Developed in Dublin: KBC’s new app creates digital debit card in five minutes

7 Sep 2017

Eddie Dillon, director of innovation at KBC Bank Ireland. Image: Naoise Culhane

Challenger bank KBC takes on established order as well as neobanks.

KBC’s innovation hub in Dublin has revealed a new banking app that will shake up how consumers set up and move to new bank accounts.

The app has the potential to revolutionise personal digital banking, and it puts Dublin firmly on the global fintech map.

The company’s new app allows customers to open, activate and use a KBC card via their smartphone in just five minutes.

‘Only 3,600 people moved bank account in Ireland in the first half of 2016. That’s a derisory level of people moving bank accounts’

Termed the Instant Digital Debit Card (IDDC), the new fast account set-up means that users won’t have to wait for days for a physical debit card to arrive.

The app works by users entering their personal details, after which they will be sent an activation code from KBC.

Users then take a picture of their driving licence followed by a selfie and, after answering a series of questions, the bank account and IDDC are good to go. The card works with the Apple Pay wallet and Android Pay.

KBC’s 60-strong Dublin innovation hub is part of KBC Group’s €1.5bn digital transformation investment.

Dublin is a digital frontrunner for KBC

KBC Bank Ireland’s director of innovation, Eddie Dillon, explained that the bank worked with a number of fintech players to ensure the identity and security system was watertight, including IDscan, part of GBG in the UK.

“The aim is to enable people to set up bank accounts wherever they are, any time, day or night.

“The app’s UX is as good as anything N26, Clydesdale or Revolut provide, but what marks it apart is the fact that we can provision a debit card directly onto mobile. Both Apple and Google love this capability.”

He said that the new app, which is compliant with the EU’s Fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive, is a world first because it issues both a physical and digital debit card at the same time.

Dillon said that the idea behind the app is also to break the inertia in the Irish consumer finance world, where people are very slow to shop for financial products or change bank accounts.

“Only 3,600 people moved bank account in Ireland in the first half of 2016. That’s a derisory level of people moving bank accounts.”

Dillon said that the app was built using KBC’s open IT platform.

“This meant we could collaborate with fintech partners to finesse different elements of the app.

“For customers, it means we have whittled down the time to open a new active bank account from over a week to just five minutes, paper-free.”

KBC located its innovation hub in Dublin because it recognises the city as a digital frontrunner due to its young population, growing digital economy and high mobile penetration rates. These factors make it the ideal testbed for new digital products in personal banking.

Dillon said that the aim is to bring the app developed in Dublin to the wider KBC world, starting soon with Belgium.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years