OakNorth: making saving simple

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Since its launch in September 2015, OakNorth Bank has built an award-winning savings platform that has attracted over 160,000 savings customers and achieved a Trustpilot rating of 4.5/5 stars.

At a time when people are looking for flexible and easy ways to save money, many savings products are cumbersome to use.

OakNorth is changing that. By providing a smooth experience and harnessing open banking, it offers customer-friendly, flexible saving products designed to meet the varied needs of UK consumers.

The challenge

Before OakNorth partnered with TrueLayer, customers would top up their savings account through cards, direct debits and manual bank transfers. While familiar, these options create friction in the payment process, requiring customers to take extra steps just to fund their accounts.

Mike Squires, Director of Product at OakNorth explains: “The main reason for opening an account is people need to save money whether for a rainy day fund or maybe for a goal, like a holiday. And we need to do that in a way that makes it convenient.”

When customers wanted to transfer their savings to their OakNorth account, they had to go through the process of setting up a payment from their bank. Other methods such as manual bank transfers also increased the risk of human error that would prevent successful payment. 

The knock-on effect meant OakNorth’s operational team had to deal with more enquiries and when customers were funding their accounts, they did not always get the fast, easy experience that OakNorth sought to provide.

We liked that we could capitalise on TrueLayer's learnings from previous customers, both from a technical and user experience viewpoint. It meant we could develop our journeys at an accelerated rate.

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Mike Squires

Director of Product

The solution

To deliver an enhanced experience, OakNorth created a proof of concept with TrueLayer to define how open banking payments would work within the savings website and app.

Mike comments: “When we started the development, there were some things that we didn't initially consider, but by bringing in the technical team from TrueLayer, we could raise and solve any problems relatively quickly.”

TrueLayer’s technical knowhow and experience implementing open banking payments for a wide range of companies were clear differentiators for OakNorth. The TrueLayer team advised OakNorth on some of the common issues or barriers to adoption of open banking payments and how to ensure its implementation would perform well.

Mike explains: “One of the things we liked about TrueLayer was the learnings from previous customers, both from a technical viewpoint, but also from a customer UX viewpoint as well. We could also understand where we needed to put more emphasis, because two, three, four other banks have experienced similar problems. By working together with our pre-sales person and the technical team at TrueLayer, we created an improved  journey in a relatively short space of time.” 

We’ve seen an increase in our ‘day one’ funding where customers now apply and fund their savings account at the same time.

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Mike Squires

Director of Product

The results

OakNorth’s open banking integration through TrueLayer gives its customers more flexibility. The savings process is even simpler and empowers customers to make their money work harder for them.

Now, customers can transfer funds between their bank and savings accounts at the click of a button, saving time and reducing the risk of error. Payments powered by TrueLayer are also secure, using biometric authentication to authorise fund transfers.

The end result is a better overall experience for OakNorth’s customers, as Mike explains:

“It's very much about saving time. They can go through the whole application process and then fund the account in one go. One thing they don't want to do is spend time doing banking. It should just be there in the background and just work.” 

On average, new customers can apply for an account with OakNorth Bank in under ten minutes and, thanks to this partnership, customers can open and fund their account in a seamless process via the mobile app.

“In August, especially, we saw quite a large increase in the number of customers that are starting to save with us. We’ve seen an increase in our ‘day one’ funding where customers are now able to apply and fund their savings account at the same time,” Mike comments.

Looking to the future, OakNorth and TrueLayer are examining other elements of open banking to further improve the customer experience.

“One is around enhanced customer account verification and account ownership, the other is focussed on how customers regularly save with us and the VRP product is one of the options we are looking at there. Working with TrueLayer has been a good experience and we look forward to doing more business in the future,” Mike concludes.