Things keeping many people I know from going all in on Envel'r

The following is a list of things that have made it difficult to get up and running with Envel as my primary fintech/neobank type app and platform. I’m not trying pile on with feature requests that have been made before or tell anyone why they shouldn’t use the app. It’s only what I’ve see that’s an impediment for people like me and those that I know to adopt the app the way we’d like to.

Support: zero communication
I tried joining the app no fewer than 5 times over the course of a month. Each time it failed, I contacted support and waited for a response that never came. Eventually I tried again and was able to get my account created with no explanation about what was different that last time.

eI understand that you’re a small team trying to be lean but if you don’t have time to answer support requests for people TRYING to get onto your platform, there’s a major problem. How can you properly serve them once they’re actualy on the platform?

On bording: Getting funded
The thing most people ask me about is playing with the app so they can see how the envelope system works. Now I spent hours combing through the details on the website and reading every word of the terms (don’t quiz me though). I got a sense for what the app was capable of right after my account was created/approved but they want “feel” it by creating envelops and moving money around on my phone first. I have to tell them that I’m still waiting to get money into the account that was created on earlier this week. Why?

  1. There’s no Virtual Debit card that I can put into Apple Pay and transfer funds to so I have to wait for a physical card to arrive. It could be done when the account is created or it could be done when the debit card is minted after being ordered.
  2. I can’t add my Envel account(s) to my Chime, SoFi, or Credit Union accounts using Plaid so I have to use the slower mechanism that’s only available on very few of those where I put in the Routing and Account number then wait for “trial” deposits that take 1-5 days. Then once those are done I can send a transfer into the account which will take another 1 - 5 days.
  3. There’s no QR Code or Virtual Debit card that you can take to a place like Walmart, 7-11, Dollar General, CVS, etc to load cash into your account.
  4. There’s no integration with reload cards, western union, moneygram, etc. I admittedly haven’t tried doing a wire into the Envel account from one of my CU branches.
  5. There’s no address I can overnight a money order or certified funds to

Now I get it, many of those solutions are pits/traps that keep the under banked from being able to maximize the capital they have. That said there are still many options for getting accounts funded quickly and zero of the above work with Envel. I’m going to try wiring money into my account just to see what’ll happen and that will cost me ~ $30

On bording: integration
Several of the people I tried to get onto the platform have their Accountants or Tax Attorney’s pull their financial data from various apps that use Plaid. My understanding, which is imperfect, is that they go into the office for the professional; the professional pulls up some screen and hands over the keyboard; then the username and password is entered for logging in via Plaid. I personally think it’s stupid to put your credentials into a system you don’t own and control but that’s beside this particular point. They need Plaid integration for their workflow.

On bording: integration (again)
Having a limit of 1 bank account for plaid is a big issue for me and a number of others.

On bording: integration (again)
Some Plaid integrations allow you to enter a Routing and Account number for those accounts that aren’t accessible by simply searching for an institution in the UI. Missing that feature means that there are accounts can’t be added thus presenting a problem for integrating Envel into existing financial workflows
Example from another app I use followed by the view from Envel:

Perception: Duplicate and/or Conflicting information
In some cases (FAQ vs Help Center vs Blog) there’s duplicate information that just seems to be copy/pasted from one of the others. It makes it difficult to determine which is the canonical source. Then you have something like…
From the TOS:
Screen Shot 2021-11-25 at 9.55.45 AM
From the FAQ:
Screen Shot 2021-11-25 at 9.56.40 AM

Then there’s this one about the envelope system:

Screen Shot 2021-11-26 at 7.31.14 AM

The way it’s worded leaves much room for confusion. I and a number of people thought that the External Bank Account Envelopes were a way to set up automatic transfers to your accounts. Then there’s this wording which is slightly different (in more than just the bit about External Bank Account Envelopes)

Perception: Confusion with other apps
I’ve spent quite a bit of time explaining to people who’ve hear of other apps how envelopes in Envel are different from “boxes” or “jugs” or whatever and how the AI is not quite like that the automatic thing on this plat or that. Sure, in a broad sense there’s considerable overlap with an app or two here if you’re not into details. I happen to be into details and most of the content out there in the fintech space comes from people who gloss over the minutia. I like the comparison chart you did with One and I think more like that would help. More than that I think you need more videos on your youtube channel that actually explain the features. What’s up there now is… meh. With the exception of “Envel Envelopes Explained” your content has no voice, and mostly no music. There are no clear walk throughs of some of the features. This would go a long way toward informing the public about your platform. People don’t read like they used to. Critical thinking is becoming a lost art. I think you need to invest in the messaging around what makes your platform stand out in a way that’s accessible to most people. Look at any of the “banking app” vloggers on Youtube and notice how the bigger names tend to gloss over the features of Envel that make it different from the others. In particular look at the ‘vs’ videos. Yes, they may mention in passing that there are account numbers tied to each envelope but that doesn’t make the point.

Perception: Fly by night
Take a look at the post by @BSTechWrld about his support experience. Look above at my support experience. Look at the envel subreddit post titled “I’m having a terrible time with envel”. There is a perception had by some (many?) that Envel is not appropriately engaged in delivering the experience customers need. I’m not trying to pile on on the support issues in particular. I know that you’re a small team with many things going on at once. I don’t know what you’ve defined as success for your organization or who you’ve identified as your competition (in your own eyes). For the people I tried to get to join (and invest), they see everyone of your competitors having delivered more in less time. I’m not sure when everybody started or launched officially but Envel has been promising features for a while that still haven’t been delivered. That by itself isn’t necessarily an issue but when looking at competitors who have those features already it makes for a tough sell.
Several times I got a question like “well what have they done with $7 million in funding when XYZ only had…?” followed by conversations about not knowing how long you’ll be around because those other companies have different types of issues. They aren’t issue free but they don’t have a bunch of people complaining that they never heard from support or that the app was wildly buggy for them or that they were waiting for a feature for over a year that they thought would be delivered “shortly”. All of that affects confidence that the company will be around for any significant period of time and makes people reluctant to invest their time in adopting and their money in supporting.

I say all of this as someone who wants you to succeed. While I mention features, I do so in the context of use cases that are actual stoppers for people that I’ve had real world conversations with. I hope this helps. I didn’t spend all of this time to bring anyone down. I think you’ve got something there and I want to see if flourish.

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Hey there,

Thank you for the feedback, and I apologize for the late response, I was on vacation last week.

Communication: I think I mentioned this in a previous post, but we’ve decreased our average wait time to just a few hours. I recommend hoping on this platform, our Discord, or our social media channels if you are not getting a prompt response, and I will follow up wit the appropriate team member.

Funding/Integration: Many updates coming that will improve this, including Plaid Integration (which is completed on our end, we are just waiting for Plaid team to give the green light), and debit card top ups.

Integration: you should be able to link multiple accounts, as long as you don’t try to link the same account again less than 90 days after its deleted.

Envelope system: excellent point on the external envelopes, I’ve changed the language to clarify and will have our web developer deploy later today. Is this also unclear to you in the app?

Best,
Jacqui

It might be nice to call this out in the app. If I recall correctly, when I signed up, I had an issue with id verification and got a chat bot telling me to leave a message and someone would get back to me but no one ever did. I then went to the website and found an email address, used that and again no one ever got back to me. I have no problem with your support channels being things like reddit, this forum, etc but it should be clear (from inside the app) that those are the best way(s) to get a prompt response.

To be clear: I’m talking about having more than one account linked at a time. The idea of needing to link on and then unlink it to link another and then rinse and repeat is untenable for most of the people I’ve talked to.

No, inside the app it’s fine, thanks.

I’ll add that my sister and I were playing with shared envelopes this weekend as well as a few other people who signed up with the app. The fact that we could not share envelopes without granting access to our contacts is a HUGE issue for some. I’m a tech guy who spent years compromising systems and then defending them. I run every single “client” application on my personal laptop inside a disposable “container” because I don’t trust software to not have exploitable bugs. My point is that I’m the worst case scenario when it comes to users overthinking the security implications of actions that most people take for granted. My sister, on the other hand, is not. She’s mostly a typical user and when I got her to open the app and try sharing an envelope with me… well see for yourself
Screen Shot 2021-12-07 at 1.49.34 AM
We then talked about the potential dangers of sharing your contacts with apps and that was lead/prompted by her not me.

I know that at one point you could create a share-link for envelopes, I don’t know why that’s not visible in the UI anymore. There are many people who will balk at granting access to contacts JUST to have a shared envelope. As a consultant I’m frequently forbade from sharing contact information explicitly by contract by the organizations that I work with. If I connect my phone to their directory, I’m screwed. Well, I personally am not. I’ll just grab one of my dev phones and create another profile but most users don’t have that luxury.

Anyway, thanks for taking the time to read and respond

Hey there,

Thank you for your response. When did you onboard? Was it recently or a while ago? We have recently improved our support response time, its possible you onboarded before these improvements were made.

So the thing about support, is that it actually takes longer for them to get back to you if you send multiple messages (such as one email and one in the app), as they have to figure out which ones are duplicate tickets. Going forward, I would recommend sending one message to support (either by email or in the chat), and then if you don’t receive a response within a day (or less if its an urgent issue) popping a note on one of the other channels. The support email and in app chat are the first lines of response, the other channels are more just to give users a voice to give feedback on the app and reach out if they need urgent support that isn’t being addressed.

For linked accounts: you can link as many as you’d like. The 90 day rule is only for a particular account. E.g. if I link my Capital One bank, delete it, and then try to relink it in a month, it will make me wait another few months. This is a rule implemented by our banking partner to prevent fraud. However, even if I unlinked my Capital One, I could add my Bank of America (and any other new accounts I haven’t previously linked) without waiting at all.

Good point about the contacts- bringing this up to the dev team to see if we can get the share link back in place. I did ask our dev team, and they assured me that we don’t actually store all of the users contact details on our systems: maybe we say this on the app so people feel more secure?

Best,
Jacqui

Well, for me the feature is “disabled” at this point


Before this, I used to see a message that said something about only being able to link a single account at a time.

Hey there! Have you contacted support about this? They should be able to tell you why this is locked.

Best,
Jacqui

I did, inside the app. I got the standard “response in a day” type message but haven’t seen anything in the app or via email.

I just resubmitted the issue via the in-app chat bot… we’ll see

Ok now that the one issue is resolved with not being able to use bank transfers, I go to Add Funds → “Connect your bank account” and I only see an option to use the one account that’s already been linked. I don’t see any option to add another bank account to have multiple accounts linked at once (for sending/receiving transfers).

Hey there!

If you go to the Envelope page, and scroll to the very bottom to ‘External Bank Accounts’ and then ‘Connect New,’ are you able to link a new account? You do have to do this step before being able to add funds from that account, apologies for not mentioning that earlier.

Best,
Jacqui

I am able to link accounts in the “External Bank Accounts” section I’ve had several linked there since shortly after opening my account. There is, however, no way exposed in the UI for me to then add those accounts as a source of funds. I even removed several of them and re-added them just to see if there would be some magical UI change under “add funds” but there’s only the one account which was already linked (shown in my previous response).

Hey there,

My apologies for not explaining this better: you can link as many accounts as you’d like, but you can only have one funding account at a given time.

Unfortunately, our banking partner has a rule that once you unlink a funding account, you cannot relink that same account for another 90 days (although you can link another funding account instantly!). So you just have to be careful about which account you would like as your funding account as a given time.

Let me know if this makes sense!

Best,
Jacqui

ok so then back to my original point.
The fact that only one account can be linked (for transfers) is a blocker for some.

Fair enough! Unfortunately this is a rule imposed by our banking partner.