Branding has long played a vital role in how financial institutions communicate with consumers. Traditional high street benches, for example, are often associated with the color blue, apparently the most calming and trustworthy shade according to color psychology. The rise of challenger banks including Monzo, Starling and Revolut in the 2010s ushered in a radically different approach and visual aesthetic, characterized by design elements such as coral pink cards, easy-to-use apps and a more “human” tone of voice.
“At that time, fintech startups were like the promised land, they were the wise wise man who came out and was going to upset the system. But it has become the standardized and ubiquitous approach that everyone tries to model. And frankly, once it has, the impact wears off,” says Marissa de Miguel, director of marketing for Keebo, a credit startup brand aimed squarely at the next generation of consumers.
The lightning moment for Keebo’s founders came from an FCA report on the UK credit card market, which stated that 60% of millennials and Gen Z have been refused a credit card. As the UK’s first open banking credit card, Keebo doesn’t rely on pre-existing credit scores, instead allowing customers to grant access to data such as direct debits and savings to determine their financial responsibility. “Credit cards and loans haven’t really evolved since the ’70s; there has been no innovation there at all and the time was right for us to take advantage of it,” says company co-founder Michael Vanaselja. “This new generation, but also the growing economy of passion, people living life on their own terms, that was really exciting for us.”