In today’s contactless, ‘cashless’ world, it’s tricky to keep a handle on our money. Young people in particular are struggling under financial pressures that can make traditional goals hard to reach.
Having been absent from the UK retail banking market for a number of years, ING’s Innovation Centre approached TAB to collaborate on a new, outcome-led strategy to address this core customer segment.
Capitalising on the opportunities heralded by Europe’s PSD2 Directive, the result is Yolt: an exciting new product that takes advantage of a more open financial context to help young Europeans reclaim control of their financial future.
Feeling the financial cold
Working in tandem, ING and TAB first set out to identify and understand underserved customer outcomes. There are no shortage of headlines about the stark financial struggles facing young people today. However, there is very little detail on how, or why, existing banking products and services are failing to work for them. Furthermore, there is a shortage of good ideas about what might actually help them look after their money better.
To understand these challenges, TAB and ING enlisted the help of over 100 young Londoners. Over the course of several months, we interviewed, shared prototypes and iterated our products in line with their feedback, building an in-depth understanding of how they saw their finances, and how they could be empowered to manage their money more effectively.
We found that most young people rarely talk or even think much about how to look after their cash. The topic borders on taboo: a private thing for oneself. Most find it boring, or just too difficult to be worth the bother.
That’s little surprise - especially given most banking apps have simply translated legacy experiences, like online banking or paper statements, directly to mobile. Often, these existing apps assume customers want to spend time digesting charts, or scrolling through line after line of transactions.
None offer quick, easy ways to help customers understand what’s going on with their money - where it goes, what might be coming up and how much they really have. Fewer still provide valuable ways to help young customers improve their financial position by adopting smarter behaviour around spending and saving.
Consequently, while some young Londoners we spoke to have tried cognitively demanding methods, like big spreadsheets, to get on top of their finances, only the very focused - or lucky - really keep on track.
Yolt is here to help
Yolt endeavours to answer a seemingly simple question for everyone that uses it: what’s going on with me and my money right now?
What is complicated about personal finances is that ‘now’ isn’t just what your balance is in this instant, or even the last few transactions. To really know what’s going on, customers need to know more about what has happened - and particularly about what is coming up. A £50 bank balance, for example, could be terrifying for someone getting paid in two weeks, but quite different to someone getting paid tomorrow.
When we spoke to young people, most framed their financial lives around payday - so it made sense to do the same in the app.
Having completed an intensive strategic design process together, the Yolt team began development of the app, which is now in Beta. Under-the-hood, Yolt connects all of a customer’s financial products, so there is one view of your financial health. It’s one of the first examples of a European bank providing a platform for customers to manage money held by competitors.
Yolt uses intelligent models to not only establish key dates like payday, but to pre-empt upcoming direct debits to avoid things like rent money accidentally becoming beer money.
Meanwhile, automatic categorisation of transactions, and daily insight cards give a novel, helpful view of individual spending - not just an incomprehensible list of transactions.
The team at TAB remains in close contact with this highly innovative new product, as it sets out to capitalise on the PSD2 opportunity in Europe and make managing money in our mobile-led, connected era a far smarter, easier experience.
"We teamed up with TAB, known for their mobile expertise, focus and hands-on approach, to refine and validate our key hypotheses for the UK market. Joining forces this way, combining a team of designers and strategists, enriched our early thinking. Working out of London and Amsterdam enabled us to prototype quickly, and connect customer feedback loops. As a result, we have together created a strong foundation based on core values and ambitions of Yolt."
Frank Jan Risseeuw
Head of Yolt