The UK public have been facing an ongoing cost-of-living crisis, which has put pressure on many people’s lifestyles and budgets. Financial awareness and literacy are more important than ever for households to understand where they are spending money and where they can save.
Dame Jayne-Anne Gadhia, co-founder of free money-saving app, Snoop, says that in 2022 people don’t need another bank account product, they need the tools and information to help them to spend their money more intelligently.
Before launching Snoop, Jayne-Anne was the founder and CEO of Virgin Money alongside Richard Branson, where she led the full-service bank through key milestones and acquisitions. Jayne-Anne has also made huge efforts to increase gender diversity in financial services, and led a government review on the lack of female representation in executive leadership roles in the industry.
We spoke with Jayne-Anne to learn more about Snoop’s story, and how building the business using AWS cloud technology enabled the team to build and scale an award-winning app that helps people with their personal finances when they need it most.
Knowledge is power – and it should belong to the customer
In 2021, survey results published by investment app Freetrade found that 88% of UK adults don’t feel confident in their financial literacy, with 83% saying they don’t feel they have enough knowledge about saving, annual percentage rates (APR), compound interests and even direct debits.
Many of us open accounts with the banks our family has used for years, and we don’t assess or challenge their services or products.
For many, money can be tough, and at worst, it can be complicated and stressful. Jayne-Anne saw an opportunity to take her experiences from her time at Virgin Money, and create an app to help people get on top of their money, and make their lives a bit brighter and better off.
Snoop aims to help users track spending, cut bills and take control of their finances. The app provides a clear view of how much money they have to spend in the upcoming week, helps them spend that amount sensibly, and provides suggestions of how to spend less money but still do the things they want to.
“Very few people feel confident in their understanding of finance in the UK, so we find ourselves falling into financial products without an in-depth understanding. Many of us open accounts with the banks our family has used for years, and we don’t assess or challenge their services or products.
“If you don’t understand your spending, you can start to struggle with managing your personal finances, and this comes with bigger risks. Your financial situation can impact your life in every sense – it can stop you enjoying life comfortably, but also contribute to mental health and wellbeing issues such as anxiety, confidence, self-esteem and more.
“If we can help people understand their money better, we will have achieved a lot.”
Cloud technology makes Snoop a dynamic business
“Historically, banks and other businesses have used customer data for their own benefit rather than the customer’s benefit. What we’re trying to tell people is that this data belongs to them and that they can use it for positive outcomes for themselves.”
With Open Banking technology, Snoop is able to analyse a user’s spending, and present that data to them in an accessible way through the app. This has helped Snoop to build tools to track spending that are more powerful than a bank account.
We can develop new features very quickly based on customer feedback, and we move with trends when we see them.
By building their app on the AWS Cloud, Snoop has access to secure infrastructure and the ability to scale quickly and easily as user demand for the app grows, achieving a cost-effective and scalable solution using AWS serverless and container technologies.
“Security capabilities and flexibility are among the key reasons we built Snoop using the AWS Cloud.”
By leaving the undifferentiated heavy lifting to AWS, Snoop’s technical team can focus on developing features that will help users to make smarter financial decisions.
“We process £100 billion worth of banking transactions through Snoop, which is huge even for a traditional bank! It would be very difficult to contemplate building an infrastructure that could handle this as a fledgling business, but we don’t have to worry about that as AWS is behind us doing the heavy lifting. That’s invaluable.”
The COVID-19 pandemic sped-up Snoop’s growth, and AWS was there to help the organisation grow and scale.
“When we launched the beta phase in 2019 with 5,000 customers, we were amazed at the engagement. When the first lockdown happened, we knew tough times were ahead for people and that we had to get this app out there, so we pushed ahead and went live in April 2020.
“Since then, we have had one million downloads and estimate that Snoop can save users £1,500 each per year, which is a lot for individual households when costs are rising. This growth has been possible because we’re able to be dynamic with AWS. We can develop new features very quickly based on customer feedback, and we move with trends when we see them.
“Being ahead of the curve is really important for Snoop, and AWS helps us move fast and stay in the future. Lots of businesses who are on legacy technology struggle with this, they might be able to see the future and want to move fast like we can, but it’s very difficult to do so without the right technology backing you.”
Learn more about the women founders using AWS to power their businesses for good.