How neobank P.F.C has adapted to Covid-19 –CEO interview
Episode 3: P.F.C
Let us know a little bit about Kevin Albrecht.
I’m Kevin Albrecht the CEO and Co-founder of P.F.C. I’m originally from California and have lived in Sweden for the past 10 years, where I have led product and technology teams in finance and technology startups including Klarna and Rikskortet.
Who are P.F.C & what do they do?
P.F.C. is a neobank based in Stockholm, Sweden. We launched in 2019 and now have 100 000 users in Sweden. We offer our customers a free Mastercard debit card and app that helps our customers to spend their money wisely, save automatically, and share transactions with friends and family.
To help parents teach their children good spending habits, we offer a children’s spending card for a small monthly fee. And if a customer needs a little extra help to make it to the end of the month, we provide an option to pay larger purchases in instalments.
How do you differ from your competitors?
Our competitors are traditional banks, and we differ pretty substantially. We solve many of the same problems that a bank solves, but in a simpler, more transparent, and more cost-efficient way. We are able to respond to what we learn from our customers and release new versions of our apps with new features every week.
With regards to COVID-19 what sort of impact have you seen in the FinTech market?
We have been positively surprised so far that usage of our card and app has been steady during the COVID crisis. Our transaction numbers actually increased from February to March!
We think this shows that our strategy of being a service for everyday users has really paid off. While our app and card is great for travellers, we have never focused on being a travel card primarily. Our data shows that most of our customers use us instead of a bank card from a traditional bank.
What we have seen, however, is a significant change in how people use our card: spending at restaurants has decreased quite a bit, and spending at grocery stores has increased.
What adaptations have P.F.C made to cope with the changes?
The biggest adaptation of course was the transition to working from home. It was tough to make that change for the first few weeks, but we have adapted well. We had it much easier than some businesses obviously. Being a fully cloud-based company, we could continue doing everything from home that we were doing from the office, so the challenges there have been more social than technical.
How has the virus affected P.F.C’s growth plans?
We launched in early 2019 and spent the rest of that year focused on growing our user base. With the crisis, we have redoubled our efforts on building products to help our existing customers, rather than focusing on adding new customers. This means building out both our free services, but also our revenue-generating services like credit, the children’s spending card, and more.
What area of the business will be next to grow – what will be the first key hires you make when things subside?
Since we are focusing on growing our revenue products, our next hires will focus on that area. We are always looking for great software engineers and product people, and on the revenue side, additional credit risk expertise will be really important for us.
What does the future hold for P.F.C?
P.F.C. is currently live in Sweden, and we plan to expand to the rest of the Nordic countries shortly. On the product side, we want to offer products in every area of a customer’s financial life.
Do you have any words of wisdom for those working for smaller businesses like P.F.C?
We have a motto at P.F.C, and I think it works for any business: “Every day, make the smallest change that gets us one step closer to our goal, and leaves everything else working well.”
I think this is the key to getting through tough times and good times without getting overwhelmed by how big the challenges that you are facing are. A small improvement every day adds up to a huge improvement over time.
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