The Finnish Mobile Wallet

OP-Pohjola, the largest national bank has a long history of innovation and firsts. In late 2012 the bank set its sights on an application which sets a whole new standard on personal financial services. The result is Pivo, the Finnish mobile wallet.

33 %

of users
opens Pivo every day.

66 %

of users
opens Pivo weekly

4,5 /5

The averate rating for Pivo
in iTunes App Store.


Active users on 31.12.2013
(Finnish population: 5M)

Finnish banking market is dominated by just a few major players of which OP-Pohjola is the largest. Due heavy legislative requirements, user-centric innovation is both slow and and difficult. To fight this, OP-Pohjola set up an research and development unit in the northern city of Oulu, formerly known as a hotbed of Nokia-related development and consumer electronics. The location of the site was optimal — still urban and accessible to wide amount of talent, but a distance from the headquarters which allowed innovation to flourish.

The bank set its sights on launching a 100% Finnish mobile wallet, which would the revolutionize the way people using the application would see personal financial applications. One for the first goals set was to reach a permanent spot at the first screen of the smartphone, as a app that would be used daily. In order to reach this goal the app should be pleasant and delightful to use and beautifully unique by design — an everyday companion that excites and spreads virally as natural as possible.

What happened next was no less than stunning—in less than six months from the release Pivo climbed on top of the Finnish app store and claimed the spot of most used banking app in the country. Pivo's unique selling point — a beautiful and effortess way to follow and understand one's own daily consumption and tap into various offers and loyalty programs at once. The actual mobile payments are on the roadmap as well, and the very point of Pivo will be to replace the old physical wallet with a well designed mobile application. From a bank's point of view, mobile payments have been the holy grail of digital banking experience for some ten years, and now when the majority of Finns are using smartphones the future is close at hand.

IMAGE Pivo is built around the real people and their finances, hence the graph is the visual centerpoint of the app.


“Already this beta version is just stunningly good.”

an iPhone Pivo user

“I'm really impressed by the quality of this app. Awesome design and really easy to use.”

Google Play Pivo user

Succesfull products and services are built on top of people's everyday life and needs. Especially in the Nordics paying with plastic credit card is an everyday thing and easy enough — instead on throughout customer research, focus grooms and such in the heart of Pivo are the challenges concerning loyalty programs, benefits and personal finances. Especially the question "can I really afford this" turned out to be the key. And it's not just the account balance but about forecasting the credit too.

The service design team at OP-Pohjola accepted the challenge, and set out to design the best app in the world: visual, oozing simplicity and style.

The design team worked inside the bank as an internal startup, taking advantage of state of the art Lean UX methodology. Starting from the hypothesis, team benchmarked the competition and came up with a clear idea of what kind of product they wanted to do. The guiding principles of the work turned to be four attributes: human, well designed, smart and credible. These principles have guided everything Pivo ever since from product development to marketing communications.

The overarching story was validated before the visuals through video prototyping and qualitative interviews. Once these turned all thumbs up, the team progressed to mood boarding and quick behavioral prototypes and visual design.

For the real product identity Pivo team engaged Nordkapp, who caught the idea quickly and started working in sync with the bank team for the following months, mentoring, sparring, and sometimes even challenging the presumptions taking the directly to next level through their lean and iterative way of working. The visual identity of the product was found as well, and it was clear the minimal approach to graphics required a solid typography to boot. The round graph ring was lifted to spotlight at this stage as well.

For the app, simplicity was the key. Make it as simple as possible but not too simple. To make sure the app would stand the test of time, in addition to qualitative / quantitative interviews and usability testing the actual design and development were done in sync and to reality: everything designed was put to test immediately in team's own iOS and Android devices.


“One of the best and most useful apps I've seen. You'd think you don't spend any money but good thing Pivo tells the real truth!"

an iPhone Pivo user

Before Alpha, the UI and UX were locked into three main elements:

  • 1 – the horizontally moving saldo canvas, its data points and visualizations at both ends of the 2-week scale.
  • 2 – The card deck metaphor used for navigation and general information architecture
  • 3 – the calm animation and visual language combined into pure scandinavian functionalism / minimalism.

Naming of the product was a long process. What would be the word that would both describe the product now and in the future, and would also be pronounceable and memorable for a Finn on the street? After a while, the name Pivo came up. The word itself is an old Finnish word for "hand", and describes brilliantly the close service relationship with the user and the product, and a place where keep valuable personal information at hand.

For marketing communications, the starting point was the idea that best services marketed themselves for the users. Advertising agency N2 helped the OP-Pohjola and Nordkapp teams in designing the logotype to support the app visual identity.

IMAGE The version 1.0 launched in 2013: apps for iOS and Android and the website.


According to the users, the Pivo is the best finance app in Finland. It looks beautiful, feels easy and effortless and most of all, has become an integral part of people’s daily lives.

Pivo is being developed on lean UX methodologies, constantly releasing, testing, measuring and iterating. The team is committed as ever, as a service Pivo is just about to get started.

The service design team at OP-Pohjola, along with their own iOS- and Android developers were the key on making the end result what it is. Nordkapp supported, mentored and sparred the team in their best abilities by integrating into a part of the product team and developing iteratively the completely visual identity for the product from individual screen layouts to video prototypes, icon- and element libraries as well as into production assets.

With Pivo, the team foresaw flat design before it became popular. First versions were released on iOS6, and since the design had barely no skeuomorphic elements whatsoever the transition to iOS7 was as easy as it gets. The only redesign required was the app icon.

As a team, we think the succeeded in making Pivo human, well designed, smart and credible. And the users agree — in the weeks following the release the app had tens of full five start reviews on both iTunes App Store and Google Play. What's more impressive, the engagement levels stay peaked, and users have stayed engaged with the app: one third of the users downloaded the app and continue using it on a daily basis, and two thirds at least once in a week. This is exceptional compared to any app out there.

Despite the extremely tight development timeline, Pivo has exceeded all expectations we set for the app. In addition to this, the quality of the app is just outstanding, and has become the pride of whole organization.

—Kristian Luoma, Business Development Manager, OP-Pohjola

Vuoden Huiput

Awarded: Best Digital Design
Vuoden Huiput / best of the year 2013 Finland

Vuoden Huiput

Awarded: Silver in Product Design
Vuoden Huiput / best of the year 2013 Finland

Grand One

Awarded: Best Design
Grand One 2014, Finland

Grand One

Awarded: Best Mobile App
Grand One 2014, Finland


Service Design


Hanna Äijälä Business Development
Kristian Luoma Business Developlment
Tuomas Jomppanen Service design
Jussi Juntunen UX
Petri Liimatta architecture
Antti Laitala apps
Niina Ollikka marketing
Heli Jimenez markering
Laura Hinkkanen communications

Visual Design


Sami Niemelä design lead
Jukka Koops designer
Timo Rostedt designer / Android
Reeta Laamo / Redandblue producton, icons

Advertising agency


Mikko Hakkarainen, accounts, digital strategy
Mira Träskelin, lead producer
Brian Kaszonyi, AD
Tuomas Tofferi, AD
Jani Pösö, creative director and copywriter
Iikko Kuusela, graphic designer

Media agency:

Toinen PHD

Sanna Partanen designer
Katja Svennevig-Tervo producer