The Pulse team spends their time trawling through the world of banks and fintech apps, sorting the good from the bad so you don’t have to.

Designing a new product? Worried about what your competition are doing? Interested to see how your own product goes down with our analysts? We’ve got you covered.

Pulse users can follow any of the links in this blog, the rest of you are going to have to request a demo!

Bunq’s Shared Accounts | View in Pulse

Banks have been offering joint accounts for decades, but they tend to be pitched at couples in long-term relationships and would normally involve a trip to the bank with plenty of paperwork.

Bunq upends that model completely with their mobile shared accounts feature. Whether it’s a household expense account for a group of students, a pot of cash for a group trip, or a simple two-person account, Bunq has you covered. Joint accounts offer push notifications to all members whenever anyone spends anything, and users can use the budgeting feature to set limits (for kids pocket money, for example). Not impressed yet? Bunq also uses a completely unique biometric login process that scans a body part we’ve never seen used, and if that doesn’t pique your interest we don’t know what will. View the entire account setup process in Pulse.

Coinbase’s Chatbot Customer Support | View in Pulse

Coinbase might be famous for its massive impact on the bitcoin space (and some patchy technical problems) but we wanted to focus on the extremely smart chatbot support that the platform uses. A partnership with Ada has let Coinbase massively scale up its customer support through natural language processing, a friendly tone of voice, and an intelligent hand-off to human support staff when the bot hits up against its limits. We really were blown away by this one, and we recommend having a watch of the recorded conversation in Pulse.

Monzo’s Travel Reports | View in Pulse

There was a time when the days after a holiday were filled with a slight sense of dread as transactions slowly arrived in a bank statement. How much had that dodgy ATM charged for a withdrawal? What crazy exchange rate did that restaurant charge? The fear was real.

Monzo changed all of that. With a fee-free FX rate and instant transaction notifications (try doing that with a creaking core banking 1990s core banking system!), users can view their spend instantly. Even with the challenger bank moving to a new pricing model for ATMs, Monzo is still a traveller’s best friend. And the best part? At the end of the trip, Monzo summarises your holiday spend with a push notification that’s waiting for you when you get off the plane. For those of you who haven’t been on holiday recently, you can view the notification in Pulse.

N26’s International Payments | View in Pulse

The German powerhouse that is N26 has been taking chunks out of traditional banks for years. Back at the start of 2016, the team announced in-app FX payments. While this itself isn’t groundbreaking, the fact that it is powered by Transferwise’s low-fee international payments put this head and shoulders above the competition. Users can make transfers via a slick interface without having to have a Transferwise account. It’s an impressive nuts and bolts offering that provides a glimpse of what an open banking future could look like: frictionless, integrated, and cheaper than the old world offerings. Log into Pulse to view the video.

Revolut’s Onboarding Process | View in Pulse

Sometimes delights aren’t all about technical bells and whistles or beautiful interfaces. We’d argue that time savings and reduced drudgery are just as important. So we’ve included Revolut’s sub-one minute onboarding process here. After just 50 seconds of set up, Revolut customers have access to a virtual card and after just 2 minutes and 45 seconds that card is topped up and ready for use.

It’s a very impressive process that has obviously been whittled down to the absolute basics by some smart product designers.

Monzo’s Force Touch Shortcuts | View in Pulse

While Apple’s Force Touch is beloved by some, many users feel ambivalent towards it. We think that’s because most app designers haven’t really figured out how to use it yet. One example that does stand-out is Monzo’s set of quick shortcuts that iOS presents when the user presses down hard on the home screen icon. Have a look at how it works via Pulse. With shortcuts to freeze the card, make a payment, repeat a recent P2P payment, or top up the card, users can use Force Touch to skip the main landing page and jump directly into the relevant part of the app.

Yapi Kredi’s Biometric Eyescan | View in Pulse

For those of you who have grown tired of using your fingerprint to log into things, the Turkish Yapi Kredi partnered with Ölçsan and the creator of the Eyeprint ID to let users scan their eye to access their accounts. This is some hugely satisfying tech. As product designers begin to incorporate Apple’s Face ID into the app it will be interesting to see if this form of login becomes more commonplace.

Pulse users can check out Yapi Kredi’s Eyescan and a number of other more or less traditional biometric logins from across the globe.

Monzo’s Energy Account Switching | View in Pulse

At the time of writing, Monzo’s prepaid card offering is thought to lose the challenger bank about £50 per customer per year. There are a number of ways that the bank will become profitable in the coming years, but one of the central routes will be via partnerships and offers. To that end, in July 2017 Monzo quietly hired Facebook’s former partnership manager.

One of the partnership trials the bank rolled out was with Bulb, an alternative energy provider that lets customers switch to entirely renewable energy. Monzo customers are presented with an in-line promotion that appears in the transaction feed and prompts them to try out Bulb’s switching calculator. For any customers who switch (and about 7% of all customers did switch in the early trial stage), Monzo gets about £40-50. A nice little earner that has the added benefit of letting Monzo customers lead a more environmental life.

One of the members of the 11:FS team was presented with the partnership offer a week ago so we managed to grab an early look at this feature for any interested Pulse users.

Chip’s Bot-Powered Automatic Savings | View in Pulse

What’s more delightful than Chip’s cute little bot-powered, GIF-filled interface? This clever micro-savings app analyses a user’s spending behaviour and quietly squirrels away small amounts every few days when the spending is below average. The app employs a conversational interface to let users edit the bot’s behaviour and make manual savings and withdrawals. It’s a clever, highly user-friendly system and one that is easily replicable for a range of different use cases.

Starling’s Integration With Flux Receipt Capture | View in Pulse

Starling’s integration with Flux is another open banking feature that offers a look at how your finances could work once PSD2 comes into force (as a fintech consultancy, we’re pretty bullish about how important this change is).

The idea behind Flux is simple: paper receipts are stone-age technology that should be replaced. By integrating data from point of sale devices with the data-rich transaction feeds offered by the likes of Starling and Monzo, Flux allows users to view item-level data on each transaction. So rather than just having a £4.50 transaction from EAT, you can see that you bought a tasty sandwich and a refreshing drink. It’s one of those head-slappingly simple ideas that we wish we’d thought of.

You can also check out a recent conversation with the Flux guys on our Fintech Insider podcast.

Budgeting with Bankin’  | View in Pulse

Personal finance management tools are a dime a dozen now and any user who’s looking to track their spending is spoilt for choice. Our personal preference is Bankin’, a French fintech that goes above and beyond the usual transaction categorisation to present users with a beautiful tiled interface and a financial ‘coach’ that offers timely financial advice to users (like when to make a transfer from one account to another to avoid an overdraft).

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