Yesterday, fintech startup Lydia unveiled a model new design for its monetary tremendous app. And it’s an opinionated tackle cellular funds — not only a contemporary coat of paint. I sat down with the corporate’s founders to debate the pondering and imaginative and prescient for the way forward for Lydia.
In some ways, Lydia isn’t standing nonetheless and retains reinventing itself. The corporate initially began as a peer-to-peer cost app for the French market. For the primary time, folks may ship and obtain cash immediately from their smartphones.
The app has advanced drastically over the previous few years. The corporate lately reached unicorn status and the crew has been iterating with extra companies and options.
Particularly, now you can use your Lydia account as an alternative choice to an everyday checking account. Customers can order a debit card, ship and obtain cash by way of a singular IBAN. Customers also can commerce cryptocurrencies, shares, valuable metals and ETFs.
With this new design, the corporate is streamlining its app with a transparent separation between your exercise, your accounts, your playing cards and your buying and selling exercise. Extra importantly, the corporate is positioning its cellular app as a social product — not a fintech product.
Constructing the muse for the following 10 years
After I met with Lydia’s co-founders Cyril Chiche and Antoine Porte, they each had learn my recent article on Zenly, one other well-liked social app designed in Paris. And so they discovered some similarities between the brand new Lydia and the brand new Zenly.
“We simply despatched a publication to our consumer base that unveils a brand new chapter for Lydia, laying down the plan for the following 10 years — similar to Zenly,” co-founder and Chief Product Officer Antoine Porte informed me.
It really works nevertheless it has by no means been designed for people Cyril Chiche
This isn’t a random milestone. Lydia launched the primary model of its app 9 years in the past. “If you happen to rely the gestation interval, it’s been 10 years,” Porte mentioned.
The corporate has managed to draw 5.5 million customers. And a fraction of them have now determined to make use of Lydia as their major account.
“The extra we progress in monetary and banking companies, the extra we attempt to intellectualize the explanation why folks dislike their financial institution,” co-founder and CEO Cyril Chiche informed me.
“When digging additional, you understand how banks have been utilizing expertise. They constructed a fantastic system for interbank actions. You may transfer cash from one finish of the globe to the opposite. It really works nevertheless it has by no means been designed for people,” he added.
This sums up Lydia’s design language fairly effectively. The crew needs to construct an app that’s “designed for people”. For example, somebody who has by no means used a financial institution app earlier than shouldn’t must study SEPA transfers and IBANs earlier than sending cash to a member of the family.
If you open the up to date model of Lydia, the primary tab has been drastically cleaned up. It’s now an exercise feed along with your newest transactions. There are two buttons on the high of the display screen — obtain and pay.
On the backside of the display screen, there’s a brand new tab bar with buttons which are clearly labeled. You now not must guess which button does what.
The second tab exhibits your accounts — your fundamental Lydia account, your sub-accounts and your financial institution accounts that you’ve aggregated within the app. Private accounts and shared accounts are actually separated into two sections.
The third tab allows you to entry your playing cards and management them from there. Buying and selling now will get its personal tab, separated from the remainder of the app. If you happen to hardly ever open Lydia, it’s now a lot simpler to grasp the place you must faucet to entry what you wish to entry.
As French entrepreneurs who overthink all the things a bit an excessive amount of, Lydia’s founders hold going again to the definition of the phrases they use. “We’ve forgotten the very purpose why cash exists as a result of we view cash as an accounting software,” Porte mentioned.
“Cash has a that means. It’s both a undertaking or a reminiscence,” Chiche added later within the dialog.
And but, when folks open their financial institution app, it looks like opening up an Excel spreadsheet. Worse, it usually fosters a number of damaging ideas.
“Your account has solely been credited as soon as and all the things else is damaging operations. If you take a look at your account assertion, you’re feeling such as you tousled,” Chiche mentioned.
Cash is what you do with it Antoine Porte
Based on the founders, there’s an excessive amount of guilt concerned with banking. That’s why you now not see your account steadiness while you open Lydia. It’s important to faucet on the second tab to view it. That’s additionally why you don’t see the ‘€’ signal subsequent to each transaction. The corporate doesn’t wish to emphasize the accounting side of your transactions.
“The worst factor is neobanks that present you a chart of your steadiness over time,” Chiche mentioned.
“We want a brand new definition for cash. Cash is now not cash, payments or bodily issues. That could possibly be the chance to return to the origin — cash is what you do with it,” Porte mentioned.
A fintech app or a social app
Every transaction in Lydia could possibly be thought of as an occasion. You may open the transaction card, change the identify and add emojis in order that it means one thing to you. For example, you might wish to put your child’s identify on the nursery invoice.
At the moment, the corporate goes one step additional. Customers can add a photograph to every transaction. That appears a bit odd at first, however Lydia actually believes it has a shot at constructing the most effective social journaling app.
You could suppose that journaling is a factor of the previous. However a era of smartphone customers have been journaling daily with out even realizing it.
The journal itself has advanced. As a substitute of shopping for a flowery pocket book and spending quarter-hour daily writing concerning the present day, folks take images with their telephones. The digicam roll has develop into a form of ubiquitous, easy journal.
Lydia is so easy and quick that it has all the time been thought of as a utility app. Nevertheless it has all the time been a social app Antoine Porte
Lydia plans to benefit from that by augmenting the digicam roll. First, your previous monetary transactions symbolize a construction. Second, including a photograph makes a transaction far more private. “If you happen to don’t know what photograph you must use, it most likely implies that it was an pointless expense,” Porte mentioned.
Third, it turns every transaction into a possible social put up. You may swipe by way of your transactions similar to you’d swipe by way of images in a photograph album. If it’s a shared expense, different customers will see the photograph. It additionally creates a virality issue as folks may begin asking why you’re taking a photograph. You possibly can think about a characteristic that allows you to share a transaction in different apps as effectively.
Extra importantly, it opens up a number of potentialities. A card transaction additionally occurs at a particular place and at a particular time. Lydia may populate the transaction display screen with extra information concerning the place you visited. As quickly as Foursquare invented checkins, folks began speaking about checkin fatigue. Perhaps probably the most highly effective checkins are your card funds.
It brings us to the primary query. Is Lydia a fintech app or a social app?
“Lydia is so easy and quick that it has all the time been thought of as a utility app. Nevertheless it has all the time been a social app,” Porte informed me.
I don’t suppose it’s so simple as that. Some customers will nonetheless use Lydia a couple of occasions a month to ship and obtain cash. However a small, extremely engaged portion of the consumer base may see the social potential of Lydia.
We don’t have to provide you with a definitive reply proper now because the redesign is a transparent enchancment over the earlier model of the app. “Individuals inform us our opponents are Revolut, however they’re bankers,” Porte mentioned.
“We wish to create the WhatsApp of cash as a substitute,” he added.