Banking Tech Awards 2021 Winner: Snoop – Best Open Banking Solution
We talk to John Natalizia, CEO and co-founder at Snoop, about the company’s innovative offering and what’s next for the app that helps people “live smarter”.
Congratulations on winning the best open banking solution! Can you tell us about your app, what are some of its main features?
Snoop is an award-winning consumer focused business that helps people spend, save and live smarter. Using secure open banking data and advanced analytics, we provide data-driven, personalised insights (‘Snoops’) to help consumers find their biggest money saving opportunities as well as helping them manage their money.
Users can view all balances and transactions in the app, save money as our finance tracker finds you voucher and discount codes at favourite stores, get a daily personalised feed of smart spending and saving tips – daily balance alerts, weekly spending reviews, plus a weekly preview of upcoming bills.
The preview of upcoming bills is a particular favourite with our customers. Our Smart Spending Tracker helps to cut wasteful subscriptions and our bill tracker makes it easy to spot where to save money, switch to better deals at exactly the right time, and plan with confidence.
What are the most important and innovative Snoop features?
We’ve designed the app to be easy to use, simple and smart and it’s our combination of cutting-edge comparison technology and custom-engineered machine learning model, that makes Snoop a hyper-personalised experience.
We believe that by combining the best capability of the neo-banks, money management, price comparison websites, switching services, cashback sites and money saving services into one app – we can deliver something uniquely useful, super relevant and practical in the everyday lives of people.
How long did the service take to develop and when was it launched?
A group of us left Virgin Money after the CYBG acquisition back in 2018 and we thought deeply about whether to create a new bank from scratch. Deep down however we knew that a proposition based on open banking technology, rather than a traditional banking model, could be a gamechanger. We sketched out the vision and purpose for the business.
We call it ‘EBO’ which stands for our ambition to make everyone better off. We then set about working out how we’d go about achieving it – all from kitchen tables and various coffee shops around London and Norwich!
Coronavirus and the subsequent lockdowns were a big change for everyone and so, after a successful beta, we actually launched two months ahead of plan. We knew money was going to be tight for so many people worked flat out to get to market as soon as humanly possible.
How does Snoop work or sit within the open banking ecosystem?
We are a third-party provider. We span personal financial management, bill and utility switching services, price comparison and increasingly neo banking.
One of the biggest benefits of open banking is the huge market we’re playing into. Over 25 million people use their mobile to manage their money and Snoop can plug into 50 banks, deliver consumers a better experience and save them lots of money.
As a result, in the years to come I genuinely believe that the best experience in banking will no longer be with a bank.
What have been the benefits of this for customers? How have you measured its success?
Helping people to manage their money more effectively – functional stuff like helping keep track of bills, payments and spending to saving both time and money is rewarding – but I have to say I love reading feedback from customers where Snoop has helped change their lives for the better, particularly from people who say they would otherwise struggle to manage their finances.
Downloads, login, dwell time, commercial performance and other metrics are all important, but nothing gets you out of bed in the morning more than knowing you are making a positive difference in people’s lives.
What are the most important trends in open banking next year and beyond?
I think we’ll see a mix of push and pull factors combine. There is huge demand amongst UK consumers to save and manage their money better. And with consumers and households facing severe financial headwinds – in the shape of increased prices, interest rates heading north, energy bills going through the roof and the increase to national insurance contributions – the squeeze on the cost of living will pull more and more people in to explore and try open banking-based solutions to help them navigate the changes, control what they can, and keep more of their money in their pocket.
In turn, accelerated adoption will push new investment, new entrants and a broader set of scalable propositions that make people’s lives easier. At Snoop we’ll certainly be looking to play our part in popularising the benefits of open banking and continue to target significant scale.
At a more technical level – the implementation of Variable Recurring Payments (VRP), combined with the scrapping of 90-day reauthentication, will both be huge when it comes to unlocking open banking’s full potential.
And finally, I think we’ll really start to see the bigger picture and the possibilities of embedded and open finance emerge.
Do you plan to develop the app over the coming year?
Absolutely! We’ve got some game-changing features coming up that I just can’t wait for customers to try. We’ll be looking to take financial management to the next level by enabling customers to further personalise, fine tune and manage their money to fit their circumstances and financial goals.
Being able to set limits by value or frequency – for example telling someone when they’ve spent, say over £100 in a certain category (or merchant) during their specific pay cycle – will not only help with money management and budgeting, but will also help surface unusual activity or fraudulent behaviour. This will remove the personal burden to login each day, scan and check everything is as it should be because Snoop will do the hard work for customers 24/7.
This type of bespoke financial management as well as putting financial management in the context of life events, stages and goals – rather than balances and transactions – is the way to really help people make sense of their money.
And when combined with a daily personalised feed of smart spending tips and the ability to switch suppliers at exactly the right time, we’re aiming to build the ultimate money app that can genuinely make everyone better off.
CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL BANKING TECH AWARDS WINNERS SUPPLEMENT, IT’S FREE AND FEATURES SOME OF THE MOST IMPACTFUL AND INNOVATIVE PROJECTS, PRODUCTS, SERVICES AND PEOPLE IN THE BANKING TECH/FINTECH SPACE IN 2021!