App-based bank puts a social twist on finance

Most high street banks have already launched their own smartphone apps to offer customers simple access to their accounts. Russia’s Instabank, however, is an entirely app-based bank that uses Facebook and Foursquare data to make money transfers and bill tracking easier.

Those downloading the free iOS app are instantly issued with a Virtual MasterCard, which can be loaded with funds and used to pay for online purchases. By connecting their Facebook accounts, users can send money quickly and directly to friends by choosing the recipient and amount. They can also send a message and image along with the payment to let them know what it’s for. These come up in the app’s visual statement, which is updated in real time, sorted into smart categories and searchable by keyword. Those with a Foursquare account can also attach locations to each payment to better remind them of the details. The app also helps users to collect payments from friends for a joint gift or if they footed the bill for a shared activity. Finally, all financial activity can be viewed in nicely-designed infographic form to provide customers with useful statistics about their income and outgoings.

The team behind Instabank offer ten percent interest per annum and hope to offer the ability to pay Facebook friends who don’t use Instabank, as well as an Android version in the near future. Are there other traditional businesses that could be given a digital makeover?


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