How to prepare for a bank PoC

How to prepare for a bank PoC

Paniz Mojahedi
by Paniz Mojahedi

It’s not news that more and more banks are realising the value of partnering with fintechs, but as a fintech, how do you make sure you maximise your chance to prove your concept and ensure it really sticks?

Preparing for a bank PoC can be difficult, not just from the perspective of the fintech, but from the bank’s side too. Common knowledge is the amount of treacherous and limiting internal processes that bog down the banks’ ability to cater to fintechs and be able to provide an environment where fintechs can prove their tech or services’ worth.

So, what do fintechs need to consider when approaching a bank PoC?

At our latest SHIFT Open Finance Community event, we partnered with Playroll and NayaOne to deliver key insights on how to prepare and maximise fintechs’ efforts and chances of getting through the hurdles set by financial institutions and most importantly, get to an enterprise agreement with them.

When banks are evaluating fintechs, there are two key factors that come into play. Proving the value of the tech or service, either through a Proof of Concept, or within sandbox environment, tends to be at the top of the agenda. In close second, is running due diligence to ensure the fintech can deliver what they promise to, with the right level of resource to fulfil it.

How should a fintech prepare for a bank PoC and what did the panellists have to say?

Our panel consisted of experts across these two key areas, Josh Rix, Director at Woodhurst, and Co-founder of SHIFT, has helped large FIs run proof of concept programmes and therefore experienced first-hand what banks are looking for in a PoC and how to create a mutual action plan. On the flipside, Louis Demetroulakos, Head of Partnerships at Playroll, and Ambar Vitelli, Head of Partnerships at NayaOne, both carry knowledge from their respective areas of hiring top talent to grow teams, and benefits of having access to a digital sandbox and bespoke datasets used by regulators and FIs. 

One thing all our panellists agreed on was forming alignment and strategic relationships. Highlighting champions, going beyond product and solution, is the key to successful partnerships with FIs. Increasing levels of investment from the banks’ side means more competition amongst fintechs in the Open Finance space. That’s why it’s more important than ever, to zero in on your USP, ensure there is a cultural and strategic fit between yourself and the FI, and understand where there may be areas for improvement by seeking out advice from mentors and leaders in the space. PoCs definitely open the right doors but keeping that door open is even harder.

How does it look now, versus 5 years ago?

The positive part to it all, is that progress definitely has been made in the last 4-5 years, particularly with the reduced level of administration, approvals, and signoffs fintechs have to go through when conducting PoCs with FIs, and that’s not just with the CMA9 banks, there is appetite coming from mid-tier banks as well, meaning that change is on the horizon.

How can fintechs be best prepared for the future?

At Woodhurst we understand what it takes to work with a range of financial institutions. Through our experience leading a wide range of projects across the industry we’ve acquired dual perspective of what it’s like working with FIs as well as fintechs in the Open Finance space. We’ve experienced first-hand the pain points, challenges, and common struggles in their interactions.

SHIFT Open Finance Community was born with the sole purpose of helping fintechs advance the Open Finance agenda, and it does that by connecting the dots; providing physical and virtual opportunities for partnerships to form and discussions to be had.

One challenge we’ve heard being talked about in great depth, is around preparing for bank PoCs and how to accelerate the process of securing enterprise agreements with FIs. That’s why we wanted to host our latest event on this topic.

In addition, our mission has expanded to helping our members navigate financial institutions quickly to achieve better commercial outcomes and stronger partnerships. With premium access to the UK & Europe’s largest fintech marketplace and NayaOne’s digital sandbox, a dedicated events calendar, and regular engagements with FIs and regulators, our SHIFT 2.0 package provides members with the best of both worlds.

If you’re interested to find out more about SHIFT 2.0, or any of our usual SHIFT events and how you can get involved, please contact Ben Nadel (

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