Long-awaited innovation makes Turkish debut

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19 July 2017

The clichés tell us that innovation is a series of “eureka!” moments. Sudden epiphanies from genius inventors that change the world in an instant.

ING Orange Assistant advertisement in Turkey

The reality is, of course, much more complex. Few ideas are sudden breakthroughs and bringing that one brilliant idea to life, can be a long and winding road.

Long incubation periods are something that one team of ING employees can easily relate to. Three years after winning the Bank’s first ever internal innovation competition, Innovation Bootcamp, the team have finally seen their idea come to life in Turkey.

More control, less effort

The idea is the Orange Assistant or as ING in Turkey is calling it, the ING Assistant. It’s an application that allows users to have more control over their money with less effort. It, for instance, can help customers avoid penalties from falling into unintended overdraft, can automatically transfer money to accounts when a salary is credited and even notify users of a wife or husband’s birthday and transfer money to their florist.

One of the major features of the Orange Assistant is an engine that can set a series of customised rules to control one’s daily activities. With the ING Assistant, launched on 30 May, there are currently 23 rules with the promise of another 69 to come. These are divided into five ‘pre-set’ rules, 12 ‘notify me’ rules and six ‘smart action’ rules. Smart action rules are transactions that are completed automatically when the rules specified by the user are fulfilled.

To date, the concept has gone down well with Turkish consumers with over 18,000 users creating nearly two million separate notifications. The most popular of these has been ‘notify me when my account is credited’, ‘notify me when my credit card statement is ready’ and ‘notify me when my account is debited’.

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Turkey’s new banking feature, ING Assistant, has been advertised extensively since its launch on 30 May.

Other countries to come?

The ING team behind Orange Assistant are hopeful that having finally made its debut in Turkey it will also be adopted in a number of other ING retail countries.

But why was Turkey of all countries chosen as the first country to launch the app? Turkey’s Retail Banking Executive Vice President Barbaros Uygun said at the launch of ING Assistant in Istanbul that it was his country’s preparedness to adopt new technology quickly and its willingness to use mobile banking applications. Use of ING in Turkey’s mobile app, for example, grew by 21 percent last year and now has over 550,000 active users.

But there are also IT factors at play including the fact that Turkey had an existing IT programme that could develop some of the ideas that could best accommodate the Orange Assistant.

So while the process of in-house innovation has been over 1000 days in the making, the long wait has certainly been worth it with Turkish customers never having been in more control of their money.

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