Developing a Neobank From Scratch
100,000+ users attracted and 70,000+ cards issued within the first year of operation. The Top-3 downloaded apps in several European countries.
Our customer was a financial European-based startup. Its founders – top managers of a leading European marketplace – decided to launch a FinTech startup. They did not have prior experience working with financial startups but wanted to build a neobank with a 100% digital experience, without physical bank branches and offices.
This project is NDA protected. Therefore, in the following case study, we will refer to our customer as the Client and the app as Neobank.
The Client referred to the RNDpoint team with a business idea to launch Neobank in Europe, get a license in their country of operation, and then scale the bank’s service coverage to other countries in Western Europe.
This project involved 12 months of end-to-end neobank app development, starting with discovery and roadmap creation and ending with the launch of a full-fledged banking app.
The Neobank app has attracted 100,000+ users and issued 70,000+ cards within the first year of operation, becoming one of the Top-3 downloaded apps in several European countries.
The success story in detail
The main task posed for RNDpoint was to build a fully customized Neobank from scratch. The team faced the need to build all functionality, including a mobile app, admin panel, and backend development with the integration layer and the core banking system.
The core features expected from the app were as follows:
- Card operations: payments, withdrawals, deposits, and P2P transfers between users.
- Account operations: opening a bank account and top up, and incoming/ outgoing SWIFT and SEPA payments.
- Other features: BNPL, cashback, split bill.
The main business challenge surfaced in the absence of a clear-cut technical task for the Neobank project, which would give the direction for the concept’s practical implementation and timing estimates.
We faced the need to develop a detailed roadmap based on a thorough analysis of the Client’s business needs and expectations. We also worked on the Neobank app’s design and handled the end-to-end development project.
The largest set of challenges that the RNDpoint team faced working on the Neobank project was related to the app’s architecture. We dealt with the following challenges:
- Partner bank integration. This aspect represented the greatest technical bottleneck in the work process. The partnering bank’s API did not support many functions required for smooth integration with the Neobank. Thus, the banking integration took much time with limited resource allocation on the bank’s part.
- KYC functionality. The main KYC-related task was to optimize conversions. We collaborated with two software vendors – Veriff and Onfido. The vendor choice depended on the Client’s geolocation, the set of documents required for KYC verification, and the resulting client conversion rates.
- Client data storage. As all Neobank’s users are EU citizens, the RNDpoint team organized a secure client data storage in the cloud service with servers located within the EU.
- Open banking. To allow for accurate user scoring for credit provisioning, our team integrated the product with several open banking data vendors.
- Card processing vendor. We found this point particularly challenging, as we needed our vendor to support quite specific functionality, including a full suite of tokenization services. Ultimately, we found a top-class partner with excellent workflows and rich API functionality.
Our team was responsible for the following components of the Neobank architecture.
Mobile Apps for Android and iOS
As the Client wanted us to create native apps for Android and iOS devices, RNDpoint assigned two separate teams. The Client’s main requirements for the mobile app were stable app operation and a top-class UI/UX design.
The app was equipped with an informative and user-friendly admin panel that enabled the Client’s staff a variety of controls over the product, as well as flexible process management on a user and transaction level.
We implemented a tiered access approach with access levels depending on the user’s role in the system, allowing for proper control on a “need-to-know” basis and “four-eye principles”.
The Neobank’s back-end comprised several functional elements:
- Integration layer containing all KYC, card processing, and bank partner integrations.
- Core banking system for the operations’ processing, automated decision-making, and communication with the integration layer.
We used our proprietary software ProcessMIX to develop the backend for the Client’s Neobank project.
ProcessMIX is an advanced backend low-code system that allowed RNDpoint to speed up the development process 3x and decrease project costs, especially for back-end creation, by almost 2x.
Besides, ProcessMIX enabled faster business process management and decision-making automation, simplifying the integration layer development.
The resulting app was a custom backend system stored completely in the cloud. Among many things, in particular, it handles fee calculations, balance sheet operations, communication with third-party providers, and accounting report generation.
Steps of Neobank Design
The development process involved five steps:
Step #1. Vendor/Partner selection. It was important to complete this stage at the very beginning, as the partners’ technical specifications could affect the app’s architecture. The RNDpoint team worked with the Client to choose the partnering bank and all third-party service vendors.
Step #2. Architecture creation. We’ve formulated the final architecture plan based on the selected vendors. The app’s architecture included all components, such as the core banking service, the admin panel, mobile apps, and the integration layer.
Step #3. Development. We worked on the backend and mobile app development, and the admin panel’s interface simultaneously.
Step #4. Integration. This stage involved the integration of mobile apps with the partner bank and third-party systems.
When step #4 was finalized, we had a ready product MVP that already enabled card issuance for our customers.
Step #5. Functionality completion. We finalized all development work on the app’s features and functions at this stage.
The outcome of 12 months of work on this project was:
- Ready Neobank with its branded virtual and plastic cards including 1 free virtual and plastic card and the functionality to issue more cards should the user choose to do so.
- Incoming and outgoing money transfers
- Internal P2P transfers between users
- Account top-ups via card acquiring, SEPA, and SWIFT
- Outgoing transfers via SEPA and SWIFT
- The BNPL functionality inside the app (for all qualifying transactions, in either 4 or 6 installments).
- Cashback on a category and/or individual merchant level.
- Apple Pay/Google Pay functionality.
Within 12 months after the project’s launch, the app had 100,000+ registered users utilizing 70,000+ issued cards.
The cashback feature usage rate constituted 70% of users, and Apple Pay/Google Pay penetration was over 80% among active cardholders.
The app was featured in the list of Top-3 downloaded apps in several European countries.