Banking made smarter: Your account always at hand
About the customer
Československá obchodní banka, a.s. (ČSOB) is one of the largest financial institutions on the Czech market. It offers a wide range of financial products and services to its clients, be it natural persons, small or medium businesses, or corporate and institutional customers. ČSOB also operates under a trademark Poštovní spořitelna on the Czech market.
ČSOB Smartbanking and Poštovní spořitelna Smartbanking apps (which we did not originally develop), have ceased to meet today’s standards, market demands, and trends over time. They also had to be unified with the recommended guidelines for both platforms (iOS and Android) that constantly change and update.
Our client requested a new app for smart banking for both, ČSOB Smartbanking and Poštovní spořitelna Smartbanking. The assignment was to create an optimized and functional code; to get rid of the redundant features, and develop the whole app for it to be as modern as possible in order to meet all the demands of the current users and banking standards. And this had to apply for all devices, smartphones, tablets, smartwatches, …
The design of the app was also to be completely revamped. It was necessary to do an overall visual facelift. We were also responsible for implementing the new design based on the graphic designs we received.
It was very important to take over the know-how, ensure smooth and continuous development, and to start running within the ČSOB ecosystem asap. That’s why we faced a very tight schedule from the start. We started working on the app in November 2017, with the Android version being finalized in May 2018, and the iOS version in June 2018.
The project required substantial cooperation from us when designing the User Experience (UX). We did our best to systematically pass on our know-how gained from other projects and fields. Therefore, we also communicated with other suppliers and were a part of the group who finalized the graphic design. In this regard, we held expert consultations quite often for the sole purpose of achieving the best result.
A great challenge to overcome was the initial distrust of the client. We are happy to say that we managed to overcome this challenge, and we proved that we are a beneficial partner to the bank.
We applied an agile project management approach for this project to ensure flexibility and overall control over the whole project. Applying this method to the project made the project one of the pioneering ones for the client. We continuously offered feedback and recommendations to ČSOB on the submitted requirements, and, when suitable, we also played the role of the opponent. Based on our feedback, some of the requirements were changed, and others served as possible suggestions for improvement in the following stages of the project.
We developed the Android version in a modern language Kotlin. For iOS, there is now only one app for smartphones and tablets, and this new app is optimized for the most recent display sizes, including the iPhone X model or higher, thanks to the auto layout function. The original app had a different version written for each device. We also added the support of iOS 9 and higher, and Android 4.3 and higher. For SmartWatch, we support watchOS 3.1, and 3.5 for WearOS.
The most design changes, compared to the previous Smartbanking version, were done to the main overview window, dashboard, and to the payment cards menu. For an easier work around, the new designs are in the form of vectors, so there is no need to generate them in several bitmap versions for various display sizes. In the iOS app we consistently use the storyboards and assets catalogs, which were missing in the previous version.
The ČSOB Smartbanking and Poštovní spořitelna Smartbanking apps are now mobile banking apps that can go toe to toe with any competition. It provides the clients with fast and easy access to their accounts. Thanks to Smartbanking, they can easily make a payment, see the balance, search for the nearest ATM, or conclude travel insurance. Of course, the app also has many other features. A DEMO version of the app is available for anyone wishing to try it out without logging in. Thanks to its compatibility with smart watches, the clients have the basic functions literally at hand.
As part of the optimization we also added a split screen function, which will be appreciated mainly by the owners of phones with large screens. And we are hoping that every user will appreciate the added copy/paste function. Other useful functions are the possibility to make a payment during the weekend, or see information about the dealers in the transaction history menu. The clients can also find other products that they own from the whole ČSOB Group in the app.
But we regard the gained trust with the client to be the greatest success of the whole project. People from ČSOB are satisfied with our cooperation and that makes us proud! Now, we need to run the Smartbanking app and develop it further.
ČSOB Smart 1.5. – new version of the application (april 2021)
At the beginning of April 2021, a new version of the ČSOB Smart 1.5 application was released to ČSOB and Poštovní spořitelna customers. The new version of the application has been completely redesigned. Modern and open software architecture will allow flexible addition of new functions and services in the future.
We’ve also completely redesigned the design and control of the app . This gives users even faster and more convenient access to the information or function they need at the moment. Every second saved counts. Our UI/UX designers used their rich experience and knowledge to design.
In the new version of the application, users will find a revolutionary new feature, which is the smart voice assistant KATE . It can help with payments or inform about the account balance. Everything takes place in the form of a natural voice conversation. KATE learns quickly, so gradually more and more new tasks will be available that KATE will be able to help with.
Another interesting new feature is the possibility to create a new bank account directly from the app . In the same way, customers can order the ČSOB Drobné investment product directly from the application or, for example, Internet risk insurance.
Our 15-member team of developers, analysts, testers, UI/UX designers and a project manager worked intensively on the new version of the application for more than 6 months.
Summary of what’s new in version 1.5
- Completely redesigned application controls and design
- Smart voice assistant KATE
- The new application architecture enables fast and flexible deployment of new features and services in the future