Making searching for a loan so much smarter
Launching a completely new service is always exciting. Building something from scratch is even more so. And knowing the service has major commercial benefits for the business – and a significant point of difference for its customers – elevated the Smart Loans project for moneysupermarket.com (MSM) to new heights.
If that wasn’t enough to focus the mind, meeting the tightest of deadlines ahead of the December launch of the multi-million pound ‘You’re so Money Supermarket’ advertising campaign meant time was a huge and ever-present issue from the get go.
Smartening up loan applications
Recognising the value of stepping away from its own internal teams and, following a recommendation from Experian for our technical expertise and understanding, MSM selected us to design and build its new Smart Search service.
Smart Search removed the old problems of credit referencing customers applying for a new loan. Previously, a customer’s credit score would be checked when they applied for a loan, which in return reduced their credit score. If rejected for the loan, this credit score couldn’t be restored, and a downward cycle began for the customer in question.
Softening credit score searches
For MSM, the news was just as bad, as they would only be paid commission on successful loan applications. So unhappy customers plus lack of commission meant everyone loses.
The answer? A soft credit search through real-time data pulled over from Experian, which left no footprint on their credit score, and new listings on MSM which would show only the loans the customer would be accepted for based on their soft credit score search.
The problem? It had never been done before.
Ensuring websites could talk
It’s hard to imagine now, but back then the idea of getting one website talking to another was still in its infancy. APIs in 2014 simply weren’t universal, and the technology had to be designed and built from scratch.
This was also the early days of responsive websites, with easy browsing on mobile phones yet to kick in.
Meeting the timeline challenge
There were also tight brand guidelines, data security issues, regulatory concerns and financial compliance challenges. Not least the fact that the compliance department needed two whole weeks for sign-off ahead of launch, further squeezing the already tight deadline.
Then there was the lack of time. Every hour, every day, every week, the ticking time bomb of an immovable and looming delivery date brought constant, fear-invoking pressure. Bring it on we thought.