More on SmartyPig: Interview with BitMethod & account rate update
Image from blog.smartypig.com.
"We leveraged the technology and consulting skills of Des Moines-based mobile development firm BitMethod," said Ferrari. "The collaboration was fantastic and we look forward to our continued partnership as we continue to enhance the SmartyPig mobile experience."
Read the full article: "SmartyPig just got smarter, now offering iPhone app"
To learn more about the collaboration, we reached out to the team at BitMethod for a brief email interview:
Silicon Prairie News: In general, can you comment on working with SmartyPig for the app?
Daniel Shipton: Working with other technology companies is a very different beast than guiding someone through a process that’s never done a big technology project before. Communication is easier and more curt as people are more familiar with jargon and the general architecture and development cycles. Working startup-to-startup, you also end up trading a lot more emails at 11 p.m. (as opposed to 11 a.m.) and working to avoid as many unnecessary meetings as possible.
(Left, photo from twitter.com/danielshipton)
What's one of the features you'd like to point out?
Shipton: It’s hard for an end-user to see, but the app strikes a really strong balance of speed and security. We cache as much as possible to make zipping around in the app a pleasant experience, while making sure that the information and data stays very safe and secure.
Can you name any other banking apps that you took inspiration from or comment on the banking mobile app landscape in general?
From Amanda Morrow, BitMethod's interactive designer, who created the UI / UX for the app:
I can't really say I was inspired by any of the other apps, but I did download and test as many as I could. My main focus was taking this bright, fun website originally designed by Happy Cog and translating it into an app that screams SmartyPig the second you open it.
Additional thought on the mobile banking landscape from Scott Kubie, creative strategist at BitMethod:
A lot of finance apps from major institutions have obnoxiously onerous sign-up and security processes. Security doesn’t have to annoy the user, and banks and financial institutions are going to have to increasingly focus on that balance as they build user experiences in the future.
What's one best practice you have when working with a client such as SmartyPig?
Shipton: Establishing trust and respect early is essential. We treat our client's products as if they were our own. When the client understands our level of passion, they’re more willing to trust us and in turn we’re able help them make choices that might at first rub them the wrong way, but are worth it in the big picture.
A couple tweets since the launch that sum up the feedback we're seeing on the app:
From Jim Bruene, @netbanker:
From Brian Donovan, @eventualbuddha:
Savings Account Rate Cut
In an email to users yesterday, Ferrari gave an extra alert to SmartyPig's recent savings account rate cut affecting accounts with $50,000 or less in aggregate balances.
Subject: Interest Rate Notice
The interest rate paid on SmartyPig savings accounts with $50,000 or less in aggregate balances has decreased to 1.35% APY (balances of more than $50,000 will remain at .50% APY) as of Jan. 3, 2011.
Rate adjustment notifications are always listed in bright red as an alert notice when you log into your account. However, we received a number of requests from customers over the past couple of days stating that any future rate adjustments be communicated in advance via email.
We agree we could have done a better job communicating this, and we are now committed to advanced notice via email prior to any future rate adjustments. Thank you for your business.
Sincerely, Mike Ferrari, SmartyPig co-founder
The SmartyPig Team http://www.smartypig.com
Reached for comment, SmartyPig's President and Co-Founder Jon Gaskell told Consumerist that they're, "not impervious to market conditions. As rates begin to rise, and we are really hoping they will, the rate offered to SmartyPig customers will continue to rise."
Read the full post on Consumerist.com: "SmartyPig Cuts Rate From 1.75% To 1.35% APY"