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November 2019

 

3 - 5 Minutes

How a community is helping challenge Switzerland’s banking tradition

Yapeal, one of Switzerland’s newest fintechs, is turning to its ‘community’ of users to help compete with traditional Swiss institutions that have built secure and reliable reputations over centuries.

With approximately half of the Swiss population using online banking services, compared to 84 percent in Sweden, Yapeal is looking to provide attractive digital financial services in a country that is more likely to have problems with overbanking1 than underbanking.

To help them do this, Yapeal has created a community of 1,300 users who were given access to alpha testing ahead of its launch in early 2020.

Christian Meier, Chief Information Officer of Yapeal, said: “Our users gave us feedback and told us they want a very interactive style that is completely different to the major players. What we heard from our community is they expect to have more services as part of digitalisation.

“We are targeting people who expect their interactions to be simple and intuitive – like the experience with other digital services. Yapeal can completely replace the primary banking relationship for most bank clients who only have accounts and do payments.”

This reflects a recent sector survey by the Swiss National Bank, which concluded that “customers are less likely to maintain a permanent relationship with a single financial institution in the future, and will instead increasingly turn to different intermediaries from the banking and non-banking sectors to find the best service”.2

The fintech plans to use account data to anticipate their customers’ needs. Through greater use of Yapeal’s products, theywill build up a picture of an account holder’s spending behaviour. It will then provide tips and assistance that can help customers better understand their spending and have greater control of their finances.

“For example, if you usually pay for your ticket for the metro daily and we see you often don’t pay from the 15th to the 17th we imagine you are a typical payday-to-payday client who is running out of money before they get paid. So, we can offer you a little overdraft to pay for a monthly ticket instead of a daily ticket. We are analysing your behaviour to get you into a healthier financial life,” Meier said.

Yapeal will be sticking to the basics , preferring to enhance a smaller range of services, rather than providing complicated products such as mortgages.

Thomas Hilgendorff, CEO, added: “Our approach is to be transparent and offer a subscription fee like Spotify and Netflix so we are not pushing products. We’re not a universal bank but most people don’t expect that anymore.”

Yapeal will be issuing Visa debit cards early 2020.

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