Shaun Weston interviews Mespo CEO and co-founder Lukas Zörner about using Facebook Messenger as a business platform, PSD2 and open APIs.

Lukas Zörner is co-founder and CEO of Mespo (formerly Mobillity), an online money manager. In this new podcast episode of the BankNXT Fintech Podcast, Lukas talks about setting up the business, how the “pressure cooker” that is Startupbootcamp is an invaluable resource for budding entrepreneurs, and how banks need to get their act together in order to stay in the pack when it comes to providing products and services that customers want to use.

The nature of Mespo, which uses Facebook Messenger to function, is based on trust. Lukas talks about the importance of having many levels of security, such as Digicert and Salt Edge, that underpin the service, ensuring that customers can share data safely and in good faith. Mespo seems to be the service we all wish the banks were already offering, and it’s not something they can’t immediately start putting into practice. The recent Backbase demo at Finovate Europe shows what’s possible for existing financial services, and Mespo is demonstrating that, while there are challenges, it can be done.

I asked him about remaining impartial when it comes to offering a complete range of services: “We don’t want to just engage with some of the suppliers,” he said. “We need to give our customers the whole picture, and they need to take the decisions. So we are giving our customers the tools, so they can be in control of their data, pull the trigger of what they want to do, and get along with it. At the moment, we are looking at subscriptions, so customers can cancel their subscriptions through [Mespo], and we can see some use cases where this is definitely relevant.”

I asked Lukas about PSD2, and proffered a scenario where banks don’t play fair with the new rules: “Of course, PSD2 is a very strong growth enabler in the industry, because it makes the processes much more secure,” he said. “And we hope customers are much more aware of what’s going on with – and the benefit of – open APIs, and what they can do with their data. These two points are crucial, and we don’t think banks will hinder the integration into their APIs or their processes.

“There are a lot of challenger banks out there that have a completely different approach in how they are structuring their platforms. We see, for example, Monzo, who have their open platform where they publish their APIs and will have a platform which includes and integrates with fintechs out there. We see that customers love that, because customers want to manage their money in these places. The large commercial and retail banks out there, they will lose out if they don’t integrate properly with fintech companies. Their customers will be more willing to change their banks if they see that other services can provide cheaper and better services.”

I hope you enjoy listening to the podcast. Please leave your comments below, or contact me on Twitter. You can see the other interviews in this series on this page.

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About the author

Shaun Weston

Shaun Weston is Senior Editor of BankNXT and Backbase, and a creative content provider specialising in digital projects, marketing and social media. He has worked with businesses that focus on editorial strategy for online or print, consumer or B2B, and his work includes The Economist, SAS, Oracle, Future Publishing, FoodBev.com and Backbase.

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