Mobile Payments made easy. Scan, pay and it's yours

Software Engineering

Back in 2012 mobile payments in Belgium were no more than a twinkle in the eye of Kris De Ryck, Bancontact Company’s CEO. Fast forward 5 years and we see Bancontact as the forerunner in the market with its mobile payments app. We’re also quite proud that we could be a part of it. All truly useful applications have one thing in common; you should be able to summarize their function in a single sentence: the Bancontact app makes mobile payments easy and quick.

What does it do?

The Bancontact app does only one thing but we made sure it does it well. It makes payments simple. You can perform transactions with another app user, pay online for purchases in web shops or offline in stores, restaurants, cinemas… A payment is initiated by scanning a QR code, the rest of the process will take care of itself.  Take a common payment experience, a restaurant bill for example. With the Bancontact app, you’re not only able to pay in that restaurant using just your mobile phone, you can even let your friends pay you back using the same app. Because sometimes, you just want to split the bill.                                                                                        

Bancontact 2.0

While the first version of the app (launched in May 2014) was enthusiastically received by early adopters, an extra push was needed for the new product to gain its footing in the mainstream market. The Bancontact 2.0 project was born.                                                                                        

Multi-cards: the user comes first

We listened to the users: what did they feel was missing in the current app? People have a variety of bank cards in their wallet: cards from different banks, a personal card, maybe a shared family card. Users can now link up to five different cards from the same or different banks in one place instead of juggling cards in their wallet.

Winning the trust of consumers with intuitive and warm design

The biggest challenge in making mobile payments a mainstream success, is giving people the trust and confidence that mobile payments are easy and secure.The full screen lifestyle images give the design a personal, warm and familiar touch, staying away from the administrative side of payments. Both the background images and the welcome message are based on time of day and year. The cards are designed to closely resemble physical bank cards, giving people the familiar feeling linked to their physical wallet. As soon as you start a payment, we put full focus ontrust and speed. We removed all design elements that might confuse users or slow down the payment process and added clear informative messages to every step of the payment.

Navigation: focus on what really matters

We boiled down the navigation to the essentials, focusing on what really matters when making a payment. When you open the app, you see your cards front and center on the screen in a carousel, making it very easy to select the right card you wish to pay or receive with. Next to that, the intuitive ‘pay’ and ‘receive’ buttons clearly highlight the main functionalities of the app.                                                                                        

Where and when can I use the Bancontact app?

The Bancontact app is available to all Bancontact/Mister Cash cardholders of the 19 participating banks:

The list of venues that accept Bancontact app payments keeps growing; they’re mostly online shops, supermarkets and e-commerce apps. Just look for the new Bancontact logo in your favorite places to shop! A notable addition to the list was the chain of Colruyt Group stores. Bancontact app users can use their phone to pay in more than 400 Colruyt, Okay, Bio-Planet, Dreamland and Dreambaby stores. The coverage is impressive, not only in terms of participating banks but also in terms of supported devices. The app is available for smartphones and tablets, both on iOS, Android and Windows Phone.                                                                                        

Security & privacy

Security is especially important when dealing with fintech, so the app is protected against hacking by the most advanced technologies available. For obvious reasons, we are not allowed to go into detail about all the cool security stuff we got to tinker with. Or we’d have to kill you…
Privacy is of course important in the bank industry and the app does not store personal user data.
If your phone is stolen, you should contact Card Stop to have your app blocked. As soon as the app is blocked, a thief can no longer use the app, not even if they have your secret PIN code.

The results

The Bancontact app has passed the mark of 2,6 million transactions. Every week 55.000 mobile transactions are made using the app and the multiple card-update increased the user base with 10%. A total of 20 banks support mobile payments via Bancontact, which makes the app available for 99% of all Belgian card holders. A big strength of Bancontact mobile solution is the fact that it can be extended beyond the Bancontact app itself. It is also possible to pay (and receive) with Bancontact mobile solution using the following 7 banking apps: Belfius, BNP Paribas Fortis, CBC, Fintro, Hello Bank, ING, KBC.

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