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Orange puts bank on hold as it struggles to get it right

Orange bank

Orange has put the brakes on its ambitious plans to venture into the world of mobile banking after finding the proposition doesn’t quite meet the standards.

It’s been one of the most anticipated moves in the telco world recently, as it is actually something a bit different. While most telcos rebrand previous offerings or copycat others initiatives, Orange has taken a bold step taking it truly out of the comfort zone, and it hasn’t quite nailed it yet.

“Stéphane Richard has decided to extend the test phase and postpone the commercial launch of Orange Bank,” a spokesperson said. “Tests carried out with employees since May haven’t met the standards and criteria of excellence in terms of quality and reliability that the Group expects.

“We aim to launch a high-quality, innovative product for our customers and we will take the time necessary to ensure that these expectations are met. We anticipate that Orange Bank will be launched after the summer.”

The bank has been available to employees since May, with the initial plan to open up to the wider French population in July. Through testing with employees the team has decided it hasn’t nailed the customer experience side of things.

The team has said that hundreds of accounts are now open and used on a daily basis, with some even being used for the majority of purchases. The next couple of months will allow the team to test the product with more people, which will in theory help Orange refine and ‘guarantee the reliability of the offer’.

While it is certainly a bit of a dampener on proceedings, it is probably for the best in the long-run. One of the questions which has been surrounding the launch is how it will be received by customers. Having Orange in charge of your mobile is one thing, but to trust the telco with your cash is another matter entirely.

For a lot of customers, Orange probably has one chance to prove its worthiness in the finance world. Changing accounts is a big deal for a lot of people, and trusting a untested brand is an even bigger deal. If the experience is not nailed, the bank could be a flop in the first couple of months.

This is part of the reason Orange anticipate younger generations will make the majority of the customer base; these are people who are open to new ideas and more receptive to bets which are outside the realms of normality. But irrelevant as to how experimental these generations are, you don’t get many chances. You are after all dealing with peoples savings, their credit, their mortgages. It’s a big deal.

So yes, it’s not a perfect scenario, but probably for the best in the long term.


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