I built this alternative to Digital Banking: PITA Payments. This is what I learned from my Prototype.4 min read

Nick De MeyBanking & professional services

I’m working on a new service to rethink online banking. Before explaining my  experiment, I would like to ask 1 simple question:

banking

For me, checking payments and doing bills is just one of the many chores that I need to do. There is absolutely no sense of pleasure in doing these tasks. Take ‘trash collection’ as an example. At best your innovative product could make this chore more bearable, but it will never be something a normal person will actually enjoy. There is no future in an app offering Trashalytics. A gamified trash saving service has limited market potential. But a home cleaning service that does this task for you has value. This is common sense.

Online banking still assumes you somehow could enjoy the fiddling with numbers and forms. Many apps offer insights and graphs to review your spending pattern. Other services help you save towards a goal. But still, you will not have any pleasure in doing this.

Frustrated with digital banking.

I don’t love digital banking. In an ideal world, somebody else would take care of my payments and financials.

Introducing: P.I.T.A Payments
(7 times less hassle than mobile banking)

My experimental service tries to outsource most of the online banking hassle. I created a working prototype to test the experience for a user. Look at the movie of an actual payment: Pita Payments versus my regular Mobile Banking app. Just snap a picture and auto-send it to justdoit@pitapayments.com

PITA Payments compared to Mobile Banking

My regular ING mobile banking app is a tremendous upgrade to traditional pc banking. But my functional and ugly prototype is already 7 times faster. I’m confident I could tweak this experience from 11 seconds to just 5.

That would be more than 10 times faster than normal mobile banking.

Do note that in the demonstration above I had to cancel 1 of the 2 bank transfers afterwards. I didn’t want to cheat so I used the exact same payment info for both.

Other payments I’ve made recently with this service:

  • I’ve paid some of the bills that landed in my inbox to justdoit@pitapayments.com
  • Forwarded a photo of a parking ticket to the same address.
  • I repaid a friend just via a brief mail message that contained his bank account. (send via my iPhone)
  •  I paid for an upcoming bachelor party by copy/pasting payment info from one mail > sent to Pita Payments. (Gmail, Macbook)

Who wants to manage their bills & invoices? Nobody.

In Belgium several services bring you an improved overview for some (not all) of the bills you receive. Example: Doccle or Zoomit both rely on a manual login in your online banking to confirm payments. This solution smells like a faster horse, not a car. Yes, it’s an improvement but not what innovation users are (actually) waiting for.

This is what I learned so far from using PITA Payments.

  • Almost every payment request sent to me can be forwarded (paper bills, e-invoice, mail donation,…)
  • I limit myself to relatively small amounts for now.
  • If I still have to type all numbers in an email first, I rather launch my mobile banking app and do the payment there.
  • I can make corrections to a submitted payments due to the 48h delay I’ve set up (not possible with normal banking).
  • Sometimes I’m worried about the sensitive or personal data forwarded. Anything forwarded gets deleted after the payment is executed.

Building my backend:

For a user the experience is as real as possible. Forwarded or submitted payments are actually paid with real money. The backend of this experiment is a lot of manual labour. I’ve recruited a student I can trust to help me out at this stage. I’ve created a new shared bank account for us (KeyTrade Bank). Next to this there is a separate mailbox to handle payments requests & communication. This test setup can scale maybe to 10-20 users but my MVP (prototype) will probably break at that stage. This is no problem at all. At this moment I experience the maximum amount of learning with the minimal amount of effort.

To scale I’ll move to a different, more software driven setup. I plan to use Front App and a collection of other tools to manage this. Scaling is a topic for another blogpost.

Stay tuned. :)

Want to be involved?

I’m very open to share how and why we’re building this. If you believe this project could be relevant to your organisation, you can reach out to me via Skype (nickdemey.be), mail (nick@boardofinnovation.com) or twitter (@nickdemey).

If you want to be notified on the launch or want to join this test as a user: put yourself on the list at www.pitapayments.com

What are your thoughts?

Do you see the potential of this service? Yes/no? What things do you see that I’m missing? Thanks for sharing!

Nick