MovenAroundTheGlobe: Kiev, Ukraine

#MovenAroundTheGlobe: Kiev


Hello Readers,

Welcome to the first edition of #MovenAroundTheGlobe. Today, I’m in Kiev, Ukraine (where I will be starting and finishing this +48,000 km trip). It’s a sunny September day here in the city and I am excited to share some interesting insights with you about the current #FinTechLandscape the city that I now call home.

With a developing fintech scene, it’s really an interesting place to discuss the future of finance. Organizations such as the “FinTech Cluster” are blossoming in hopes of boosting growth in the sector, in an effort to bring the Ukraine further up on the list of global fintech hubs. There are two primary segments that are dominating the scene here: Credit & Lending and Bitcoin. After several meetings in Kiev, I’m noticing a shift from branch focus to digital channel focus. Something that was unthinkable only a few years ago for the established banks. Another encouraging sign is that some of Ukraine’s larger banks are looking at creating an ecosystem of FinTech partners, rather than opt for in-house development. Last but not least, there has been phenomenal support from the National Bank of Ukraine from a legislative perspective to pave the way for Ukraine to leapfrog some of their Western neighbors.

Given my experience in Kiev so far, I’m very excited about the future for Moven in Eastern Europe. Hope you found my insights interesting! The next stop on my journey will be New York City, where I’ll be presenting the latest innovations from our team at #FinovateFall2017. Be on the lookout for my next post, “#MovenAroundTheGlobe: New York”, on the blog soon!

Until next time,

Morten Kriek
Moven Enterprise


#MovenAroundTheGlobe With Morten Kriek


Hello Readers,

I joined the Moven Enterprise team a few months back, as the VP EMEA. Since my arrival, we have grown and flourished as a company and, today, I am pleased to share with you the beginning of a blog series about Moven’s upcoming trip around the globe. I will be travelling over 48,000 kilometers (that’s more than a trip around the planet, which is just 40,008 km), taking 11 flights in just 12 days, in search of partners to continue Moven’s global expansion. At each destination along the route, I will review our learnings and share an update on the latest developments in the FinTech market of that country. The first stop will be Kiev, Ukraine. Be on the lookout for “#MovenAroundTheGlobe: Kiev” on our blog soon!

Until next time,

Morten Kriek
Moven Enterprise


Try before buy – It’s everywhere else. Why not banking?


For most consumer products the notion of “try before you buy” is commonplace. It’s obvious right? Before I buy a shirt or pair of shoes, I want to try them on and make sure they fit. Before I see a movie, I want to watch the preview. Even with cars, there’s a test drive. But what about banking? Have you ever heard of “trying out” a checking account? Some will say you can visit a branch and get a “feel” for the bank and the service it provides. Really? Do you honestly think that you can get a sense of that without an account? What would you be getting a feel for? The branch teller’s opinion on today’s weather? How many loops in the line before you get to the front of the queue?

The truth is this: banking is one of the rare consumer service industries where there has been NO concept, anywhere in the world, of “try before you buy”. In fact, it’s actually much worse than that. In many cases you have to do significant work before you can even buy a bank product – fill out paper forms, provide sensitive life information, spend precious time waiting in lines. It’s definitely not “try before you buy”, instead it’s more like “buy, work for it, and then try”.

At Moven, we’ve just changed all that.

We offer a spending card and app that work together to help you understand your everyday behaviors so you can build better financial habits and save more. That’s our product and you can indeed “try it before you buy it.” You can download our free app and easily link other spending cards you might already have – a bank debit card, a credit card, a charge card. Then you can see how our app analyzes your spending and provides you with insight into your habits. You can try it out and see how it helps you effortlessly stay on top of how you’re spending and where you’re spending so you can make better spending decisions and know when/how to save. We let you try all of that. If you like it, you can get a Moven card and do “smart banking” with us.

“Try before you buy” for banking… ‘novel concept’ or ‘it’s about time’? You tell us.

pokemoven minimal

Pokémon Go, A/R & The Emergence of Context


If the #twittersphere is to be believed, the hottest thing on the planet right now is Pokémon Go. For those of you not familiar with PG, it is a new game that merges geo-location, augmented reality and behavioral gamification to engage users in a unique game environment. There are reports of people walking miles to play the game and find more Pokémon. There are reports of people leaving home at 3am in the morning to find Pokémon. There are even people suggesting that this game brought their family together or got them out of their house for the first time in days or weeks. This thing is blowing up!


Pokémon Go utilizes a technology called Augmented Reality. A/R allows them to overlay graphics or data over our ‘real-world view’ through a camera or similar instrument thus ‘augmenting’ your physical environment. In the game you will see a Pokémon identified as a small icon on your game map, when you click on it your camera fires up and you see the Pokémon projected into your field of view, where you have to trap it with a ball by tossing it at the Pokémon on your screen.


The Pokemon phenomenon is showing us a small glimpse of what life will be like over the next 10-15 years as Augmented reality starts to enhance our world. The lines between gaming, entertainment and the real world will change. We will start to see the digital and virtual worlds merge.


What does this mean for fintech?


In this new world, the way you manage your financial health will go through a radical shift. Context will become the single most important element of your day-to-day financial health. No one will budget, but they will have their financial behavior ‘gamified’ every day. The way good banks and financial partners will work is that they will engage you with tools like augmented reality, social engagement and behavioral psychology, to help you understand the choices you make every day. Was that last restaurant you visited good or bad for your financial health? Where should you eat or shop to ensure you save money this month? When are the days you spend the most, and why?


Offering you a higher savings interest rate might sound like a good deal if you live in the 20th century, but it doesn’t actually help you save MORE money. The only way to do that is to change your behavior. Reduce what you spend every day, understand how to change your behavior to save, understand the best times to save, etc. The tools we have through mobile, augmented reality, geo-location and other such technologies that operate in real-time to provide you with context and help you modify your behavior are the future of your financial health.


Pokémon Go isn’t a banking app, but it does give us a glimpse into how very different the world of banking, investment and financial advice will be in 10 year’s time, and why banking is no longer a place you go, but something you do – on your phone.


Welcome to Moven


Bringing Banking to the Cloud


Traditional banks have been very hesitant to embrace the opportunities afforded by operating in the cloud. Security concerns, often unfounded, make the public cloud a particular point of fear for most traditional financial institutions, despite the many benefits it offers in terms of efficiency, scalability, and innovation. As a result, banks are pouring significant resources into building their own private cloud solutions.


However, the private cloud model, when taking the total solution in aggregate, misses out on the main advantages of cloud itself when considering 3 major concerns. First, the isolation of the private cloud model severely limits the cost efficiencies that can only be realized with the global economies of scale enabled by the public cloud. Second, implementation, switching, and maintenance costs of the underlying private cloud infrastructure will often completely erode any marginal efficiency gains realized by operating in a private cloud. Third, and most importantly, private cloud infrastructure can never keep up with the pace of innovation that the public cloud is offering. Sadly, if large banks ever actually complete their private cloud model, they will immediately be 5 years behind the industry on new cloud capabilities, especially when compared to what innovative fin-tech startup competitors can do with the public cloud.


Moven, on the other hand, has no legacy concerns to worry about and is able to fully leverage public cloud economies of scale and innovation. In fact, Moven is leveraging Amazon’s public cloud to enable its “smart bank account” distribution model across the globe, most recently with TD Bank Canada and Westpac New Zealand. Because of this, Moven bypasses many of the restrictions big banks encounter with the private cloud, enabling unprecedented global expansion of innovative business capabilities, while being even more secure than a private data center or private cloud model.


In fact, Moven is not just leveraging Amazon’s public cloud to “host infrastructure”, but has built a proprietary technology on top of AWS’s “Infrastructure as Code” capabilities, dubbed the Moven Global Distributor (MGD). The MGD has enabled Moven to take the Agile method to the extreme with advanced continuous delivery, radical development efficiency, and ultra-high quality environment management.  As an example, Moven is able to deploy an entire enterprise financial wellness and banking stack to any AWS-enabled country in a matter of hours, something that would take a large bank over a year to complete, while supporting a globally replicated multi-tenant model that segments client data in each country but still enforces a re-usable model across clients.

Screenshot 2016-05-24 16.07.15

TD MySpend – Changing the way Banks & Fintechs work together


Two weeks ago, at Finovate in San Jose, we presented “TD MySpend” on stage with Rizwan Khalfan, the Chief Digital Officer of our partner TD Bank. You can watch a video of that presentation here. But let me tell you why we think that TD MySpend is such an important milestone, not just for Moven but for the FinTech space as a whole.

  1. Re-inventing PFM – At Moven, we’ve long talked about the goal of killing the need for budgeting. TD MySpend represents a huge step in that direction. Why? For us, traditional budgeting tools, PFM tools, and similar approaches have two defining characteristics: They are anchored by or oriented around specific “goals”. They are dependent on “rear-view” analysis (i.e. reviewing behaviors that happened in the past by at least a day, most likely a couple of weeks or more before the user actually looks at it).  TD MySpend breaks this model in two major ways. Firstly, it’s not about setting goals, it’s about being aware of habits. Secondly, insight is provided in real time, as soon as you purchase something with a TD debit or credit card. In our opinion this takes traditional PFM/Budgeting from a niche use case (that will benefit and be adopted by a precious few who are willing to work hard to set it up and maintain it) and blows it up into a mass market use case that everyone can easily adopt and benefit from. Early results of TD MySpend are showing just that.


  1. Challenging omni-channel – TD MySpend is a mobile app and for the foreseeable future, it only needs to be a mobile app compatible with other mobile devices like watches. Why? Because TD MySpend’s value is about everyday lifestyle and spending. And everyday lifestyle and spending happens mainly when you are out and about. It happens when you swipe your card or tap your phone. Not on a tablet, and not on your work desktop. So, when many in the banking industry still hold tight to the omni-channel commandment of “equal services across all channels”, TD MySpend is blazing a new trail by following customer behaviors. Over the long term, narrowing the channel focus ought to reduce long term costs and increase speed and agility significantly.


  1. Leading the way for bank/fintech partnerships – Here are a couple of words that describe the TD MySpend solution approach – cloud based, real time, agile, companion app. How often do these words describe a typical bank/tech vendor solution? We’re working with TD in new ways that test both them and us. Both of us had to define new ways to work so that we could drive rapid innovation at enterprise scale.


We’re very proud to have partnered with TD on MySpend. We couldn’t be more excited by its launch and its gangbuster growth since then. This weekend it was the #2 downloaded app in all of Canada…behind Snapchat but ahead of Facebook, Instagram and Spotify.  What’s more… advertising hasn’t even started.  How about that for a banking app!


How the Smartphone Revolutionized Personal Finance


The smartphone revolution is about much more than putting mobile devices into the pockets of people all over the world. It’s largely about giving people access to apps that they can use to simplify their lives.

Through mobile apps, people have taken charge of their personal finances like never before. Consider these three ways that your smartphone can help you take control of your spending:

1. Smartphone Apps Making Banking Easy

According to research from the Pew Research Center, about 57 percent of smartphone owners use their devices for online banking. Apps that connect people to their bank accounts give them more control over their money than traditional bank accounts and paper checks.

Some of the top features to look for in banking apps include options that let you:

  • Pay for purchases with your phone
  • Link all of your accounts to one location
  • Access your account at any time
  • Receive notifications to avoid overdraft fees
  • Deposit checks remotely

Plus, you can track your spending. If you work freelance, then you can use the app to organize your business expenses. That feature comes in handy when you’re figuring out how much you can deduct on your tax forms.

2. Smartphone Apps Encourage Smart Spending

Managing your personal finances isn’t just about accessing your money. It’s also about spending money in smart ways.
Smartphones have become essential for commuters who want to spend as little money as possible, and the Uber app is a perfect example. When you compare the price of using Uber with the price of using a traditional taxi, it becomes obvious that Uber helps you spend less, especially since you don’t tip Uber drivers. In Los Angeles, a five-mile taxi ride costs $19.62 after tip. Using Uber lowers the price to just $9.40.

The effect on “millennials,” or those reaching adulthood around the year 2000, is huge. The myth is that millennials waste money by buying products and services via their smartphones. The truth is that using a smartphone is a responsible way to manage money, spend mindfully and comparison shop to always get the best prices.

3. Improve Productivity to Make More Money

Some smartphone apps can help you make more money, especially if you work freelance or have a job that pays bonuses for meeting goals. Adding a productivity app to your phone can help ensure that you make enough money to finance your lifestyle while you save for the future.
Some useful apps include:

The new financial landscape is all about putting you in control of your money. When you make your smartphone a central part of your financial plan, it will reward you.


Money 2020 Europe

FinTech Collaboration – Bet your job on it


FIs have complex, expensive and rigid IT environments and processes. They live in a poorly integrated batch world while their customers have moved on to a real time – always-on commerce model that they are challenged to support.  If it were just as easy as appointing a Chief Innovation/Digital/Cool Dude Officer or establishing a Venture arm we wouldn’t still be where we are.  Sadly, hard problems rarely have simple solutions. A recent Citigroup report has predicted a reduction in banking staff of 30% over the next decade. This quantifies the urgent pressures financial services firms are facing. We’ve heard this for years, but this time it is different. Why?


This time it’s different…


There are two drastic changes that make this cycle of disruption and innovation different from prior decades.


The customer is in charge. Customer expectations have leaped forward. A new generation of customers, and a few digital savvy older ones, don’t visit branches, fill out applications, fax documents, and wait 5-7 business days for anything. They expect an always-on digital experience that helps them to do what THEY want to do. They are not interested in YOUR product. In prior years, while the customer wanted a different experience, they didn’t really have any alternatives. Moving from one bank to another was very difficult and often resulted in little more than the color of their plastic changing.


Today, your customers have choices. IT firms, retailers, Telco’s, Fintechs and neo-banks are in the fray disrupting banks, siphoning off profitable customers and services, and filling the void between customer expectations and heritage bank products.


Fintech Competition. Fintech firms have raised $7B USD in January of this year alone. The venture capital market is voting that financial services is in need of disruption and customers are voting with their wallets.  Firms such as Betterment, Moven, Lending Club and Stripe are disrupting customer acquisition, payments, wellness, investments and loans. Each of these fintechs have established themselves as formidable competition to any bank by innovating and optimizing the processes that customers care about most.  This is being done through a counterintuitive change in business, technology, or model. That’s the bad news. That’s the bet your job news.



Fintech Collaboration. Fintechs provide FIs an opportunity to leapfrog traditional incremental development and deploy digital services better/faster/cheaper with wildly different economics. Chances are, in every strategic process you have today, there are dozens of well-funded Fintech firms focusing on disrupting that process and changing the economics. What happens if they join forces? Ondeck and Chase, Moven and TD are just two examples. Cooperation is enabling the internal disruption that will drive change within an organization, instead of waiting for the disruption to come externally.


The real opportunity is to combine the innovation and unconventional thinking of Fintechs with the reach and resources of traditional financial institutions.  In recent research by Cubeyou, when Millennials are asked about relevance, Fintechs like Moven, Gobank and Simple top the list, while the same group rates Chase, American Express and USAA as tops for reach. Collaboration across these dimensions is the key to industry innovation.


A word of caution, the bureaucratic force is strong in FIs. The institutional temptation to either build it or kill it, is the graveyard of many great ideas.


The conservative posture of IT and Risk Management, the vendor hostile orientation of Strategic Sourcing and the Middle Management fear of failure, are a toxic trilogy to thwart real innovation. If you are not failing occasionally, you’re not innovating enough. If it takes longer to negotiate the contract and pick a vendor than it does to do the project, you’re not moving fast enough. If you find yourself falling back to a product orientation, you’re not being new enough.  In the endless pursuit of better, faster, cheaper – you’ll need to change your behavior to get different results. FinTechs can help.

Want to hear more? Join us at Money 20/20 Europe on Thursday, April 6th, where we will be talking more in depth about FinTech collaboration.

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