Want to try out something new? Just spin up a server and go for it. Using AWS, we can test ideas in a day rather than spending a week planning and setting up the hardware.
Andreas Lundgren Head of Engineering

Trust. The most important word in financial services. And a must if you want to build the only mobile banking app users would ever need.

In Sweden, 350,000 people trust Tink to help them keep track of their money. It gives users more control over their finances by connecting their bank accounts and credit cards in a simple, smart way from one place. According to Andreas Lundgren, head of engineering at Tink, it’s about letting people get on with their lives without worrying about budgeting. “We aim to take the boring out of personal finances,” he says, “and help people discover and use the best financial products out there.”

So, with Tink, users can pay bills or make transfers between different accounts, but they also get alerts if there’s something unusual in their spending, or they’ve reached a savings target, for example. Tink also wants to highlight bad financial deals to users and promote banks that give consumers excellent options and services.

Building a compelling app that consumers can trust hasn’t been without its hurdles. “A significant challenge for us has been spending time on the right things. We were running some of our IT in the cloud, but we largely relied on servers at a hosted data center. As we grew, we found it harder to focus on getting new ideas to market. We wanted to spend more time doing that and less time switching disks at a data center on the other side of the city,” says Lundgren.

Security was also key to creating a trusted platform.

“We work with banks and other financial institutions, and we need to comply with data-security standards and regulations, as well as ensure we’re fulfilling our obligations to customers to provide a secure service,” says Lundgren. “So when we decided to move our entire infrastructure to the cloud, we knew we needed a mature provider with proven security certifications. For us there was only one choice: Amazon Web Services. Being on AWS, with its great track record and market leader position, also helps a lot when taking on new partnerships with banks all over Europe.

“A big difference is the agility it gives us,” says Lundgren about moving all-in to Amazon Web Services (AWS). “Want to try out something new? Just spin up a server and go for it. We can test ideas in a day with AWS rather than spending a week planning and setting up the hardware.” This means Tink can get new functionality and features to customers up to 85 percent faster than before.

Efficiency in scaling is another advantage. “We see usage quadruple around the twenty-fifth of each month, which is the date salaries are paid into people’s accounts in Sweden,” says Lundgren. “Before, we had to overprovision our data center hardware to cope with this increase in activity. In practice, due to the manual nature of this provisioning process, it meant that the user experience in the app was slower than usual. But with Auto Scaling in AWS, those peaks are handled seamlessly without any effort on our part.”

Lundgren points to how the compliance and security credentials of AWS have helped the startup cultivate and expand its partnerships. “As part of a requirement of one of our business partners, we recently went through ISO27001 data-security certification. This process can take years to complete, but it took us just two months to get the certificate with AWS because we had services such as Amazon CloudWatch and AWS CloudTrail at our fingertips, providing us with full tracking and visibility of resources.”

Lundgren also feels confident that when Tink signs a new partnership agreement the team can quickly and easily spin up a new cluster and assign it to the customer on a separate billing account. This puts the partner in control of the hosting costs and puts Tink in control of how to manage the cluster, using Amazon APIs.

“We like to think our approach is simple: take awesome components from AWS and build a state-of-the-art app on top of them,” says Lundgren. “Recently, one of our partners conducted penetration tests on our infrastructure. The feedback we received was ‘more secure than a bank.’ With comments like this, we know we’ve got a winning approach.”