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Building the programmable bank

We live in exciting times. That becomes very clear if you would visit us and listen to our water cooler and hallway talks. There is so much happening in the world of banking, software is truly eating traditional banking. Last week I discussed with Able’s head of tech & innovation the potential of ‘fintech’ startups like Mondo. They built their own tech stack from the ground up and are in the process of obtaining their banking license. It’s crazy to see so many new players on the field. And they all seem to have the same focus; user convenience.

Some of the popular features provided by these players are:

  • Split the bill
    Easily split a bill after a night out with friends.
  • Pay my bill
    Ability to scan and automatically pay an invoice.
  • Control direct debit
    Only pay if approved, otherwise cancel.
  • Notifications
    Trigger notifications on certain payments, if balance is low, etc.
  • P2p payments
    Make transferring money to peers easy & instant.
  • Safe to spend
    Show me what I can actually spend, taking into account upcoming payments.

The way most of these apps work is by implementing a user friendly, feature-rich layer on top of existing pre-paid cards infrastructure. Although very interesting, I believe the true challenge is to become a fully fledged bank with its own technology stack. This is exactly what makes Mondo so interesting. Having their own tech allowed it to publish an open API from day one. I think a rich and flexible API is crucial to gain real traction. Imagine having 100s of external developers building new features and connecting to third-party apps using your API.

Applications are limitless; automatically participating in loyalty programs at your gas station (‘auto redeem’), connecting with your calendar and helping you save for that upcoming trip or send some money to a p2p lending platform in 1 click. Basically helping consumers with all aspects of life that impact your finances.

Here at Able we are very excited about these developments. Our Scrum teams and dedicated API team (TMI) are working hard every day to provide the most flexible banking platform and API in the market. Enabling our clients to take on these new challengers by building great apps and deliver the best user experience, today and in the future!