Branding has long played a vital role in how financial institutions communicate with consumers. Traditional high street banks, for instance, are often associated with the colour blue – apparently the most calming and trustworthy hue according to colour psychology. The rise of challenger banks including Monzo, Starling and Revolut in the 2010s ushered in a radically different approach and visual aesthetic, characterised by design elements such as coral pink cards, user-friendly apps and a more ‘human’ tone of voice.
“At the time, fintech startups were like the promised land, they were the wise sage that came out and were going to disrupt the system. But it’s become the standardised, ubiquitous approach that everyone is trying to template. And, quite frankly, once you’ve done it once it’s kind of done, so the impact has gone,” says Marissa de Miguel, chief marketing officer at Keebo, a credit startup brand aimed squarely at the next generation of consumers.
The lightning bolt moment for Keebo’s founders came out of an FCA report on the credit card market in the UK, which stated that 60% of millennials and Gen Z have been denied 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 in order to determine their financial responsibility. “Credit cards and lending hasn’t really evolved since the 70s; there’s been no innovation there at all and the time was ripe for us to take advantage of it,” says the company’s co-founder, Michael Vanaselja. “This new generation but also the growing passion economy, people living life on their own terms, that was really exciting for us.”