With around 1,300 stores and 36% of the market, ICA gets more feet coming through its doors than any other supermarket in Sweden. So it’s in a prime position to help customers with more than just their groceries.
Which is why it launched ICA Spara in the autumn of 2018, an app to help customers manage day-to-day life better. It gives users an overview of their income, spending, savings and bills to help save time and money, and even tracks the environmental impact of the food they buy. It gives a complete overview of their “everyday economy” – in one place.
In our experience, around 39% of consumers have bank accounts and credit cards with more than one provider, which makes it a time-consuming process for them to switch between different apps to manage their money.
The ICA Spara app offers users a view of all of their accounts, regardless of the banks they’re with. But to give users a better experience, ICA is integrating Tink’s aggregation technology – making their account coverage 50% broader than it was before.
Users can access accounts and transactions from 25 Swedish banks and card providers. And they can add additional products in the app, like loans. Importantly, this brings debt into a user’s financial picture and helps ICA offer customers a more holistic service.
But ICA’s ambitions for improving the app went beyond broadening the banks it could reach. The quality of the service – how the data is gathered and the speed of the app – was key to giving its users a better experience. Which boils down to the technology under the bonnet.
Before, data coming into the app was screen scraped rather than coming from a direct interface with the bank. Screen scraping is slower and has more downtime because it relies on HTML codes.
Now, account and transaction data is fed into the app via APIs, mirroring the way a bank retrieves data in its own app. This makes the customer onboarding more frictionless, and offers users a more seamless experience when setting up accounts and using the app.
When a significant retailer like ICA offers its customers a banking app, it doesn’t matter that it is primarily known as a shop – because it’s trusted. Through ICA Spara, it is making the most of the opportunities open banking offers, and is helping to widen the financial services market by giving customers more choice.
As PSD2 comes into full force – and more apps come to market to help people manage their money – aggregating bank account data will quickly become a hygiene factor. It’s combining the slick delivery of data with the broad account coverage that makes for a stand-out service.
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