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Financial Services Companies Demand Transparency through SlashDeclare

November 16, 2011
Investing
At NerdWallet, we adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity to help you make decisions with confidence. Some of the products we feature are from our partners. Here’s how we make money.
We adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity. Some of the products we feature are from our partners. Here’s how we make money.

Tired of the wily shenanigans and charades of money-hungry financial institutions? Tired of print so “fine” you need a microscope and a crack team of lawyers just to understand your terms? Tired of trusting your money to someone you can’t really trust at all?

So is NerdWallet!

Which is why we’ve created a SlashDeclare page to put down in writing our opposition to unfair and deceptive financial practices. NerdWallet has always and will always fight for justice in the world of finance, and it is our belief that reform starts with a simple declaration.

SlashDeclare—good guys assemble

So what is SlashDeclare? It’s a new movement and website seeking to repair the broken body of the finance industry. In an age where hidden fees are standard and banks will do anything to make a fast buck, a handful of honest companies are banding together to combat the mass chicanery.

SlashDeclare was created by executives at Betterment, PerkStreet Financial and Billguard with the hopes of restoring trust within their own industry. The website encourages financial services companies to create declaration pages on their sites. These “declarations” reflect the fundamental ideals and ethical principals under which participating companies operate.

Declarations vary from company to company and are customized according to specialization. NerdWallet’s SlashDeclare page, for example, focuses on credit card ethics. PerkStreet Financial—an online bank—hones in on banking practices, while Betterment—an investment company—emphasizes fair investing practices. The SlashDeclare website provides links to everyone’s declarations.

Fighting for the little guy

At its root, the movement is consumer advocacy. Consumers should know what they deserve and whom they can go to for fair service. Nothing frustrates NerdWallet more than indecipherable credit card terms and deceptive debt-perpetuating policies. Credit cards, along with banks, should exist as tools for the betterment of you and your finances. When suspicion becomes a necessity of survival, there’s a problem.

“Companies should do right by their customers. That means profiting from practices that benefit the customer and products that fulfill a need—not by exploiting loopholes in regulation to trick customers out of their money,” said John Stein, CEO of Betterment.

SlashDeclare welcomes banks, brokerages, investment advisors and similar financial services. The website gives consumers a way to sort candid, upright companies from the slimy, sordid wretches fouling up the air. Participants aim to delineate their values and promises using simple, straightforward language presented in a clear, user-friendly format. In an industry that depends on convolution and complexity to keep consumers weak and indentured, SlashDeclare is a breath of fresh air.