small business side, but great company and if you go to their website, the tag line that you will see is “Overcome your financial challenges.” So using technology to help people with financial problems, offering solutions to financial problems. Very different business than what it was 20 years ago. But worth taking a look at.
Hall: Yeah, I think you’re spot on, because you tossed out a bunch of names that are well-known. That younger app ecosystem people are very familiar with, but Intuit just is a stodgy name that people don’t know owns so many of those great brands. I’m going to go with Lemonade (NYSE:LMND). So you’re talking about a stodgy industry, doesn’t get much more stodgy than insurance. It’s as old as people having assets that they were worried about losing, it’s finding somebody with money that would be willing to replace it. Lemonade is disrupting that in a couple of different ways, like targeting the financial incentives. I think it’s really interesting, right, to better align insurees with insurers. Basically having a take rate and saying, OK, this is the money we’re going to take. This is ours, the rest of it we’ll use to cover underwriting and we’ll use reinsurers, a combination of those two things. And then any of that that’s leftover at the end of the year, hey customers, you just tell us your favorite charities and we’re going to divide it up and we’re going to give all that leftover money to charities. By not creating a float model and the incentives to not pay customer claims, immediately, you improve their customer relationship as a customer. Your ability to pay claims faster are improved because the incentives are changed. As a customer, I want to be a little more honest because I said Wildlife Fund is my charity. If I lie about a claim, I’m taking money from my charity, I know I’m doing something unethical that’s going to hurt a charity that I believe in. So realigning those incentives are important. They talk a lot about using AI and technology, I think that’s part of it, but I really think the killer app here is realigning incentives. I don’t think that gets enough credit. You think about some of the growth rates, grew their customer base about 50 percent year-over-year, enforce premiums up over 90 percent, premium per customer up to 29 percent. So you start talking about revenue retention rates. So that’s kind of their equivalent there, it’s really good. Starting with pet insurance, renter’s insurance expanding over time, adding auto, adding homeowners. So you think about starting with the relationship with the young adult, with basic insurance needs. As their needs grow over time, as their financial life becomes more complicated, you have kids, you buy a house, all of the things that we do, creating a sticky ecosystem and changing the incentives to make people love their insurance company instead of hate it, I think it’s really powerful and that’s why I like Lemonade.
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