TotallyMoney’s mission has always been to help customers get a better deal from the credit industry and to build a fairer credit market for consumers. Once the idea to provide our customers with a free credit report was born and then, after all the negotiations, planning and designing were finalised, the task of building it came into full effect at the beginning of this year.
This was going to be a two-part process for the development team – first to build a website and then to build an app. With this in mind we decided to organise the website in such a way that it would be a relatively quick and smooth process to transfer the components and logic over to the app.
Visual representation of the work
The video below shows a visual representation of the work we’ve done over the past year-and-a-half. It was created using a nifty version control visualisation tool called Gource, which tracks your github repositories and makes them look a lot more artistic.
Why React Native?
We decided to build the app using React Native, which is a framework developed and supported by Facebook used for building native apps from React JS. Companies such as AirBnB, Instagram, Skype and, of course, Facebook use React Native so we knew we were in good company.
We used React JS to build the web app (React is a widely used and popular language choice throughout the TotallyMoney tech team) and therefore it was a logical choice to use a framework that used a language we were familiar with, as opposed to other competing frameworks, such as Xamarin, that use languages such as C#. React Native’s tag line is “Learn once, build anywhere”, which has rung true with the smooth transition from developing the web app in React to a native app. We were, therefore, able to reproduce similar code from the web app to the native app and to also create a single codebase which could be used for both IOS and Android devices.
The decision to build a native app over a web-based app was grounded in a few different factors:
- A native app is downloaded onto the customer’s own device and once downloaded it can be opened at any time (including when there is no internet access), whereas a web app relies solely on the internet.
- A native app is totally compatible with the device’s hardware and native features, and has access to a much wider range of native features compared to a web app.
- Native apps are considered to be faster and more efficient because they work in tandem with the mobile device they are developed for.
- There is an extra security and assurance of quality process with native apps as they have to be sent for approval via the app stores, and customers can only access them here.
- Customers can be made aware of any updates or fixes to the app through each new release.
- App stores are popular marketplaces for companies to share their products with a large audience, and we felt we could attract more customers from placing our apps in them.
What features are included?
We wanted to give our customers the same experience they have when they log in to our online site as with the app. Therefore, the same features – cardless signup, real-time credit score, intelligent alerts and the raising of a dispute (to name a few) – are featured in the native app. The real time credit score allows the customer to stay up to date with their credit score, and if there is a change the Credit Report alerts can notify the customer as to why this may be. The Borrowing Power alerts allow customers to see what new cards are on offer to them. The customer can also raise a dispute from the app if they believe anything is incorrect on their credit report.
What can we expect to see in the future?
As we move forward we are frequently updating the app with new features, product updates and fixes. Push notifications, built in guides on how to improve credit and eligibility, historical score comparisons are an example of some of the features we hope to present to our customers in the future. We constantly take in any feedback we can and work hard to improve the app to it’s full potential and make it one that can be beneficial and helpful to our customers. Each time we fix a bug, change a feature or implement something entirely new, we are able to update our users through the app store so they know what’s new.
Download the free credit report app for IOS here.
Download the free credit report app for Android here.