Nexmo at the Capital One Hackathon

Published April 10, 2015 by Tim Lytle

A few weeks ago we hung out with some financial hackers – no, not that kind of hacker, the good kind – at the Capital One People & Money hackathon. There were so many projects, we doubled up and gave two teams our Most Creative Use prize, and another two teams our Best Use Prize.

Call Yo Moma

Timmy helping_1024First, a fun one. In a video Capital One played at the start of the hackathon, one interviewee mentioned he wished his bank was more like a parent. While I’m sure this is a sentiment not shared by everyone, for those that do, this hackathon project was made just for you.

It’s a budgeting app with a twist: if you spend too much, your budget calls your mom. Because – as the app says – “You in trouuuuble!”.

Okay, maybe it’s a limited use case, but it’s fun. Still, the idea of leveraging social accountability, not just your mom, in maintaining a budget has a lot of potential – and that got this team our Creative Use prize.


CapOne Hackathon Hacking_1024Third place winner of Capital One’s Money for Millennials prize was Budgie, a fresh look at budgeting apps where your daily budget goes up – based on what you didn’t spend the day before.

They also won a Best Use prize from us, because Budgie thought about cash accounts as well as bank accounts, by providing a simple SMS interface that allows you to track those transactions you can’t pull from a bank account or credit card.

And if your mobile device of choice isn’t necessarily all that ‘smart’, they made the entire budget accessible through the same ubiquitous SMS interface.

Bank Phoner

CapOne Hackathon Collab_1024Not a teller, but a ‘phoner’, BankPhoner aimed to demonstrate what a full integration between bank accounts and the mobile devices we carry in our pockets every day might look like.

They got our Creative Use prize for a great demo of what the concept of real-time notification for bank transactions would make possible. Using a Tessel microcontroller and an RFID card to simulate a credit card payment notification, they then checked the account’s transactions and triggered a call to the user’s phone number to verify that the transaction was not fraudulent. And in the same call, ask the user to categorize the transaction for accurate budgeting.


CapOne Hackathon Everyone_1024At first glance, Payphone may seem like just another app enabling transactions between individuals. But it’s far more than what Paypal did with email, Venmo with SMS and Twitter, and the similar things Square is doing with the Cash app. It isn’t about sending money, it’s about turning money into cash – or really, people into ATMs. The use case is really global – something we at Nexmo understand – where it can be difficult and costly to get cash in local currency.

Payphone allows users to become ‘bankers’ that other users locate as they travel anywhere in the world. Once the user provides the banker a transaction code, money is transferred into the banker’s account and the banker provides cash – in local currency – to the user.

Sending the transaction codes, claiming the codes, and locating bankers is all done through a simple SMS interface.

A big thanks to Capital One and Brand Garage for having us. You can find all the teams and projects on the Challenge Post site. And if you like hackathons and developer contests, take a look at the new Pick Your Prize contest we’re running right now.

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