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Trailblazing app leads the way to accessible banking for those living with a disability

Posted June 22, 2022

With online banking becoming the standard, money management SpendAble has people with disabilities at its heart.

By Eva Blandis, Future Adelaide Intern

SpendAble’s head of technology Travis Ashworth at Lot Fourteen. Picture: Russell Millard

MONEY management company SpendAble is working to ensure those living with a disability aren’t being left behind as online banking becomes the norm.

Assistive technology is having a positive impact on those living with a disability, SpendAble’s chief executive officer Reece Miller says.

The national start-up, based in the Startup Hub run by Stone & Chalk at Lot Fourteen, seeks to empower people with a disability by giving them a sense of financial independence.

Miller says money management can pose a challenge to individuals, especially when they need their family or support networks to have access to the money.

Miller founded Support Your Way, a disability support service, and quickly identified the issues faced when it came to the management of finances and banking services.

“There was just too much risk for us from a financial point of view,” he says.

Miller says having a third party in control of funds tended to result in a lack of independence, especially for those who may be isolated or living alone.

“The payment is normally the blocker between whether someone would go to the shops by themselves,” he says.

SpendAble’s head of technology Travis Ashworth says the system helps people living with a disability to “spend the money that they want to”. Picture: Russell Millard

SpendAble gives those living with an intellectual disability the chance to learn an alternate banking process with removed numeracy and budgeting ­elements.

Miller says the system gave people a unique learning experience by using visual cues to represent banking activity.

“We are able to teach people how to do their own grocery shopping or clothes shopping and get access to their own money,” he says.

“They can use the SpendAble system as their supported decision-making tool.

“There’s not much in the ­assistive technology space that actually teaches people to handle their own money.”

The company operates out of Victoria and South Australia, with the head of technology, Travis Ashworth, based in ­Adelaide.

“It’s to empower people and give them more freedom to spend the money that they want to,” Ashworth says of the system.

“It allows people, particularly those with intellectual disabilities, that might not have the greatest financial literacy to spend their own money.”

SpendAble continues to lead the way, with about 600 NDIS and other service provider ­participants using the friendly alternative to money ­management.

Ashworth describes SpendAble as an app paired to a digital wallet that customers can load money on to and allocate to various budgets for everyday payments.

“The digital wallet is then ­connected to a Visa card that we get through one of our issuers that we’re partnered with,” he says.

“The great thing about SpendAble is you know the money is going to be spent the way that you want to spend it.”

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