Case study: improving customer journeys with open banking

Matt Gatrell, chief operating officer, Nutmeg discusses the operational and technology challenges to implementing open banking and how the firm overcame these

Sara Benwell POSTED ON 12/14/2020 5:48:08 PM

Sara Benwell: What made you decide to offer open banking?

Matt Gatrell: With the rise of challenger banks and a slippage of customer loyalty – which is also fuelled by solutions like the current account ‘switch guarantee’ – banking is becoming a more user-centric sector, where solving real user problems is at the heart of any modern banking and fintech roadmap.  
Against that backdrop, Nutmeg had several use cases for Open Banking APIs.  We decided that our first development of Open Banking should be a simple one – initiating a bank transfer.
"Bank transfers are the best and fastest way to get money invested in the market;"
We chose this because bank transfers are the best and fastest way to get money into a Nutmeg account, and therefore the fastest way for you to get your money invested in the market; however, they have previously had an undesirable user experience.  
Open Banking solves this problem by allowing us to pass payment details to the user’s bank via a third– party payment initiator. It reduces a lengthy user journey flow to just a couple of taps, and delivers a simpler user experience and a faster payment into Nutmeg.   

Sara: How did you go about selecting a vendor / partner? 

Matt: We chose to work with Truelayer who had a great track record with Open banking functionality in the UK, despite the fact it’s a young solution.  

Sara: What were some of the key operational challenges to implementing open banking? 

Matt: The operational challenges we experienced were mainly around integrating and testing, as we needed to be sure the payments worked in a way that provides an excellent UX.  
"Payment is the crucial point at which a customer entrusts their money to us."
We’re acutely aware that a payment is the crucial point at which a customer entrusts their money to us. We therefore need to reward that trust by ensuring their experience is a positive one.  

Sara: How were these challenges overcome? 

Matt: The secure and fast way that open banking payments work meant that we were able to validate it quickly within the many existing cash processes we have.
With the UX being at the core of everything we do at Nutmeg, it was a cross-team effort in validating this new payment journey for the benefit of our customers. 

Sara: Were there any specific data / technology / security challenges and how were these managed? 

For Open Banking payments, there are several opportunities for so-called “unhappy paths”, if something doesn’t work for the customer. In order to model which outcomes and the potential “unhappy paths” we could reasonably expect from a bank transfer, we used a JavaScript library called XState.
"We were able to handle the happy and unhappy paths."
Using the XState visualiser, for example, if the list of banks is unavailable, the user will not be given the option to submit – or even see – the form. This not only helped us in the technical implementation, it’s a valuable reference point in discussions about user journey with the product and design teams.   
The process of turning the model into final code was not particularly difficult. By using a pattern XState calls async sequences we were able to handle the happy and unhappy paths.  


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