KBC has just launched a whole new range of services for its partners on its innovative Developer Portal. Partners can now integrate KBC’s financial services into their own range of products and services to greatly enhance their customer experience. So what do the experts have to say about the new portal? We asked Jens De Meester, one of the managing directors of online marketing agency JAYJAYS and professor of Strategic Marketing at Thomas More University of Applied Sciences.
API-first approach for a better customer experience
The Developer Portal offers a technical connection for companies wishing to include one or more KBC solutions in a business process. They can do this in several ways, and APIs are one option. Application Programming Interfaces have evolved a lot over the years. They went from internal components to technical building blocks that connect companies and exchange data. KBC is a pioneer in this field. All its Open Banking solutions are available on the API platform. At first, the KBC Developer Portal only offered PSD2 payment solutions, such as the KBC payment button and the cashless payment app Payconiq. Then the new API technology unleashed a wide range of business solutions, all based around four themes: housing, mobility, energy and financial management.
“The goal of the API-first approach is to take away as much friction as possible for customers,” Jens De Meester says. “Say you wanted to buy a property through a real-estate portal, like Zimmo or Immoscoop. Normally, you’d first have to search the website to find the property. Then you’d need to contact KBC about your mortgage. After that, you’d probably need to involve several other parties as well. And finally, you’d have to go to a notary to sort out all the paperwork. This means at least three parties and three steps before you buy. Involving distinct parties adds value in principle, but in the end customers don’t want to go through all those different steps.”
With Open Banking, everybody wins
The ‘On-Demand Financing’ API is available on the Developer Portal. This flexible invoice financing service frees up companies’ working capital instantly so that their suppliers can be paid. The CRM and invoicing tool Teamleader now also offers ‘On-Demand Financing’.
“We firmly believe in the value of the Teamleader integration, as it eliminates cash flow issues,” De Meester says. “The Developer Portal’s main benefit is that it allows our clients to upgrade their services. For example, we have a lot of clients in the HVAC trade. Thanks to the Housing API, their customers can apply for a renovation loan straight away.”
KBC Renovation Loan Solutions instantly show customers the benefits of a low-interest loan. The option to spread investments over time will speed up customers’ decision to buy. It may also convince them to invest a little more to achieve savings in the long term. Recent figures have shown that companies can increase their sales by 20% simply by offering finance. Customer credit also attracts new customers who would not have considered the product or service otherwise. The right solution takes away all the hurdles to getting a bank loan. The quote, order and payment are all arranged at the same time with digital straight-through processing. The KBC Open Banking environment creates a win-win situation for everyone.
Finger on the pulse
Jens expects even more additions to the wide range of APIs in the future. He also thinks that KBC’s progress with APIs will encourage other banks to follow suit: “It will only benefit their customers if they do.”
Still, it will not be easy for those other financial institutions to make such changes fast enough. Many of them did not meet the PSD2 deadline for two-factor authentication a while ago. However, constant innovation and keeping a finger on the pulse of developments in the financial and technology crossover space are a must. More and more FinTech firms are emerging. They are putting even more pressure on the bigger players. “The technology isn’t easy to set up, though,” Jens points out. “A lot can go wrong, even at API level. Fortunately, KBC has the technical know-how to make this happen. Also, it is not afraid to seek external expertise to make this an even greater success.”
To find out more or to become a partner yourself, see the Developer Portal integration options