Is it possible that a bank may someday be referred to as "beloved?"
Mobile apps like Uber and Airbnb have changed the way mobile-centric users do practically everything, from getting a ride to finding a place to stay on vacation. So, it follows that a company looking to build a digital bank would turn to those apps, and others like them, for inspiration. NUMBER26, a digital banking startup based in Germany, did just that, taking cues from companies that have found success online and in the app store to build a simple and enjoyable user experience.
For this month’s Digital Banking Tracker™ cover story, PYMNTS spoke with NUMBER26 co-founder and CEO, Valentin Stalf, about how his company is using a foundation in digital and mobile technology to build a better, easier to use bank.
Here’s a preview:
More customers than ever before are looking to use digital tools to improve their banking, just as they use them in almost all other areas of their life, Stalf noted. And, by basing its offering on digital technology, NUMBER26 can offer more features than large, slower-moving institutions. As a result, Stalf said he believes that his offering has a leg up when it comes to customer satisfaction.
“With our user experience, we do a much better job at the moment than most traditional banks,” Stalf said. He then cited NUMBER26 as having been singled out by Apple as the only banking provider in Europe that is also a leading app in the digital giant’s App Store. “We have taken a different approach – we try to innovate banking without coming out of banking. It allows us to think much more freely on what we want to achieve and how it is achievable.”
In order to build that different approach, Stalf and his team did not look to other financial institutions for inspiration. Instead, they turned to popular tech-based companies in other industries – apps like Spotify, Uber or Airbnb.
“We looked at their customer experience for inspiration to build the best user experience in banking,” Stalf explained. He said that approach has led NUMBER26 to be more innovative than many other banks. Then he took it slightly further. “I would say in the end we have done a good job in building a product people love.”
Around the Digital Banking world
They may be called phones, but people are using their mobile devices for a lot more than calls, including everything from reading and writing emails, to playing games and finding directions. Recent surveys from both Bank of America and Chase confirmed that consumers are planning to make more purchases with their mobile phones in the coming years.
In order to attract mobile customers, several digital banking companies are planning new ways to help consumers pay for purchases and see their financial information right from their phones or tablets.
Apple Pay announced that 44 new banks and credit unions joined the mobile wallet program, adding to 30 institutions that had previously joined. Cardholders with those institutions will now be able to pay for purchases with their credit or debit cards via the mobile wallet.
Meanwhile, Chase said its customers will soon be able to conduct real-time peer-to-peer transactions with customers from other banks via Chase QuickPay, the bank’s mobile wallet. QuickPay, which was released in 2015, will then enable customers to use those funds to pay bills or withdraw directly from the ATM.
Barclays also rolled out their own contactless mobile payment option via Google’s Android Pay in the U.K., allowing customers to make contactless payments of up to £100 and more quickly replace stolen or lost cards.
The July edition of the Digital Banking Tracker™, powered by Urban FT, features the latest news and analysis across the FinTech and consumer banking space, along with the rankings of 78 players around the industry, including 10 new profiles, for their readiness to seize this new banking reality.
To download the July edition of the Digital Banking Tracker™, click the button below.
About the Tracker
The PYMNTS Digital Banking Tracker™ brings you the latest news, research and expert commentary from the FinTech and consumer banking space, along with the rankings of more than 50 companies serving or powering the digital banking sector.