Zak: Switzerland’s First Mobile Only Bank

Earlier this year, Bank Cler launched Zak, Switzerland’s first mobile only bank.

Zak sets a precedent for what people can expect from a bank. This stride into digitization was achieved through a strong network of experts working in close collaboration and applying robust agile methods to launch this project in record time.

Banking is not necessarily an industry that stands for quantum leaps in innovation, digitalization and contemporary change. Bank Cler, formerly Bank Coop, is considered an exception and has been breaking new ground since 2017 with its rebranding.

The bank has now taken action on its new stance as a digital bank with physical branches through launching Zak, Switzerland’s first mobile only bank and boasting simplicity.

Zak is a complete (and free) bank, created for smartphones. From day one, real users of the app selected from the target audience of younger, digital-savvy consumers were closely involved in the development of Zak.

Sandra Lienhart, Bank Cler’s CEO said “When we analyzed our customer structure as part of the rebranding, we identified a particular need to bring on board new customers under the age of 40.”

The collaborative nature of Zak’s development revealed the differing needs of younger people when it comes to their mobile bank and were the basis for the user experience and technical realization.

Stefan Erschwendner from LHBS, an expert in customer insights and marketing strategy, emphasizes: “The Zak app was developed not just fast, but above all – customer-oriented.” For example, “saving pots” were developed, representing the “mental accounting” of the users in a simple and intuitive way. Users can create and name as many “pots” as they have goals, and easily move their money between them or set up automated transfers. Thus, the customer is constantly in the picture and has a clear overview of how much money they have available – all mobile and in real time.

Taking on-board insights gained from integrating continuous feedback, the team was able to complete this project in just 11 months and gain over 37,500 downloads within this time.

This record time for development and release can be attributed to the close collaboration, hands-on input and agile approach to working of the bank and its expert partners, who brought experience from the fields of Digital Transformation, Agile Functioning and Customer Focusing, Digital Banking Services, API’s and Ecosystem, and Prototyping and User Experience.

Hear from all partners and their contributions in this video.

The well-received launch of the unrivaled app has revolutionized the banking landscape in Switzerland and even inspired international Fin-tech startups, indicating a promising future for Bank Cler and its partners in digital.

The secret of successful customer adoption of Switzerland’s first, free bank for the smartphone? Concentrated know-how. The interaction of all partners brings together the expertise from specific areas to deliver a highly valuable and intuitive product to the customer, from one source.

“Thanks to the know-how of the external consultants, our organization was able to learn. We have become more agile and the entire workforce has taken a step into the digital future,” says Lienhart.

The dedication for continuous improvement for its users makes it clear this bank is not a one-trick-pony, but a pioneer to watch in the digital banking landscape. Christian Berger of Finnoconsult states: “It is especially important to keep up-to-date. The project is by no means finished with the launch. The app is to be constantly further developed and improved in the coming years – together with the bank.”

More about Zak

Zak offers a free account, free Maestro card and free credit card. Basic banking features can be easily found within the app: transfer, invoice scanning, standing orders, list of all account activity, total balance, IBAN, card lock in case of loss.

Additional features include Zak’s “saving pots” for personalized goal setting and saving and expense management where users can see who owes whom and how much at a glance. Debts can be settled within Zak with one click.

Zak is the linchpin for an entire digital ecosystem of Bank Cler and numerous partners to form a digital marketplace offering even more to Zak users. Partners span industries and customers receive offers from companies such as insurance providers and online retailers directly within the app. Zak is therefore the basis for the digital offer and business model “Beyond Banking.”


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