Jacob Schonberger and Mengxi Tan


SimpleFuture: Providing Better Financial Future

Advised by Jock Herron (GSD), Krzysztof Gajos (SEAS), and David Eaves (HKS)

Do you feel confident that you have claimed all refunds, collected all interests, managed every financing account, deposited every check, and utilized every prepaid gift card? If not, you probably have some money in the $60 billion “unclaimed property” pool.

Unclaimed property is considered to be assets that are abandoned by their owner (typically for three to five years depending on the asset). The abandoned property is transferred to the state treasury and turned into cash equivalents. The treasury can treat this money as revenue, but legally must make this money available to be found and “claimed” by its original owner.

Each state has its own claims process, but typically returns only about 4.5 percent of the total pool of unclaimed property. Such a low claim rate is due to a combination of low awareness, confusing claim processes, inefficiency in program structure, predatory activities, and lack of trust.

By introducing financial services into the ecosystem, SimpleFuture redesigns the unclaimed property system to be more efficient and user friendly while improving customers’ relationships with their banks.

Jacob Schonberger and Mengxi Tan, MDE. Simplefuture. Several smartphone screens showing including the words, "Here's how your money is doing." "We found $500 under your name." "What is unclaimed property?" "Authorize to Claim." "Today's Credit Card Usage $19.62" An info box shows the words "State Treasuries, Bank, Match, Verify, Transfer."
Jacob Schonberger and Mengxi Tan, MDE. SimpleFuture is a proactive B2B financial system that returns Unclaimed Property to the rightful owners. It is a design that brings value to the government, the financial institutions and the people.
Jacob Schonberger and Mengxi Tan, MDE. In the US, only 4.5% of the $60B Unclaimed Property is returned every year. We worked with the Massachusetts Unclaimed Property division to design a new system to raise the claim rate.
Jacob Schonberger and Mengxi Tan, MDE. Instead of having users looking for Unclaimed Property, Unclaimed Property records now “look for” their owners. In the new flow, commercial banks, introduced as high-incentive stakeholders, help their customers search and claim Unclaimed Property through a secure data pipeline.
Jacob Schonberger and Mengxi Tan, MDE. For the banks, a first built deliverable is a dashboard documenting the key metrics on Unclaimed Property match, allowing them to have an overview of the impact.
Jacob Schonberger and Mengxi Tan, MDE. A second built deliverable for the banks is a notification system to reach out to customers, improving customer relationship and brand image perception.