Enable javascript in your browser for better experience. Need to know to enable it? Go here.

Embracing banking ecosystems – part two

This four part blog series explores the current state of banking ecosystems and discusses approaches to a future ready ecosystem strategy for banks. The first part in the series has introduced the ecosystem framework. 


This blog explores the daily needs ecosystems and understands the suitability of the three roles; Lead, Participate and Enable for a bank.


Daily needs ecosystems (think super apps) provide a wide range of services to retail customers which include food delivery, ride sharing, messaging and bill payments. These are focused on meeting a customer’s day-to-day needs and involve low value, high frequency engagements with customers. Such daily needs ecosystems first emanated from Asia due to the success of companies like WeChat and Gojek. Today, new players in this space are emerging from Europe and the rest of the world. 


‘Lead’ in daily needs ecosystems


Consumer internet businesses orchestrate the most successful daily needs ecosystems.  The competencies required to successfully run such an ecosystem are far removed from the competencies of a traditional bank. Hence it would be difficult for a traditional bank to become a lead of a daily needs ecosystem.


Banks that have tried to create closed ecosystems for customers with a curated set of partners, have met with limited success. For instance, Liv by NBAD created a lifestyle app for its customers by bringing together various services beyond banking. Most often, such efforts focus on digital natives and the point of such activities has been to acquire new customers for an organization’s banking services.


Banks have also worked towards building super apps for businesses. For instance, PaySME has built an ecosystem for underserved SMEs in the UK with services like mobile payments, digital banking, eCommerce, insurance, accounting and lending.


However, neo-banks have competencies similar to a consumer internet business and have a better chance of success as ‘Lead’ players. Revolut has launched super apps in multiple geographies with mixed results. It will be interesting to see how successful Revolut becomes in competing with established super apps while competing with established banks.


‘Participate’ in daily needs ecosystems


Most daily needs ecosystems provide customers with financial products in the form of either a BNPL (Buy Now Pay Later) facility or investment offerings. Bank Jago of Indonesia has a partnership with Gojek to offer its checking accounts and wallet services to Gojek customers. Similarly, ICICI bank in India provides a co-branded credit card with Amazon, offering cash back for every Amazon purchase, among other benefits.


Banks could either get into exclusive partnerships with super app orchestrators or provide competitive offerings to the marketplace orchestrated by daily needs ecosystems. Such offerings could include personal loans (BNPL), credit cards, deposits and investment products.


‘Enable’ in daily needs ecosystems


Successful daily needs ecosystem providers are technology first companies and invest in platform building. Payment processing is a key capability for these apps. A survey of major daily needs ecosystems indicates this capability is provided in house or through a group company.


Banks with super app-like capabilities can partner with platform providers to expand their offering. In India, the B2B technology company Nuclei has enabled multiple banks to extend digital offerings to customers. 

Indian banks have also shown a strong interest in the Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC), an initiative to democratize eCommerce. Major banks in the country own more than a third of the platform. It will be interesting to see if such initiatives emerge in other parts of the world and if banks show similar interest.

  Daily needs ecosystems








Suitability for banks

Must-haves to engage


Mature digital acquisition capabilities


Innovative marketing to ensure continued engagemen

Differentiated offerings to add value to the ecosystem


A high brand value to bring credibility to the ecosystem

Insights as a service 


Loyalty and rewards programs to improve customer engagement

Who’s doing it?


SBI - Yono (India) JPMC and American Express offering Co-branded cards with Amazon

Banks investing in ONDC (India),

Commonwealth Bank Australia investing in product discovery startup Little Birdie and incorporating it with their platform.


As these ecosystems mature, a wider range of financial services products for consumers and merchants may be required, where the daily needs ecosystems prefer working with banks. In this scenario, banks would do well to possess the agility to support evolving needs.


In the subsequent blogs, we will use the same framework used to analyze and present possibilities in the daily needs ecosystem for other other categories as well.

Disclaimer: The statements and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the positions of Thoughtworks.

Keep up to date with our latest insights