Why banking apps and startups suddenly all have human first names

By Meredith Haggerty

November 4, 2019

Dave, Marcus, Brigit — these financial products want to be on a first name basis with you.

When you need some money to make it to your next paycheck, you can always call on Dave. If you need budgeting help, reach out to Brigit. And for a personal loan to get you out of credit card debt, try Marcus.

That’s not to presume the names and financial situations of the people in your life: Dave, Brigit, and Marcus are all money-related apps and services that have human first names. Personable products aimed at your wallet are a definite mini-trend. There’s also Frank (student loans), Alice (automated pre-tax spending), Clyde (insurance), Oscar (also insurance), and Albert (savings, investment, and overdraft protection).

Anthony Shore, the founder of brand-naming firm Operative Words, explains that these financial startups are simply trying to sound more accessible. “‘Let’s make ourselves chummy and folksy,’” Shore says, channeling a financial startup.

Laurel Sutton, a senior strategist and linguist at the naming agency Catchword, agrees. “They’re trying to take [the brand] away from a faceless institution,” Sutton told Vox. “That kind of branding seems very much on point for millennials or post-millennials.” …

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