How ING got people to save money without thinking

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How ING got people to save money without thinking

Digital tool steals business from start-ups.

ING’s technology team has snatched business away from fintech start-ups by introducing a digital tool that lets people save money without even having to think about it.

The bank’s ‘everyday round up’ digital money management feature automatically rounds up purchases to the nearest $1 or $5, and then shifts the extra funds into an interest-earning savings account.

It can be used for transactions made through Visa PayWave, Apple Pay, and Android Pay, as well as online purchases.

ING claims as much as $466 million a year in physical loose change is being thrown away in discarded five and ten cent pieces.

The bank has leveraged its scale to essentially replicate a feature offered by small fintech players like Acorns and Moneybox that are threatening to take some of its customers’ business. It is the first large bank to offer such a feature.

ING has been able to ship out such new tools at speed thanks to its architectural redesign to Google’s Polymer application toolkit and the API Blueprint platform.

The new architecture simplifies the process of building applications. It was introduced in Australia last year and is intended to be the standard from which every global business in the ING Group will eventually operate.

It meant the bank was able to deliver ‘everyday round up’ from start to finish in under eight months.

The number of customers that signed up for the service in its first three weeks of operation was double what the bank was expecting.

It had targeted 20,000 sign-ups out of the 770,000 customers that have everyday accounts with the bank - but more than 40,000 adopted the tool and have saved an initial $600,000 collectively since the feature launched in September.

“We believe that banking products are becoming commoditised and the only thing that truly sets us apart from other banks is our unique customer experience,” ING CIO Ani Paul said.

“Features like everyday round up are a key part of our strategy to differentiate our customer experience for everyday banking customers, and it will be the first of many money management tools that we will be releasing to our customers over the next few years.”

This project has been named a finalist in the finance category of the iTnews Benchmark Awards 2017/18. The full list of finalists can be found here.

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