Santander targets “WhatsApp generation” with KiTTi mobile app
Santander has launched a group money management app called KiTTI, which is a virtual ‘cash kitty’ that allows groups of people to create a collective pot of money using a mobile app and a prepaid contactless MasterCard.
The purpose of the app is to make it easier for groups of people to pool their money for activities such as a holiday, a wedding, a house-share, a sports club, or any other activity that involves getting a group of friends together. The app is open to customers of any UK bank, and can be used on Android and Apple iOS phones.
“The inspiration is the jar of coins in the pub or the group of university students in a shared house who need to pay their electricity bills,” said Ben Green, chief executive of KiTTi. “Nobody has yet digitised that moment of settling up. It’s a transparent digital pot of money. Mobile and money are meeting. Whenever you go out it starts with a text message. A wedding party, a hen-do, a sports club, etc – there are a whole range of use cases.”
KiTTi was developed by Santander in partnership with payment technology services provider Kalixa Payments Group, and global mobile technology business Monitise. Users do not need to be an existing Santander customer. To get it working, the rules are as follows:
- Download the app from either the Apple or Android app stores
- One person registers as an owner to set up a KiTTi and is sent a KiTTi prepaid contactless MasterCard
- Each KiTTi can be given a name, target value and payment milestone(s)
- The owner invites friends to join the KiTTi via the app (text message is sent to their smartphone)
- The owner and friends pay into KiTTi by entering their debit card details, which they need to do only once, through the app’s secure payment process
- A small fee of 35p is applied whenever a payment is made into the KiTTi
- Using the KiTTi prepaid card, money can be taken out or used to pay for anything the group wants – in the UK and overseas
- Multiple KiTTis are managed through one app and one KiTTi card – the idea being to make it easier to manage than cash – KiTTi owner and friends see money going in and coming out
- A single KiTTi has a maximum balance of £4,000
Kalixa handles all KiTTi payment functions including the mobile wallet (funds transfers and management, gateway and acquiring services, transaction processing and card tokenisation), the prepaid contactless card (account provisioning, card issuance and transaction processing) and operational services (customer services including contact centre, as well as risk and anti-money laundering systems).
The app was designed and developed with Monitise Create, the design studio which is part of mobile technology company Monitise. KiTTi is the latest initiative to come from strategic partners Santander and Monitise, which have previously collaborated on SmartBank – Santander’s banking app designed for students.
“We’ve all been through the hassle at the end of a fantastic meal with friends when it comes to splitting the bill. You get a pile of notes, coins and cards in the middle of the table and then have to divvy up the change. And you know at least one of your friends is secretly annoyed because they feel they’ve paid more than they should,” says Sam Nixon, head of KiTTi at Santander. “The idea behind Santander’s KiTTi app, which is completely unique in the UK, is to make it much easier for groups of people to pay for virtually anything, and with just one single KiTTi prepaid card. It’s really that simple. It’s easy to set up, invite friends to join, pay money in and take money out. Perfect for the WhatsApp generation.”
“The emergence of the shared economy where individuals pool resources, information and even consumption is an undeniable trend. Traditional cash based systems that are inconvenient and onerous for consumers are being replaced by simple, inclusive and sustainable services made possible by mobile. KiTTi is at the crest of this wave,” added Jonathan Bennett, chief commercial officer at Kalixa Payments Group. “Advanced services require advanced technology. Kalixa’s platform has enabled Santander to bring the service to market quickly, with the latest functionality, fully integrated, without the complexity of working with a plethora of different providers across the ‘value’ chain.”