Aion Bank and Efigence
Aion Bank is the first 100% mobile bank in Europe with a subscription-based business model. The Aion Bank application is a response to the needs of those who demand a tool to facilitate comprehensive and convenient management of their finances – always to hand.
One of the biggest challenges for the creators of Aion was to create the entire business model from scratch, together with banking products tailored to the subscription nature of the bank. Then, Efigence's task was to create an application concept tailored to this model. It was also crucial to design the most convenient, mobile daily-banking model perfectly optimized for the multi-currency channel. In addition, it had to ensure conscious management of spending money, maximizing profits from savings and investments, and help in optimizing cyclical expenses e.g. for utilities, telephone or subscriptions.
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Over the last few years, a new group of customers has emerged on European markets.
These are people who are not satisfied with the range and quality of digital (especially mobile) services offered by more traditional banks. At the same time, their needs are also not fully met by simple neo-banking applications, which are only in effect a digital wallet.
It was their expectations that inspired the creators of Aion to create a new product on the market that combines an innovative digital layer with the foundations of traditional banking.
Start in Belgium – in March 2020, start in Poland – in August 2021. Working on the project – between March 2019 and August 2021.
The fundamental challenge of the project was to build a product unprecedented on the European market; mobile banking with a subscription-based business model. The Aion Bank team, together with Efigence, set themselves the goal of creating from scratch not only a mobile application, but also business processes and banking products, to correspond to the lifestyle model of the target group. To this end, the following target group features were identified: professional and personal mobility within the EU, familiarity with a subscription purchasing model.
Larger banks, constrained by the traditional design of their products, are not in a position to satisfy such a target group. A significant problem addressed by Aion Bank is the lack of time that customers have to delve more deeply into financial matters.
This target group wants to focus on the professional and private aspects of their lives and tend to look for solutions that will take on the hassle of analyzing and, above all, optimizing their personal finances. They do not use the extensive tools offered by traditional banks which are anyway mostly offered outside the mobile channel. Our response to these needs was to design a few key functionalities. The basic layer is an element of the application that supports daily banking – daily banking with the use of a mobile multicurrency account, where operating in several European currencies becomes second nature. Of course, mobile payments are the basis of each transaction. The second aspect is the profit from savings that the application helps to maximize.
This is done by browsing the savings product market in a given country and proactively proposing the best places to allocate funds. In this way, we focused on the transparency that is so valued by the target group. The third layer is the optimization of expenses – again in a transparent manner - carried out by Aion by browsing the market of domestic media and service providers forming the customer's cyclical expenses, and proposing to take on the hassle of switching to another operator or supplier of electricity, gas, etc. Another area that needed to be designed was the module that facilitates investment in ETFs and gives access to global markets.
Processes have been developed here that allow for a simple determination of the level of risk agreed to, and the ability to easily invest in ready-made portfolios – important for customers who do not have investor expertise. This module was particularly demanding in terms of design, as it assumed a low level of investor knowledge and the need to provide a sense of security when using banking services. So, transparency and security are key aspects of the project. In addition, Aion is a bank, not a fintech, in a legal sense, offering guarantees and security at the level of traditional banks.
The most important distinguishing feature of Aion Bank is the 100% mobility of its services, as well as the fact that it is the first such bank with a subscription-based business model in Europe. It is also worth emphasizing that the Aion team catered to the needs of customers who are hungry for innovation, but also appreciate the security provided by traditional banking, creating a unique lifestyle solution.
Innovative nature / importance
The Aion application is a boon for people who need to consciously manage their finances in a world where there is no time for lengthy financial analysis processes, anyway usually only available in desktop version. They want a constantly available, easyto-use tool that not only takes care of finances, but also optimizes expenses and multiplies savings. In addition, Aion also offers a low entry threshold into the world of investments for the user who has no time to gain professional knowledge in this field.
The works were carried out on a scrum process basis, carried out in interdisciplinary groups comprising experts from Aion Bank, Efigence and other suppliers responsible for individual functionalities. The Aion Bank team was responsible for the business layer, the Efigence team was responsible for UX / UI and front-end development of interface components.
The project provided a level of innovation that was not comparable to any benchmark on the market. During the first month of operation, accounts were opened by 10 000 people investing half a billion Polish zlotys. Between December 2020 and December 2021, Aion increased its membership by 128%. Aion became a highly-available bank that European customers can carry with them wherever they go – in their pockets.