NatWest launches digital challenger Bó

NatWest launches digital challenger Bó

Bó, the digital challenger bank from NatWest, is now live on the App Store and Google Play, featuring a bright yellow Visa card and a mobile app.

A retort to new app-based banks like Monzo and Starling, Bó has been built on new technology as a digital, cloud-based bank with its own Faster Payments connection.

In the works for 18 months and operating with £100 million budget, the new bank has copied the playbook of the challenger brands, offering an array of smart money management tools, including instant spend alerts, itemised spending breakdowns & budgeting.

NatWest says it has employed experts in behaviour change and money management to help build the app after analysing data from 2.6 million anonymised customers which showed that half spent everything they earned, while an additional quarter overspent every month.

Bó has its own chief executive and management team piggy-backing off the RBS banking licence.

CEO Mark Bailie, comments: “As we’re part of NatWest, people can rely on Bó to keep their money safe. But as a digital bank, built entirely on a separate cloud-based technology, Bó is also able to harness new technology and develop rapidly in line with our customers’ needs and expectations.

“With Bó we have an opportunity to help address a genuine societal need and to be a positive force in our customers’ lives. Our aim is to transform the nation’s attitudes and behaviour around money and I’m hugely excited to see what we can achieve.”

Ironically, the launch of Bó comes as customers of NatWest's online business banking service BankLine take to Twitter to complain about intermittent outages following routine maintenance undertaken in the early hours of the morning.

Comments: (5)

David Brennan
David Brennan - Fondy Group - Dublin 27 November, 2019, 11:352 likes 2 likes

Would have loved to be at the think-in for the name. How they decided the Irish word for 'cow' works, is beyond me.

Craig Lawrance
Craig Lawrance - Starkspur Ltd - Chalfonts 27 November, 2019, 12:18Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

In the same week when Which? reports the UK banking industry suffers approx 5 glitches a week with RBS (i.e. NatWest) and Santander being the biggest culprits, not to mention TSB's shenanigans, how can consumers have any more faith in the "cow"? 

Sang Nkhwazi
Sang Nkhwazi - Sanrixa Ltd - Manchester 28 November, 2019, 11:31Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Will be interesting to see what effect, if any, they will have on the industry.

Vladimir Dimitroff
Vladimir Dimitroff - Synpulse UK Ltd - London 28 November, 2019, 14:42Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

"...UK banking industry suffers approx 5 glitches a week with RBS (i.e. NatWest) and Santander being the biggest culprits..."

The news item says it's biggybacking on the RBS banking license, not on their legacy systems. It says they use "new cloud technology" possibly costing much of the £100m budget quoted ;)

Vladimir Dimitroff
Vladimir Dimitroff - Synpulse UK Ltd - London 28 November, 2019, 14:51Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

"...Will be interesting to see what effect, if any, they will have on the industry..."

One certain effect is that every established player in the industry will launch (or has already launch) their own 'challenger' bank. Some are practising or contemplating the 'lazy man's' path to it: "If you can't beat them, ... BUY them!" - and are acquiring suitable startups to save development time and risks.

The impact on the industry is obvious and irreversible, perhaps a model for the enitre industry (and I mean FinServ, beyond just Banking) migration to digital-only / virtual 'institutions'. It was predicted 2 decades ago, the Finnacial Crisis slowed the advent, but the future is coming faster than we may think :)

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