Tandem, the U.K. challenger bank, is gearing up to launch a new “Auto Savings” feature — a clever way to lower the barriers for Tandem app users who want to save for a rainy day — and to power the feature the company is partnering with Stripe.
The latter in itself isn’t necessarily huge news when you consider that Stripe is morphing into a payments company in the broadest sense. However, it does come at a time when other U.K. bank upstarts are attempting to wean users off making Stripe-powered card payments to top up their accounts since fees can soon add up.
The new Auto Savings offering will mean that every Tandem app user will effectively have a flexible savings bank account with Tandem, which they can pay money into based on various savings rules. These rules will be applied using transaction data gleaned through third-party bank accounts you’ve linked to in the Tandem app (and possibly your Tandem credit card, if you have one) and include rounding up payments to the nearest pound.
At the end of each week Tandem will move the money it’s allocated to Auto Savings out of your linked account via your debit card. This, of course, is also where Stripe comes into play by handling all the needed rerouting, and processing the card payment. It is also evidence of how the U.S. payments company plans to take advantage of Open Banking as a major part of its growth strategy.
Cue statement from Iain McDougall, U.K. and Ireland Country Manager, at Stripe says: “Building on infrastructure that powers the programmatic movement of money will be increasingly seen as a differentiator for technology companies, emerging fintechs and even established financial services providers. By providing this infrastructure, Stripe is helping Tandem to extend their product in new directions at a faster pace, which is a significant competitive advantage”.
Meanwhile, I’m told the feature will work alongside existing tools Tandem has built around aggregating your financial data and helping you budget. This means that Auto Savings will only withdraw money based on what Tandem deems you can actually afford. Oh, and in case you are wondering: yes, an Auto Savings account will pay interest.
The bigger picture is that Tandem wants to find ways to encourage people who don’t currently save to start doing so. To achieve this, saving needs to be “frictionless” and done in a way that is sustainable and doesn’t set someone up to fail. The challenger bank believes that roundups, which essentially ties saving to spending, and other forms of “auto saving” that happens retrospectively once per week, is one way of doing this. Powering it by debit card is also lowering the barrier somewhat, too.
Adds Ricky Knox, Tandem CEO: “With this latest savings solution we wanted our customers to be able to pay money into their Tandem account without any hassle. A lot of other banks require you to make manual transfers or standing orders, which can make the whole process of saving a chore. With the help of Stripe, we want to make it as quick and easy as possible to save small and often straight from your debit card”.
Tandem’s Ricky Knox will be on-stage at TechCrunch Berlin later this month.