The Netherlands already has many banks and financial institutes, but that didn't deter the founders of Knab to start a new online bank in 2012. A bank where customers come first. Virtual Affairs was closely involved in the creation of this new online bank, from concept and design to building and management. This was a large, ambitious and complex project, working closely together with partners such as Five Degrees, Figlo, Sopra Banking Software and Cegeka.

The new online bank was build on the Sitecore platform. Knab offers services to consumers and business customers (self-employed and small businesses). The customer is in charge and has a complete overview of his financial situation. Knab also advises about tax-friendly saving, investing or donating, and alerts customers on time about unnecessary overdrafts. All services at Knab are managed via the Internet and the mobile Knab app.

Optimum user experience

From the start, Knab cooperated with Virtual Affairs. The software company started with the development of the website, followed by a secured ‘my environment’ and apps for smartphone and tablet. The design, performance and functionality of these products all blended together into one solution, guaranteeing not only a uniform look but also offering optimum user experience on all platforms. The online environment offers, among other things, a (video) chat feature and a complete digital archive. The user interface is very innovative and intuitive, suitable for online and mobile banking. The comprehensible dashboard with diagram display shows the customer a quick and complete overview of his financial status. In short, the Sitecore DMS features and the Microsoft technology have contributed to the creation of a scalable, flexible and secure system. 

In September 2014, the online bank presented Knab Social, a new feature within the Knab app that enables payments via Facebook or a mobile phone, without the use of an account number. This feature uses Virtual Affairs’ proprietary software. 

Expanded cooperation

Knab wants to keep innovating and technologies keep evolving, so in 2016 the online bank wanted to add new features to the existing app. Sometimes such changes can take months, due to the complexity of the existing architecture. It contains a lot of code, and it is often unclear what is was initially used for. How did Knab solve this problem? The enterprise threw out all the old codes and started from scratch.

Nowadays, most banking transactions are done with mobile tools, and for an online bank like Knab, having their own app is essential. The app is one of the most important pillars of the bank, and it is extremely important that this works to the best of its abilities. “Knab was founded in 2012, and due to the immense changes in mobile technology, the continued development of the app was costing increasingly more time and energy,” says Marcel Kalse, co-founder of Knab. “This was mainly due to the existing architecture. We had two options: adapting the existing app, or starting over. Continuation would have meant a very complex procedure, so we started over.” 

A more flexible product

Kalse: “We took down everything and then rebuilt it. It was quite an investment. We now have an app with the same features – including an overview of saving accounts and deposits, but also an ATM Finder – and can quickly add new features to this product, such as easy entry of an account number, logging in with a fingerprint, and a personalised account overview.” This initiative allows Knab to quickly react to the needs of customers by implementing new features at high speed. Before, implementations could take months; now it is only a matter of weeks. 

Software development

This new architecture is based on BankingRight, Virtual Affairs’ solid, standardised product offering that differs from many tailor-made banking applications. “Knab almost always outsources its software development, but I don't like the term outsourcing,” says Kalse. “When I look at the people from Virtual Affairs walking around our offices, they are so connected to Knab; I really consider them my colleagues. They are here at the office every day, and we frequently travel together to Sofia (Bulgaria), where an important part of the software is developed.”

The renewed application, developed by Knab and Virtual Affairs, should boost the user-friendliness. Knab already has a fantastic customer satisfaction rating, and the organisation boasts the most satisfied customers in the Netherlands, according to surveys. Kalse: “We have been in business for five years now, and we've experienced a very healthy growth these past years. At this moment (2017), we have approximately 125,000 customers. We now want to continue growing and use our app to make banking on mobile phones easier for our users.”

Future

Virtual Affairs is working together with Knab on the continued development of the BankingRight platform, which has both a mobile and a web version. They are currently developing the next product release, which contains more options for fingerprint verification and extended personalisation. The developers are also looking into options for mobile signatures, allowing the customer to make payments without a card reader. Robin Peters, Director at Virtual Affairs, about the future: "We are investing in an innovative mobile banking proposition, based on our product roadmap, and in cooperation with Knab. This proposition would also be available to other banks in the Netherlands and abroad. This approach confirms the strategic partnership between Knab and Virtual Affairs that will be continued into the future." 

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