2024 W12 Reviews

I’m back with an old format: 5 reviews in one post.

While I used to compare 5 competing companies, I’m now just looking at 5 random home pages I came across in the past two weeks. I know this format isn’t perfect, but here’s the idea until I figure out something better:

Review 5 hero section and let you choose which company you want to explore in more detail. Then the next week, I’ll do five new hero section and one detailed review. Sounds like a deal?

Let’s get started then.

  1. Alan
  2. Monese
  3. Mercury
  4. Discount Payment
  5. Anchor

Alan

I’d describe Alan as an insurance challenger. For now, they offer hospitalisation insurance (health plans) in a few European countries. They’re only for companies at the moment, so I’d say HR teams are their primary target audience.

Alan’s hero section is great for a number of reasons:

  • The colour scheme is playful yet not distracting. I’d just consider a different CTA button to make it stand out a little more.
  • The call to action is a good choice, though. Checking the plans is mostly likely exactly what prospects want to do.
  • The branding with the bear is well done, too. It’s friendly, playful and definitely not boring as insurance tends to be.

There are, however, a few things which could be improved:

  • While the title and subtitle are pretty informative, I believe they’re missing the biggest point: mentioning the insurance or health plans.
  • “Increase performance” also feels a bit farfetched, even though they do mention mental health coaching, for example. I’d try to make that connection clearer.
  • Unfortunately, the logos of the brands they work with are just below the fold. It might be hard to move them up, but I would consider including a small nudge to make visitors scroll and discover more.

Monese

Next up is Monese, a company that offers mobile bank accounts that are much easier to open than a traditional bank account. If you read the about section on their website, you’ll get a great idea of what they do and why. Unfortunately, the home page is less clear. (FYI, this is the English page for Belgium. The copy is different for the UK.)

This hero section design looks pretty standard: title, subtitle, button and product screenshot. I’d say that’s the minimum requirement for a good hero section these days. A few positives are the easy language and country selection in the header, and the link to the pricing page in the menu.

The words “in minutes” are also good for handling objections, but I would’ve liked more details. Why does it only take a few minutes? Why is this special?

Additionally, here are a few other things I’d consider changing:

  • Adding an accent colour. Now, only three things stand out and they aren’t even important: the country flag, the Mastercard logo and the “new” badge next to features.
  • Product screenshots have become pretty standard in banking. How can you take them to the next level, especially when your app and card look no different from those of your dozens of competitors?
  • Why include “invite and earn” as a call to action on the home page? Many people haven’t even signed up yet? I’d wait with that until people have logged in.
  • Spending, sending and saving are nothing special, that’s the least I expect to do with a bank account. What else?

Just like the founder, I experienced the pain of not being able to open a bank account when I lived in the UK as an expat. So I paid for everything with my Visa card for half a year. Yeah, that’s a few hundred euros in fees in the bin. So the idea of opening a bank account without all the (impossible) hoops, hits home. I’d play into that a lot more, even if the current target audience is a more diversified group now.

Mercury redesign

Mercury is such a cool company and they just launched a new website design. It’s a little more metallic now than it used to be. It feels a bit more polished but there are still a few things I’d change.

First of all, please visit the website and move your cursor around. The way the background interacts is just “wow”. It’s a stupid gimmick, but still “wow”.

“Apply in 10 minutes” is also great. Startup founders are busy so they value a quick application process.

I also like the banner with the legal information. It’s prominent, yet not overwhelming.

The rest of my review is less positive, though.

  • “Banking for ambitious companies” is clear but pretty vague. Besides, who would say they are not ambitious?
  • The product screenshot looks good, much more specific than the one above. But the entire image feels weird. Do notice how the position of that laptop nudges you to scroll and discover more.
  • Transform is such a buzzword. “Transform how you operate” is a big claim but it means nothing without context. Explain how.

Discount Payments

Discount Payments is an unknown company to me and that’s not strange since they’re based in Canada. By the way, it’s pretty cool that their logo has this little maple leaf that indicates the market. With many payment companies, you aren’t always sure where they are active. This isn’t a problem here, even though it could be clearer.

The menu is pretty good: pricing page and two ‘highlighted’ solutions: in-person and card not present.

The subtitle is great but the title is a mess. “Payments made simple”. Really? I wrote a LinkedIn post about this the other day. Lots of companies are about “payments made simple”. But HOW? Explain this, and your title instantly becomes twice as good, without a doubt.

The card is pretty stupid too, sorry. It’s too simple, it doesn’t explain anything, and no card says “best rates”. I do appreciate the focus on the rates, however. But should “see our rates” also be the main call to action?

Finally, I think the news updates are relevant. I like mentioning important updates in the hero section, but I wouldn’t make them too prominent. They can work as a charm to show your authority or knowledge, but in the end, they’re often a distraction too.

PS: just an idea. What if the CTA was “compare our rates” instead of “see our rates”?

Anchor

I had never heard about anchor until recently but their hero section instantly turned me into a fan.

Building is a keyword for anchor, and the bricks are a fantastic way of bringing that alive. The way the blocks are stacked gives you that really simplified idea of what anchor does. The title and subtitle also do a great job of explaining what the company does. I’m intrigued to find out more.

The only thing I dislike is “the easiest”. That’s a pet peeve of mine. It’s a cheap way of diversification or social proof or whatever people think is. With superlative claims, I always feel the urge to prove the company wrong and find a competitor who is easier, faster, better … I’m not saying you should never make these claims, but if you do, back them up.

With products like BaaS, I also think support is an important element of the buying decision but there’s no mention of support here. It’s not absolutely necessary but I think it’s one of the first things buyers would look for. So, I’d add some claim it social proof regarding support.

Finally, I think the call to action button could be improved. It’s not bad but it looks a bit like the blocks. And I also think you don’t “get started” with building a banking product. At least, you’ll want to have a demo or conversation with the team first.

Cast your votes

That’s it. Any favourites?

If you’d like to see a full review of one of these companies, let me know in the comments or send me an email.

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