Knab, a branchless bank based in Amsterdam, is aiming to attract 250,000 customers by 2017 through the promise of smoother payments.
Knab's model is similar to U.S.-based "anti-banks" such as Simple and Moven, which heavily rely on digital channels and payments to build relationships with consumers. The difference is Knab is an actual bank, while Simple and Moven rely on partner banks to manage deposits.
"Our name is 'bank' spelled upside down, and it gives a reason for a bank. We started from scratch after all of the problems in the banking sector that came up after the crisis," says Artie Debidien, a director at Knab. Debidien did not say how many customers Knab currently has.
The bank offers a mix of virtual and physical payments cards, as well as and an account aggregation-driven dashboard that operates similar to personal financial management software. It's in the process of deploying the new payment technology to provide scale, bolster security and improve site navigation.
"We're a 100% online and straight through processing institution," Debidien says. "So there is no manual work of any kind. We need to have end to end processing for payments."
The payments technology suite supports chip cards, identity management, card readers and fulfillment. The technology also includes access to a software development kit (SDK) to enable additional payments and financial services. Its payment cards and readers serve as a "connection kit" that Knab ships from its offices in Amsterdam issues to all new account holders.
Knab is using Gemalto's Ezio eBanking Server, a back-end authentication product, and the Ezio Mobile SDK, which will secure the mobile banking application. Each new bank customer receives a Knab debit card combined with a portable EMV smartcard reader, which can be used for authentication for larger transactions, the bank says.
"Our customers are making the move from online to mobile, and this creates more flexibility for them to make different kinds of payments," Debidien says.
Many of Holland's consumers and financial institutions use card readers as authentication devices, says Hakan Nordfjell, senior vice president of e-banking and e-commerce for Gemalto, noting that ABN Amro and ING are also adopters.
The card readers provide an extra authentication factor for online or mobile payments, and can also provide incremental risk management. "If you have a transaction that is more risky, such as adding a new recipient as a payee or sending money abroad, you can be asked to put a number into the card reader itself to confirm the transaction," Nordfjell says.