Activobank has been at the technological forefront of Portugal’s banking industry since its origins in 1994 as a 24/7 phone banking service. Today it is one of the most important players in online banking in Portugal. CEO Dulce Mota discusses the bank’s constant pursuit of technological innovation, including its latest mobile app feature: ActivoPay. She also explains what’s drawing people to ActivoBank’s brand of convenient mobile banking, and why offering the fastest account opening process in Portugal is so important to the bank’s growth.
World Finance: Activobank has been at the technological forefront of Portugal’s banking industry since its origins in 1994 as a 24/7 phone banking service. Today it is one of the most important players in online banking in Portugal. CEO Dulce Mota joins me to discuss the bank’s constant pursuit of technological innovation, and its latest mobile app feature: ActivoPay.
Let’s start with ActivoPay; what is this new feature?
Dulce Mota: We are very proud about this new feature! With ActivoPay you can withdraw or send money just with your smartphone. So you don’t need a card, you don’t need any special technology. Just with your smartphone you can withdraw or send money.
We released it last October – it was a success, we were the first bank in Portugal to introduce this kind of feature. Our customers reacted very well – we already have about 10 percent of our customer base already using this service. We think that we’ll get another figure above that, so, our objective is to attain 30 percent of our customer base using this service. And maybe in the next months we will attain it.
Because the service is very interesting, very simple, very easy. And it’s like the value proposition of ActivoBank.
World Finance: What’s drawing people to your brand of convenient mobile banking?
Dulce Mota: It’s our value proposition, you know: we are a simple bank, with a few products. Our concept of doing banking is taking transparency and honesty to our customers.
For example, we don’t have 10 cards: we have one card. If you want to buy a house, we don’t show you 15 solutions: we show you one solution. For us it’s the best, and for you it’s also the best.
So people appreciate this kind of approach. Being simple, being honest, being transparent. And without commissions. Most of our services we don’t cover anything from our customers.
So, I think we are in the right way of the bank of the future.
World Finance: How do you listen to your customers to identify the digital solutions that they need?
Dulce Mota: Nowadays it’s quite different, how we can see what our customers are seeing and looking at. So, we use a lot of social media; especially Youtube, Instagram, and Facebook, where we have thousands of customers looking at us, where we are always introducing news or facts or something that we want to share with them.
We also contact directly our customers when they have their birthday, when they have a son, when we think they need a mortgage. So we have different types of contacts, depending on the lifecycle and the way the people want us to interact with them.
So, we are not a common bank about normal publicity. We are a different bank, because we try to be with our customers where they are.
World Finance: You have the fastest account opening in Portugal; why is this so important?
Dulce Mota: Because as we are a digital bank, and we want to be present in all the country, and we just have about 15 branches – that are not normal branches! We call them Active Points.
We introduced this year this digital onboarding. Everyone can open an account in ActivoBank just sitting at home, or at a café, or in the car. Nowadays we can open an account in six minutes – that’s our best performance. It’s very easy, and in the next moment you already have your account number, you can do the first transfer to the account, you can use the account from this moment. So it’s very easy and simple.
We increased about 70 percent our customer base this year – it is a huge objective, and we are very proud of that. And next year we hope that it also will increase.
World Finance: What’s next, then?
Dulce Mota: We always think about that, because we are not satisfied with the present! We are thinking about improving our services in the browser. Maybe we will also have some news for the next months. And especially in personal loans and mortgages.
We are also looking at different processes and different experiences for our customers. So maybe next year I can tell you some news about this next future.
World Finance: Dulce, thank you very much.
Dulce Mota: Thank you Paul, it was a pleasure.