Neo Financial is a Canadian tech company that reimagines the way people spend, save, and earn rewards. Customers can open an account with a few clicks, earn instant cashback at their favorite stores, and get real-time notifications when they spend and save, all without monthly or annual fees. The Neo Savings account earns high interest while allowing users to pay their bills, send or receive e-transfers, and deposit and withdraw funds.
Read our short interview with Sudeep Sidhu to learn how the engineering team at Neo Financial makes sure that they comply with regulations, keep their apps safe, and de-risk releases with the help of CI/CD, hooks, scripts, and feature flags.
Bitrise: Which new or upcoming technology do you think will add the most value to mobile finance and banking and why?
Sudeep: Open Banking. Customers want insights into their spending habits and to be able to look at data across various banks, lenders, financial products. Having this ability lets them make better choices when it comes to their finances.
Bitrise: How do you adapt agile methodologies in a way that they fit into the constraints and regulations of the finance and banking industry?
Sudeep: We focus heavily on iterations, bringing in stakeholders as early as possible. Implementing solutions that help us prevent future problems, rather than fixing problems every time they occur, pushes us to deliver smaller scope changes that we’re aligned on as a team. And pushing smaller scope changes makes for a fast feedback loop and de-risks releases. We use CI/CD pipelines combined with automations, hooks, and scripts, and feature flags. The goal is to remove as much toil as possible so developers can focus on tasks that matter the most.
Bitrise: What processes have you implemented to ensure that you maintain a rapid release frequency? Do you think there is an optimal frequency?
Sudeep: We've adopted a two-week mobile release cycle and that has been the sweet spot for us. I don't think there's one optimal frequency that will work for everyone but teams should work towards a cadence where you're able to release meaningful set of changes to the users — but not so many changes that one problematic feature risks the entire release.
Bitrise: In finance and banking, data security is crucial. Do you have DevSecOps practices in place to ensure that user data is always protected, and that you comply with the highest security standards?
Sudeep: We have regular DevSecOps trainings. Beyond that, we use automation, along with code and image analyses to ensure we're not using any vulnerable software. Developers and product teams regularly engage our in-house security and compliance experts to make sure we are not offside while handling user input, data, and authentication. As a financial institution, we have to take part in regular audits and occasionally will bring in an external team to help test the security, integrity, and availability of all our systems.
Bitrise: What does the future of mobile finance and banking look like?
Sudeep: When it comes to personal finances, visibility and transparency will be key. Banking technology for the most part has not kept up with the needs of the modern user when it comes to managing personal finances. Education will also be important. Financial products are becoming more complex and the people selling them to you are also the ones educating you about them, which poses a conflict of interest. Clear and concise language without the use of industry jargon not only helps convey the value of your product but also ensures you're not going to put undue financial burden on your users.
If you'd like to learn more about building better mobile apps in the heavily regulated finance and banking space, download our latest report, Mobile product success in finance and banking, 2022 or sign up for our upcoming webinar How to win in mobile finance: A panel discussion.