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  • Innovation
  • Distribution Channel – Mobile
  • Italy

UniCredit Launches iOS-Only Mobile Bank

A new mobile bank just emerged in Europe from long-standing player UniCredit. This offer praises a human/digital approach materialised through a chatbot-based concierge service.

This new mobile bank called buddybank was presented a year ago by UniCredit, but has officially been launched this month. On 29 January, it has been made available for download in iOS.

Besides its one-of-a-kind iPhone-only model, buddybank also features a digital-human approach. The app includes a concierge service through a chatbot interface. This bot builds on Artificial Intelligence and human interactions. The service is charged 9.90 euros per month.

Some 15,000 users already registered for this offer. They may also customise their concierge service by answering a few questions regarding their lifestyle and preferences.

Comments – An atypical m-banking model

UniCredit’s choice of marketing approach for buddybank is rather unusual since it builds on iOS only. This decision is driven by partnerships-related concerns (work already underway with Apple), and it supports a high-end branding image, enhanced by their concierge service. UniCredit stresses that buddybank aims for an image relatively similar to Apple’s.

A mobile Eldorado confirmed

BNP Paribas was one of the first traditional banks to launch their own mobile-dedicated brand, Hello Bank!, back in 2013, in France. Since then, they also bought out Compte-Nickel, and now rely on both these digital offers to grow. According to the latest figures they shared, BNP Paribas was the banking group which gained the most customers in 2017. This considered, they decided to keep aiming for a mobile strategy.

UniCredit goes slightly farther by natively integrating an AI technology in their model, while keeping a human touch. The idea is to reassure their future customers when it comes to adopting digital financial services. This choice is consistent with the high-end approach they support.