Jul 12, 2021

Anticipate your digital bank customers' wants and needs

Martin Hyde, Head of Kinetic, ...
3 min
Martin Hyde from HSBC UK discusses his view that digital banks must ensure they’re not just keeping up with customer demands, but are one step ahead

Small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) have long been familiar with the need to rapidly adapt and innovate to meet the changing desires of their customers. This was something that became one of the driving forces behind the development of HSBC Kinetic – a digital-first banking app that has been built for SMEs, by SMEs. 

Customers told us that they wanted digital banking services to provide a quick and convenient way to get control over their finances, and that the pace of change in their businesses continues to be swift. When developing HSBC Kinetic, we wanted to ensure that it maps both SMEs’ current needs and wants but also anticipates where they might go next. So what have we learned so far? 

  1. Know your target customer base like the back of your hand

The first thing to think about when developing any new product is to build it based on what your customers want and not what you ‘imagine’ they want. That is why during HSBC Kinetics' development and beta, our team worked with over 3,000 SME owners to hone in on what they needed from a business banking app – via a range of 1:1s, focus groups, market research and surveys. When did they do their banking? Where did they do their banking? How do customers typically pay them? 

Customers resoundingly told us they wanted a simple, quick platform that helped them stay on top of their finances and understand what actions to take as a result. But they also wanted a human touch – so alongside automating various support processes, we ensured that it was easy for customers to reach someone for advice when needed. 

  1. Keep listening 

While the information gathered provided a great underpinning to HSBC Kinetic, it hasn’t meant we’ve stopped. As any customer focused business knows, listening to customers is an ongoing journey. 

Following the launch of HSBC Kinetic, we’ve kept listening. Utilising the App Store, Google Play Store, social media and surveys to monitor feedback. We know what customers like about HSBC Kinetic, but we’re also seeing what they’d like us to change or develop. We then host a weekly discussion, or the ‘Weekly Voice of the Customer’ to talk through, in detail, how best to act on the feedback and any changes that need to be made.

  1. Offer more than just run of the mill 

When it comes to today’s digital banking services, providing customers with more than just simple banking products is vital. For HSBC Kinetic we leverage the data created through the app to offer relevant and timely insights to our customers – helping them harness their financial data to diversify their services and offering. 

Additionally, with the app built with Google Cloud technology, we’ve been able to leverage HSBC’s existing infrastructure to migrate customers and also assure them of the same security features that protect some of the biggest companies across the world. This mix of fintech and global bank has allowed us to offer a truly unique service.

So far it’s been a fun journey, but it is by no means over – there is always more to learn and work to do. That being said, I hope these tips prove to be of some use.

This article was contributed by Martin Hyde, Head of Kinetic, HSBC UK

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Jul 22, 2021

Upgrade launch new credit card with bitcoin rewards

2 min
Upgrade has announced their new bitcoin rewards card that offers unlimited 1.5% BTC back on every purchase paid

Upgrade, a fintech company focused on providing credit for mainstream consumers, has launched the Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards Card a new version of its Upgrade Card featuring bitcoin rewards. Under the new programme, users earn unlimited 1.5% bitcoin rewards on every purchase as they make payments.  

The custody and trading platform for holding and selling bitcoin is provided by NYDIG and the card is a Visa Signature card, which includes benefits such as trip and baggage insurance, purchase protection, and extended warranty coverage.

The company offers credit lines from $500 to $25,000 with the Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards Card depending on your credit score. It works with Apple Pay and Google Pay. Like other Upgrade credit cards, there are no monthly fees, late fees, or returned payment fees.

"Upgrade Card is already delivering over $3 billion in annualised credit to consumers," said Renaud Laplanche, co-founder and CEO at Upgrade. "Starting today, anyone can apply for an Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards Card and enjoy the same affordable and responsible credit as with any Upgrade Card, plus the potential upside and fun of owning bitcoin."



(Image: Upgrade)

Participating in the crypto economy 


Upgrade isn’t the first company to announce a credit card with bitcoin rewards, but it’s the first one that is generally available. Anyone can apply with no waitlist, and start using their virtual card immediately until they get their physical card in the mail. 

"Crypto rewards introduce cardholders to a new asset class that is increasingly part of a consumer's financial portfolio," said Terry Angelos, SVP and Global Head of Fintech at Visa. "Whether you're a crypto enthusiast or just getting started, programmes like the Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards Card offer an engaging and low-risk way to participate in the crypto economy."

At the moment, you can’t do much with your bitcoins. You can choose to hold them or sell them. There’s no way to transfer your bitcoins to another wallet for instance. If you choose to sell your rewards, there’s a 1.5% transaction fee.

This card is not currently available in all 50 states. Customers in Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia can’t order an Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards Card at the moment.

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