Creating a game-changing onboarding process for a mobile app

A leading financial services and insurance company had a goal to launch the world’s first behavioural banking app featuring a fully digital onboarding process and intuitive client experience. With a team of visionary decision-makers drawing on their prior successful collaboration with BBD, our client approached us once more to collaborate in turning this ambitious goal into a reality.


  • Allow for self-service onboarding that can be completed in 5 screens maximum, in under a minute, without
    needing face-to-face interaction or the submission of additional supporting documentation
  • Build functionality facilitating a full suite of banking services
  • Develop and deploy first-to-market features
  • Build custom payment and transfer journeys within the framework of an existing proprietary solution
  • Ensure mobile app is exceptionally user-friendly, light-weight and modern


  • Modern thinking on processes allowed for industry disruption
  • Effective and successful collaboration between client and BBD in realising this revolutionary banking experience
  • Seamless digital customised experiences
  • Technical knowledge enabled the delivery of new features in record time
    • Numerous technical and architectural considerations taken into account to ensure responsiveness including the likes of facial recognition
    • BBD engineers deeply involved in implementing technologies
    • Analysis and process engineering expertise
  • Removal of annual license fees
  • Strategic support and guidance on best route forward

Core functionality delivered

  • Modern mobile app built on best practices with custom onboarding processes, payment and transfer journeys
  • Intuitive user experiences
  • Onboarding functionality included:
    • Barcode scanning via mobile phone for identity cards and drivers’ licences as part of verification processes
    • Facial recognition via a real-time photo capture (selfie) that matches the picture with the national governmental database for citizen identity verification
  • First bank in South Africa to offer:
    • Mobile payments directly into customer bank account (without utilising an ewallet)
    • Apple Pay
    • Facial recognition and image matching as a form of biometric security
    • Linking with medical aid savings account to allow for easy co-payments directly from account
  • Modern identification, verification and security features
  • Built a co-browsing feature that allows service agents to assist customers in real-time in the app by viewing,
    pointing and annotating as needed all while the customer’s sensitive information is hidden from the agent
  • Integration into existing client offerings to improve loyalty and rewards programmes
  • First-in-market approach to integration with local credit bureaus
  • Simultaneously implemented a call centre solution
  • Detailed functional designs and digital process using top analysts in collaboration with the bank
  • Near immediate turnaround time on pushing features, fixes and updates over-the-air to the app

Overview and scope of the solution

Tied to an existing proprietary solution that didn’t offer the ability to build the custom payment and transfer journeys wanted, the bank had tried for a year to solve this complicated situation. Drawing on an existing relationship with a Java development team delivering real-time payment solutions in new, modern ways, and knowing our reputation for untangling these spaghetti-junction environments, the bank reached out to BBD to see if we could find a way through for them.

BBD took on the challenge, applying the best software engineering principles, bringing in highly skilled and innovative thinking senior software engineers, UX/UI design, analysts and process engineers.

In addition to the onboarding processes, the goal was also to implement custom payment and transfer journeys that would add to the bank’s customer-centric and technology-driven suite of services, rewrite the service-layer back-end that interfaces with the app, and replace security systems that weren’t working well.

Within three months, the BBD team was making progress on those journeys and delivering value to the bank.


One of the first challenges in creating a solution that could disrupt banking started with redefining a modernised onboarding process that was compliant to industry regulations, but seamless, fully digital and completed in as few steps as possible. A collaborative team comprising both BBD and client stakeholders turned to process engineering principles and analysis on top of expert technical skills to rethink standard existing practices. Integrating CX specialists and UX/UI designers into the mix meant that the team was able to work from the very beginning on a final app that would have an intuitive and user-friendly journey through the redefined onboarding process while capturing all required compliant and credit information.

A key benefit in including UX/UI designers in this was that the app engages potential customers throughout the journey, limiting user drop-off and allowing for improved metrics on adoption.

In terms of the service-layer, the teams worked collaboratively on technical decisions, with the client trusting BBD’s experience and expertise. The team implemented a “translation layer” as a main feature in the back-end that mapped journeys on the app with the banking engine functions and capabilities in the back-end. Ultimately, the translation layer triggers custom notifications that the solution uses to run specific processes in the back-end. The BBD team utilised our innovative client servicing platform accelerator to rapidly deliver on the back-end development, allowing for case management, orchestration and workflow.

The modern back-end makes use of Swagger Documents and as a stand-out feature, tracks and logs all transactions and journeys a clients takes. This means that the client is able to continually enhance their offering as they can draw data on exactly what a customer does once they log in and all the steps they take through the app.

Finally, the team has ultimately helped the client move away from the proprietary software, developing and delivering a custom solution in React Native which allows over-the-air updates that push updates with new features and bug fixes directly to the application without the customer needing to download an update from their app store. Not only is this a better user experience, but it means that the turnaround time on releasing those features and fixes is almost immediate (rather than the extended times it can take with updates occurring only with app store approval).

An added benefit of both this move and the app development was that the team enabled large savings for the client by moving to open source technology – removing the cost of annual licence fees.

Technologies utilised in the project include Java, C#, React Native, Swagger, JavaScript, microservices and Docker, and the cutting-edge tech stack used in the mobile development enables the team to very quickly deliver quality features.

Impact of BBD’s partnership

Benefitting from a strategic partnership that allowed for successful banking industry disruption, the client now has a game-changing mobile app that entices their customers into banking. The bank no longer pays expensive annual licence fees and is able to rapidly develop and deploy innovative features. Now a more mature app, it paved the way to cement the bank as a stand-out leader in a highly competitive and fast-paced market.

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