Deutsche Bank unveils loyalty-first mobile wallet venture

Yunar's app in use
YUNAR: Bringing consumers in with loyalty features, with mobile payments coming later

Deutsche Bank has launched Yunar, a wholly-owned subsidiary startup that is taking a loyalty-first approach to building out a fully featured mobile wallet by initially offering a simple way to manage up to 200 loyalty points schemes — and then gradually adding a range of mobile payments and banking services as adoption takes off.

“By starting with loyalty schemes the new app can tap straight into a market with millions of potential users,” Deutsche Bank explains. “Three-quarters of the German population are members of a loyalty scheme, while the majority of them — 73% — have cards from more than three loyalty schemes.”

“By adding other banking and non-banking services Yunar is intended to gradually become the mobile wallet in the customer’s pocket. Yunar will therefore be continually upgraded with new functions and products, taking into account what customers want and how they use the app from day to day.”

“Banking services such as mobile payments or multibank aggregation or even non-banking services such as digital identification may be added, ultimately making it a mobile wallet.”

Yunar has been set up with its own management, its own team, its own IT and an initial staff of around 80 people. The aim, the bank says, is to create a structure that will enable Yunar to swiftly launch innovative digital services that go beyond its parent’s traditional banking business.

“Fresh ideas that make life easier for banking clients will be implemented faster in future,” Markus Pertlwieser, head of Deutsche Bank’s digital ventures business, explains.

Yunar “does not require a banking balance sheet, as is the case with many fintechs,” the bank adds. “Subject to the approval of the relevant regulatory authorities, it will hold a so-called Zag licence – authorising it to provide payment services.”

Yunar is currently available “to an initially limited number of users” with a full rollout planned for Q1 2019.

“The basic version of Yunar will enable users to manage their customer loyalty cards on their mobile phone. The app allows users to collect points for up to 200 loyalty schemes that are widely used in Germany, including Payback, DeutschlandCard, BahnBonus, Miles & More, Ikea, Douglas and Karstadt,” the bank says.

“For some of the schemes, the app will also be able to show previously collected points, which means users will no longer need to use their physical loyalty cards. Yunar will therefore satisfy the key criteria of the platform economy from the very beginning: It is free, available everywhere and relevant to users’ daily lives.

“This would be the first time that customers have one-stop access to all services related to their loyalty schemes, payments and bank account. If in future all the data from popular loyalty schemes were to be linked to the user’s payment information, this would make the offering unique. Yunar could then suggest which loyalty schemes the user should consider or also provide advice on how points that have been collected could be used.”