CaixaBank launches mobile-only bank for millennials


Creates a new banking model that can be accessed exclusively through mobile apps

Spain’s CaixaBank is launching imaginBank, the country’s first mobile-only bank providing banking services exclusively through mobile apps and social networks.

The bank, led by Chairman Isidro Fainé and CEO Gonzalo Gortázar, has created a new fully-digital service model that uses the latest technology and the high penetration rates for smartphones and social networks, especially among the young adults segment.

At the launch of imaginBank, Gortázar positioned the initiative as part of the group’s, “commitment to providing new services that perfectly complement the more traditional banking model, thus helping CaixaBank to secure greater loyalty among a large swathe of existing young customers, as well as to drive new customer acquisition”.

The model differs starkly from the traditional multi-channel approach adopted by banks. imaginBank provides services that can be accessed exclusively through mobile applications and social networks. Users are able to manage their finances in a fully independent manner, with the support of ‘intelligent’ tech tools to allow continuous monitoring of their personal finances (budgeting, controlling and sorting expenditure, direct debit records, etc).

Isidro Fainé, chairman of la Caixa Group, points out that, “imaginBank combines two of our bank’s key strengths: on the one hand our leadership in the world of innovation and mobility, which has garnered worldwide recognition, and on the other hand, our experience as a leading bank among the young client segment in Spain. This has enabled us to incorporate in this project all the features that our young customers look for in financial services, such as digital banking, simplicity and service excellence”.

CaixaBank currently services 2.9 million customers aged between 18 and 35, with a market share in this segment of 30%, meaning one in three individuals in Spain in this age range are CaixaBank customers.

Gortázar outlined the type of customer that imaginBank is particularly targeting. “The model is clearly inspired by the values and aesthetics of the so-called millennials or digital natives. In truth, the service is aimed at young people of all ages; anyone to whom a new, simple and innovative service model might appeal”.

Gortázar added: “What we have created is a simple service offering; one that charges customers no maintenance fees but is comprehensive enough to cover all of the financial services demanded by the young target market. We have combined this with advanced technological capabilities and a genuinely digital experience to shape a highly competitive model and a set of benefits that is completely unique in the market.”

imaginBank customers manage their products and services via apps. Everything is run entirely on mobile devices. There is also an imaginBank website, but this is only provided as a source of basic information and instructions on how to become a customer.

The imaginBank mobile app can be downloaded for free from Google Play (for Android users) or from the App Store (for iOS users). The app features a very simple and intuitive design created specifically for the mobile environment. It allows users to browse and sign up for the full range of services and products, check their bank balance, query transactions and view their overall account activity. The language is very simple and clear to ensure optimal communication with customers. Furthermore, the imaginBank app supports fingerprint identification for devices that have fingerprint sensors.

imaginBank customers can also use CaixaBank ATMs to manage their finances and make transactions using a personalised interface. Likewise, imaginBank offers services for smartwatches, with a special application that includes an ATM and branch finder, as well as several other features.

One of the most innovative and unique services provided by imaginBank is the use of Facebook tools to manage personal finances. An application has been developed that allows users to interact with their bank without having to leave the Facebook environment and open other applications.

Customers can use the imaginBank Facebook application to find out their bank balance and view recent transactions in a fully secure environment.

Social networks are also harnessed to provide instant customer care services that are available 24 hours a day. The Twitter channel is available to all users, as is the customer service line. Furthermore, anyone registering with the imaginBank application can make use of an internal chat system to contact specialist account managers, while there is also a WhatsApp message line.

These customer service lines are designed to provide additional information and help to users. Products and services are always contracted by users themselves exclusively via imaginBank applications.

Customers will be able to get their card in traditional format, with the option of also getting duplicates in other formats such as wearable wristbands or the contactless Visa sticker to attach to a mobile device. The card may also be downloaded in virtual format to make payments directly via a phone. This harnesses host card emulation (HCE) technology and requires NFC-ready devices such as Android 4.4 (or higher).

The virtual card is stored in the imaginBank wallet, which is bundled with the mobile application, where users can temporarily or permanently activate and deactivate their cards.

The imaginBank application also features a P2P payment service that makes for exceedingly simple money transfers. Thus, small transfers between individuals, whether or not they be CaixaBank clients, can be made without having to enter account numbers. All users need is their mobile number or email.


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