Angus Dent, chief executive of ArchOver, explains how the platform’s investment in technology has the customer at its core…
PEER-TO-PEER LENDING requires secure, scalable, easy-to-use technology. It’s vital for providers to deliver a secure, user-friendly experience for their investors. This is non-negotiable in the new world of consumer-driven finance.
When dealing with other people’s money, it’s crucial to ignore the popular ‘move fast and break things’ approach to development, and be guided by the need to build secure systems that meet the needs of both lenders and borrowers. When we launched our Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA), building the right technology to support that service was essential. We made sure that investors looking to maximise their tax-free allowance were able to do so securely, quickly, easily and smoothly.
Go forth and innovate
One of ArchOver’s biggest changes so far was the advancement of payments processing. When we started out, we did everything manually and so, too, did our customers. A clunky experience of moving between systems that we, in partnership, quickly updated to enable faster, more fluid payments processing. Now, our platform enables users to pledge at the touch of a button.
All of our investors need a simple, secure user interface, whatever their interest, age or background. By offering an IFISA that can also be integrated into our automated portfolio-style Investment Plan, we enabled ISA-loving millennials to engage with P2P and alternative finance in a streamlined, efficient way – whilst at the same time keeping our traditional investors happy.
We have invested a great deal of time and resources in our technology, and will continue to do so – both financially, and in support of our platform development team – as it is this success that underpins our business.
We weren’t just jumping on a bandwagon when we made these changes to our payments processing, like the finance firms deploying disruptive technology on a whim. It’s important to stay on top of new technologies, but not all technology is fit for purpose. Take blockchain: we know it can boost security, but tech leaders need to ask themselves what it can actually offer a business that other types of technology can’t. We considered the possibilities but decided its impact wouldn’t have the long-term pay-off we wanted, compared to innovating our payments.
Instead, we saw an opportunity to take advantage of the data we hold from on-boarding and vetting to implement new policies and approaches. For us, this takes the form of recognising when a new service will meet the requisite demand to make the outlay worth it – in the same way it did when we launched our IFISA. We can start using big data to predict upcoming trends that might affect our business, and then develop the best services for our customers.
When it comes to the IFISA, there’s a problem with education – our research found that over half of consumers (57 per cent) don’t understand it. As we enter the next ISA season, we will look to leverage our data to improve our services and encourage more take-up of the IFISA across our platform – without compromising on data security.
Future of finance
As we continue to build our IFISA customer base, it is crucial for us to be on point with the latest technology. Discovering new tech-driven solutions is one thing, but finding those that offer the most benefits for both the customer and the business is the key to real success.