Buddybank wants to be friends

Buddybank wants to be friends

UniCredit will launch “Buddybank”, a bank project exclusively designed for smartphones, in early 2017 in Italy.

Buddybank will offer current accounts, credit/debit cards and “contextual” and instant personal loans, as well as a 24/7 concierge service, accessible via chat and phone, that “can help with everyday tasks such as restaurant reservations, taxi booking and travel planning”.

Angelo D’Alessandro, creator and director of Buddybank, says it will have its headquarters in Milan, but is “also considering opening in the United States, Europe and Africa”.

Subject to regulatory approval, Buddybank will begin operations on 1 January 2017 and will be a wholly-owned subsidiary of UniCredit.

With an initial investment of €50 million, the start-up is targeting one million customers in Italy in five years and is “forecast to break even” in year three with 300,000 customers.

Buddybank will use MasterCard Payment Transaction Services Europe to act as its “fully-integrated technology partner” to process debit and credit card transactions.

Cardholders will be able to use MasterCard services such as InControl, to personalise their payments, ID Protection to prevent risk of theft of personal and financial information, Pin Change to change pin codes and to directly manage payments via smartphones, using the app.

In addition, Buddybank will use FICO’s decision management suite to verify customers and manage credit decisions in originations, customer management, collections and fraud.