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Banco PAN chooses Cinq to incorporate instant payment system into its digital account app

After launching its digital account in February 2020, the bank completed all testing phases and launched the instant payment system within the deadline.

Smartphone with the app Banco pan

Background

Banco PAN had a new challenge: implement PIX, a mandated instant payment system created by Brazil’s Central Bank, which makes it possible to transfer money between people and companies in up to 10 seconds. As the project was strategic and complex, the bank had to race against time to ensure a full, high-quality delivery.

Solution

Cinq took part in the project from strategic planning to implementation, providing support throughout the development process to ensure it went as planned. The teams were divided between those who developed front-end features and those who focused on back-end. We developed APIs for the two main operating systems: Android and iOS. For the front-end, we used Swift language for the iOS platform and Kotlin language for the Android native app development. For the back-end, we used Spring Framework in Java, microservices, and AWS cloud.

Results

Despite the many challenges faced during the process, we achieved positive results thanks to the organization and high performance of the teams. Launching PIX within Brazil’s Central Bank’s deadlines gave Banco PAN an advantage over other financial institutions.

November 16, 2020, will always be an important day for Brazilian financial institutions. In addition to the existing Brazilian Payments Systems (SPB), the Central Bank of Brazil (BCB) launched the Instant Payment System (SPI), called PIX. This meant that financial institutions had to work against the clock to offer people an easier, faster, and free way to transfer money.

After launching its digital account in February 2020, Banco PAN faced the challenge of releasing PIX. With a tight schedule and strict deadlines from BCB, the company chose the implementation of PIX as one of its main projects in 2020.

“All financial institutions knew they had a short period of time to develop this new payment system. We had been talking about it since 2018. PAN took part in all meetings with the Central Bank and other participants from the industry and put together a robust project team, taking the implementation schedule into account”

Henrique Marise, head of the payment methods team at Banco PAN.

At the beginning of 2020, Banco PAN decided on a dedicated and exclusive squad to develop PIX, so it hired Cinq to build a team of 15 specialists. Besides launching the system by the deadline, BCB anticipated some dates. “We received the DICT and SPI test schedules and met the deadline in the first round, related to finalizing transactions,” says Marise. DICT is PIX’s sole and centralized database operated by BCB, where PIX keys and associated account information are stored.

Banco PAN participated in all deliveries, including the optional ones. The initial schedule changed during the development process, moving up the deadline and forcing PAN and its squad to re-plan: BCB determined that the platform needed to be ready between October 5 and November 3, so customers could pre-register their keys.

Two smartphones showing the Banco Pan app

“This requirement was not planned, and came up on July 22, 2020, during the platform’s development process. Even though it was unplanned, we were able to deliver”

Rodrigo Romero, business head at Cinq

Woman holding a smartphone showing the Banco Pan app

Banco PAN also participated in the soft launch (pre-release), that started on November 3, and preceded the official launch on November 16. This period, says Romero, was essential to identify possible problems. The instant payment method was incorporated into the digital account app, and transactions were available to PAN’s customers after that. Currently, PIX is the main method account holders use to make transactions, overtaking electronic transfers (TED).

PAN added two extra features to its PIX. First, when customers access their digital accounts, they immediately find the option to register their PIX key, right at onboarding. The company also added a shortcut to the app before the login area, which takes directly users to PIX, making access easier and faster and delivering a more seamless experience.

“PIX was a challenge to everyone in the industry and a unique learning experience. We must remember that TED (electronic transfer) was launched 20 years ago, and we did not take part in its implementation. PIX is another milestone for the financial market”

Henrique Marise, head of the payment methods team at Banco PAN.

Parallel development

Having parallel squads to develop PIX, in addition to the digital team, was essential to the project’s success, according to Cícero Menezes, technology superintendent at Banco PAN. “We arranged a schedule for the teams so development could happen at the same time and integrate along the way. For example, we established dates to merge the codes,” says Menezes. “It was very challenging since we had to ensure not to impact the live app. Developing in parallel was the key to success, as the digital account app continued to evolve, and we did not want to interfere with its progress.”

On Cinq’s part, the teams were further divided between those who developed front-end features and those who focused on back-end. We developed APIs for the two main operating systems: Android (Google) and iOS (Apple). We created two modules, one for each system, and worked with the account team to integrate them with the digital account platform.

For front-end development, we used native platforms: Swift language for iOS and Kotlin language for Android. For back-end, we used Spring Framework in Java, with microservices and hosting in AWS cloud and integrated it with the instant payment management system platform (GI).

Person holding their phone, using Banco Pan's app

"Having parallel squads to develop PIX, in addition to the digital team, was essential to the project’s success"

“We developed the GI as we developed the back-end. It was a big challenge, because we had to create it presuming things would go a certain way. In addition, BCB changed things during the project, so we had to make adjustments in real time”

Érica Turcarelli, squad leader at Cinq.

According to Érica, developing the back-end and the GI in parallel (while accommodating BCB’s changes), and dealing with the anticipation of the keys pre-registration were two of the project’s main challenges. She says the organization of the teams was key in overcoming them.

Banco PAN had been working with Cinq for about a year when it saw the need to include one more paying method in its platform. Cinq met the bank’s demands, as it had already developed part of its digital account. “We always rely on Cinq because it has a very good technical and experienced team, which is essential. We were able to deliver PIX thanks to that,” says Menezes.

Cinq was responsible for developing most of the instant payment system for Banco PAN. “It was a strategic and complex project. We chose Cinq because we have a trust relationship and in return it assembled a high-performance team,” says Marise. “It took up the challenge and the project was successful thanks to the team’s commitment,” says Isabella Romão Faedo, product owner of the project.

Banco pan logo with background photo of woman holding a phone

About Banco PAN

Banco Pan S.A. (BPAN4) is one of the main Brazilian banks. It is jointly controlled by Banco BTG Pactual S.A. and Caixa Participações S.A. (Caixapar). It has 2,678 employees and a net worth of R$5.4 billion. It focuses on lower and medium income individuals, offering a complete digital account, credit card, personal loans, payroll deductible credit (loans and credit card), loans for used cars and new motorcycles, insurance products, and acquiring.

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