Bó by NatWest

Bó – Designed to help you do money better

Bó by NatWest is a new banking service. It seeks to refresh the culture and logic that traditional institutions and new entrants still operate under. It’s a companion bank account for people’s everyday spending that adapts to each user’s individual situation to help them create healthier financial habits, and learn more about money along the way. Bó is a Living Service that responds to a global, human need – to “do money better.”

The perfect storm

Considering how central money is to the life one wants to lead, it’s surprising that many of our behaviors around it are detrimental to our financial health. Data from NatWest shows that three in four people in the UK have less than two weeks’ worth of funds to support themselves should something unexpected happen – a broken washer, a dented car, a leaking roof.

The UK’s Office for National Statistics has data to show that British households are borrowing more and saving less, and their expenses now often exceed their income. Globally, growing household debt is a long-term trend in many countries. Put that together with the fact that we’re all living longer, healthier lives, and we have a serious shortfall in the funds that will support our short- and long-term futures.

The financial sector itself faces changing regulation, new entrants, new technologies and the new business drivers these bring about – and banks don’t generally enjoy change. But banks should be an obvious part of the solution, as they have the ideal opportunity to offer today’s customers an experience that is on par with their expectations, and will help them develop healthier financial behaviors.

As David Erixon, CMO at Bó puts it, we’re currently in the middle of “a perfect storm” and now’s the right time to challenge the industry’s culture and conventions to stay relevant.

Helping people do money better

Our shortcomings when it comes to our money are not about knowing what to do. We know the principles – for instance, that we should spend less than we earn – but we struggle to put those principles into action. We’ve designed Bó to offer its customers a more intelligent bank account that can work together with people to help them recognize and change their regular financial habits for the better.

Control stays in the customer’s hands, and all the decisions are their own. Bó prompts them to make those decisions wisely and regularly, so that they gradually shift their behavior to a model that will help them to clear down debt and accrue savings.

A radically different approach

Every decision we made in the creation of Bó – be it around the experience, the function or the brand – is centered on understanding people and their needs, and guided by the promise of helping people do money better. The approach was informed by the analysis of millions of customers’ anonymized data to understand the broad patterns, and enriched with user interviews throughout the design process.

The joint Bó and Fjord team’s intent has always been to form a relationship with each customer, and to mold a service that responds to their personal needs with a self-learning system that gets smarter across time: Bó is a Living Service. A deep knowledge of human behavior and volumes of carefully managed data sit behind Bó’s ability to offer a truly personalized service that treats each person as an individual. The brand and the Bó experience were created through a service design process which David Erixon describes as “radically different.”