BNP Paribas Fortis rejuvenates and goes mobile with Hello bank!
With the slogan “Mobile, just like you” (Why didn’t we think of that!) BNP today launched Hello bank!, an app-exclusive mobile bank. While operating under the BNP Paribas Fortis umbrella, Hello bank! is a completely new bank. After the big credit crisis, this the first step in Europe’s financial sector to simplify and open a world most associated with bureaucracy, hidden fees, and nameless facades.
With the backbone of an international financial institution and dealing with real money, the offer only becomes even more inviting when you hear that there are no costs on the basic package. Another big plus is that customer support is very active on Twitter, Facebook, Mail, Phone and Call Back. When encountering problems or requiring information, you no longer have to go to the bank (which let’s face it, is always closed when you finally have time to go), or overcharges you for things you got for free when you where younger than 26.
The bank launches with a free current account and a savings account. Also included are 2 free bank cards for usage in the SEPA zone, an interest rate of 0.25% on the current account, and an extensive support team. Launching as paid extras are a virtual or plastic prepaid debit card (Mastercard at launch, later on also VISA and insurance for mobile devices. Registration is a simple four-step process, while regular clients of BNP Paribas Fortis can join with quick migration form.
While the app for now seems to run on the same engine as the pre-existing BNP Fortis App, the Hello bank! is quite a bit friendlier on usage, and in a constant state of upgrades. Even hours after launch an update squashing some bugs is already awaiting’s Apple approval for launch in the App Store. When suggesting some features on Twitter we got a prompt reply that they loved the idea and will be implementing those in the future.
Developers themselves can rejoice too, as later this year Hello bank! will release secure API’s and SDK’s for implementations in their own apps.
As early adaptor junkie we decided during the launch to transform our accounts and give this new offer a thorough testing. Overall impressions are great with a well-thought out app, with many features, and even more to come. A representative assured us that any of the missing features that we described would be coming soon.
One thing that we didn’t like though, was the app language settings. While it launches in 4 different tongues, it’s the language that you signed your contract, that is forced upon you while using the app. All in the name of ‘simplifying the customer experience’.
That one minor thing got solved very quick when we had contact with the actual customer support. If this quality of service and supports will stay this level, we are at the dawn of a new era in banking.
Hello bank! is launching today in Belgium and Germany, with a future release in France and Italy. The apps are available on the App Store (iPhone and iPad) and Google Play. A Windows Phone app is planned for the future.