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Mobile Banking App for Migrants

A mobile banking app for migrants designed to facilitate monetary transactions like financial help to families, getting paychecks early, microloans, etc.

Industries
Technologies

About the client

The client is an American entrepreneur whose business interests and expertise lie in the fintech industry mainly.

Client’s request

The client contacted us with an idea of crafting a neobank solution that would serve a large segment of banks’ audience – migrants. Itexus had gained solid experience in building fintech solutions, so the client entrusted us to develop a mobile banking app, fully featured to accomplish this goal.

Engagement model

Time & Materials

Effort and Duration

Ongoing since April 2020

Solution

Mobile Banking

Project Team

Backend developer, team leader, 2 iOS developers, 1 BA, 1 PM, 1 QA

Revenue Streams

Transaction fees and credit card interchange

Tech Stack

Target audience

The target users of the app are people who have recently emigrated to the United States, have jobs, and regularly send money to their families.

Every year more than 1 million people arrive in America to earn their living and provide financial support to their families who stay in their homelands. As US banks’ clients, these people have specific needs and painpoints. Yet, they don’t belong to bank potential prospects due to the missing or low credit scores.

Until recently, there has been no special banking product that would consider and cater to all migrants’ needs. The app we’ve developed is intended to support this sizeable, yet vulnerable sector of society.

Project challenges

Developing a fintech solution implies addressing certain challenges owing to the industry specifics.

Security issues

The app has passed a security audit and a penetration test confirming that the solution doesn’t pose risks on its customers and their data. So we equipped the app with the best-of-breed products and services the Azure cloud platform has on offer ranging from Azure SQL Transport Data Security and Azure Security Center to Transport Layer Security 1.2 cryptographic protocol and Azure Key Vault.

Regulated business environment

The app has to be fully compliant with AML (anti-money laundering) policies, PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards), and a number of other regulations. Looking ahead, the app has already obtained almost all the necessary certificates.

Third-party service providers

As the major provider of online banking services, our clients chose the cloud-based banking platform Mbanq. The point is that it often updates its APIs so we are constantly tracking the changes to provide flawless app performance.

Solution overview

After a few iterations and 12 months of hard work, we’ve got an app fully featured to disrupt the online banking market. Now there are two major blocks in the app, and we will update it with evolving new ideas from our client.

• Onboarding

After downloading the app, users have to sign up and pass the KYC procedure via the Alloy system. For this, they provide the social security number, personal data like name and surname and date of birth, phone number, and physical address. After the identity is verified via the third-party service Vouched, the user receives a confirmation SMS and sets a password. By that moment, a personal virtual card is created so the user can use it immediately. And the physical card emitted by a banking partner will be delivered to the physical address in a few business days.

• Transactions

There are two types of transactions available in the app: money transfer to another app user account or a non-user via an ACH transaction. Users also can top up their accounts with cash in any bank branch.

Main features

Together with our client, we hosted a few ideation sessions to create a user persona and reflect on the user journey, and one more session was dedicated to design thinking. It helped us to better understand users’ needs, motives, and pain points, so we came up with several ideas on the app features.

• Family mode

As we’ve already said, migrants often send money to their families that stay in their homelands. With the family mode feature, users can distribute money between different family members who have accounts in the app immediately without any fees.

• Early paycheck

Users can get their salaries a few days before the payday. For this, they have to ask their employers to process payroll via the app’s banking partner.

• Microloans

This feature is currently under development. Once it is ready, the users will be able to get microloans from the banking partner without red tape and delay.

Third-party Integrations

Development process

We use the Scrum framework for work on this project. One iteration lasts three weeks, two of which we spend on implementing the iteration backlog requirements, and during the third week, we are engaged in testing and bug fixing.

At the end of the three-week sprint, we demo the functionality increment to the clients. They install it on iPhones for user acceptability testing. Any resulting notes or update requests are referred to us, and we implement them concurrently with the next sprint.

Technical Solution Highlights

There are multiple integrations with third-party services that imply multiple dependencies. Any technical issue on a service provider’s side may cause a problem beyond our control that can affect the app’s performance. So we had to consider different scenarios and develop a fallback plan for such cases.

Besides system event logging and a built-in online chat enabling users to notify the Support of the app of untoward behavior (error alerts or other issues), the team is also setting up monitoring of the uptime of the external services. Such surveillance is configured with the early warning by email or SMS of an unresponsive service.

No less important is the dedicated environment for the pivotal Mbanq service and stable API where the updated versions are deployed in sync with the newer mobile app versions.

Results & Future plans

Our client is currently completing the PCI DSS certification, and right after that, the app will be available to users. The next step would be the development of an Android application and integrating the check-cashing feature that would enable users to deposit checks into their savings accounts online.

The app is expected to cover over 30 million users who need a solution designed specifically to fulfill their goals, and our client expects all these people will become the banking partner’s clients over time. As for Itexus, we will maintain and support the app helping our client to move forward in leaps and bounds.

Got an idea? Share it with us, and we’ll see how we can make you a world-changer.

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