For the last few months, Santander Bank Polska has been successfully working on acquiring and accelerating fintech start-ups in tandem with the Huge Thing accelerator. As part of the programme’s first stage, four foreign start-ups were invited to work in close cooperation with the Bank. Those businesses can already offer at least a minimum viable product and have completed their first implementations in international markets. When choosing the start-ups, bank experts looked for products and services that are in line with the bank’s product strategy and address the needs reported by its key business areas. The selected firms provide solutions such as: a payment instrument authentication technology based on facial recognition;an electronic payment gateway for SMEs which can be swiftly integrated in e-commerce and social media channels; aggregators of information about the payments and liabilities of SMEs with the use of PSD2 mechanisms; and an invoice and bill payment platform offering further products and services to its users. Currently, mentors from the bank’s business unit and tutors designated by the accelerator are working together to systematically prepare the start-ups for integration with the bank, for example by setting milestones that will guide them through the process. Santander Bank Polska provides young businesses with any help they might need to successfully complete the acceleration process and have their services undergo proof-of-concept testing in the Santander environment.
Identification of needs: introduction Together with its partners in the project, Santander Bank Polska is getting ready for the next round of scouting, which will begin on 15 April. Based on their experience and conclusions from the first stage, Santander experts have defined key areas in which the bank could find use for solutions offered by start-ups. They started by determining the most important products and services offered by the bank to its customers. Afterwards, they specified the desired technological and business solutions that would enable the bank to both improve its current services and enter into new, innovative fields of
Identification of needs
The bank’s priority business lines are those which provide day-to-day banking and payment services, accounts, transfers, invoicing, finance management and secure payment solutions of all kinds. Santander Bank Polska is the leader in terms of introducing innovative services and payment instruments (such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, Garmin Pay, tokenisation and BLIK) in collaboration with the largest technology companies. The bank ensures the optimum security of payments and keeps improving the experience and satisfaction of customers who use them.
The areas of main interest for the bank are the application of artificial intelligence and machine learning in IT security processes for monitoring and faster detection of threats, and the development of security buffers for cloud solutions, which are becoming increasingly popular. As more and more Santander customers are using electronic banking, mobile apps and advanced payment and authentication systems, the bank has to guarantee them the highest security standards and protect them from cyberattacks. Santander Bank Polska wants high-tech solutions to act as “security assistants” to its customers.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning could be beneficial also in the bank’s internal processes, where they would increase the efficiency of handling and digitising documents and processing their contents. The bank puts a lot of emphasis on developing its OCR engines and AI mechanisms used to analyse documents and extract the required data, which can be then sent for processing to business intelligence units. The main recipients of such solutions would be Santander Bank Polska’s support
units dealing with broadly understood operations as well as the bank’s HR area and call centre. “We also took account of the fact that the new EU Payment Services Directive (PSD2) required banks to make the API testing environment available by 14 March. The API (Application Programming Interface) is an access interface which is supposed to provide communication between banks and Third Party Providers (TPPs). TPPs can be either fintechs or other banks. PSD2 enables them to provide two new services: account information services (AIS) and payment initiation services (PIS), all within the so-called open banking,” says Dawid Galus, Innovation Project Manager from the Digital Innovation Office of Santander Bank Polska.
The bank is actively seeking ecosystem solutions which could help it offer services different from the standard banking products to its current and future customers as part of the one-stop shop model. Examples might include tools and technologies which support e-commerce solutions for SME and corporate clients and supplement them with banking products: payments, financing, identity management and investment and advisory services. As regards lending, the focus is in this case on credit facilities such as cash loans, credit cards, overdrafts and factoring products.
The bank’s interest is not limited to the areas described above. Santander Bank Polska is open to solutions that would act as drivers for its banking services and hopes to be inspired in this respect by its future technology partners.
Learn more about the program and apply now – LINK.