Case Study

Current: Banking underserved consumers with digital financial services

current logo
Financial Services and Insurance
Compute, Data Analytics, Google Cloud, Kubernetes
North America, USA
United States

Meet Current

Current uses Google Cloud solutions with the help of partner DoiT International to deliver best-in-class experiences to people who traditionally have been overlooked by banks.

Current is a leading U.S. challenger bank serving Americans overlooked by the traditional banking industry. The company has a mission to improve financial outcomes and proprietary banking technology that provides customers faster and better access to their money, including early direct deposits, free overdraft and points for cash back without any hidden fees or minimum balance requirements.

The challenge

Unbanked and underbanked people can lose a lot of their income to fees each year. A 2020 report from the FDIC revealed that more than seven million households in the U.S. are unbanked due to insufficient funds to cover minimum balance requirements and other issues. However, modern digital technologies are increasingly viewed as a way to bring critical banking services to everyone who needs them.

“When we founded Current, our goal was to bring people into what we saw as Finance 2.0 – the future of the way people interact with money,” says Trevor Marshall, Chief Technology Officer at Current. “We saw that this goal aligned with a broader effort to serve traditionally unbanked and underbanked people.”

Current has experienced exponential growth with an increased demand for digital-first, intuitive and transparent banking experiences. The company works to improve financial outcomes for its’ members utilizing its proprietary banking technology, which provides industry-leading cost efficiencies that allow them to provide premium banking services for everyone, regardless of age or income. Current also provides a technology layer that ultimately allows it to better serve existing and new communities of consumers.

As Current began to scale its services and systems, it decided to migrate its production environments on Google Cloud and with the help of partner DoiT International.

The solution

Finding an expandable, cost-effective IT environment

Before standardizing on Google Cloud, Current started building its services and products on a different cloud provider’s infrastructure and platform, but quickly recognized that it would benefit from a more agile, cost-effective toolset. While the decision to migrate was at first financially driven, the company quickly began seeing more benefits from its move to Google Cloud.

“Immediately after transitioning to Google Cloud, we started seeing incredible improvements on inter-server networking,” says Trevor. “The low latency and unique way Google Cloud configured VPC was vastly superior to what we saw on our previous cloud infrastructure.”

After seeing these improvements, Current began to build all of its core and API services on a Kubernetes stack—and again immediately recognized the advantages of doing so on Google Cloud. “Google Kubernetes Engine is by far the best way to host Kubernetes in production,” says Trevor.

Over the course of two years, Current scaled up its IT along with its extreme growth in its customer base. Data analytics was a particular focus as the company began to create and use higher volumes of information. Given the positive experience with Google Kubernetes Engine, Current adopted other Google Cloud solutions such as Pub/Sub, Dataflow, and BigQuery to gain even more control over data.

Given the sensitivity of the financial information it manages, Current also relies on Google Cloud infrastructure compliance related to physical hardware and software-defined security of VPC. This is especially advantageous when compliance audits occur, effectively streamlining Current’s management of reporting and other regulatory requirements.

Between 2019 and 2020, Current’s user base went up 500 percent, and it now has more than 2 million members with its financial services offerings. Current was also looking for a partner that could maintain cost-efficiencies as it continued to grow and scale its business.

Partnering for greater financial, operational benefits

Toward the end of 2019, Current chose to begin working with Google Cloud Managed Service Provider DoiT International, particularly for cost optimization. After an initial analysis of use, costs, and needs, DoiT was able to save Current roughly 70 percent on its compute costs. This helped the company scale further without requiring big increases in budgets.

On top of the forecasting and spend optimization, Current also uses DoiT’s anomaly detection service to avoid anomalous costs associated with Google Cloud use. With DoiT’s anomaly detection in place, the company receives instant pings when any unusual consumption occurs.

“DoiT has stepped up and provided tier-one support as we grow, which was not necessarily easy to come by especially when we were a smaller company,” says Trevor. “DoiT clearly invests in service quality to ensure that as we scale, costs don’t skyrocket and we maintain access to the same white-glove support we need to succeed.”

DoiT’s proprietary tooling has enabled Current to save tens of thousands of dollars on cloud costs, as well as hundreds of thousands of dollars over several years thanks to committed-use discounts. Current takes advantage of DoiT’s Cloud Management Platform to ensure all of its services and features built on Google Cloud run efficiently and reliably.

DoiT’s experience and expertise are equally valuable from a support perspective, leveraging the partner as a first line of defense when technical issues arise. Targeted guidance allows Current to quickly understand where logjams occur and why, as well as what needs to be done to get past problems.

“The support infrastructure that DoiT has built is first class, especially compared to other vendors I’ve worked with throughout my career,” says Trevor.

Democratizing financial health

Being a digital-native company, Current has leveraged access to features such as G Cloud commands that allow for better visibility and more seamless self-service. Thanks to the combination of digital-native-friendly technologies and DoiT support, Current continues to expand its Google Cloud footprint with an increased focus on data analytics solutions like Cloud Pub/Sub and Dataflow.

This enables Current to innovate in ways that increase customer benefits, while maintaining flexibility and accelerate time-to-market to adjust to frequently changing market demands.

“We want to be clear and transparent with our customers, which demands a lot of speed and visibility,” says Trevor. “With the help of DoiT and Google Cloud, we are achieving these goals and expanding so we can improve the financial outcomes of even more Americans.”

Products Used

The result

  • Seamlessly scales 500% to serve 2 million users
  • Maintains consistent costs amid rapid growth using DoiT Cloud Management Platform
  • Creates agile serverless infrastructure to support continuous feature development
  • Serves digitally native company with intuitive and dynamic solutions
  • Augments internal engineering work with white-glove support

Trevor Marshall, Chief Technology Officer, Current
“Immediately after the transition to Google Cloud, we started seeing incredible improvements on inter-server networking.

DoiT clearly invests in service quality to ensure that as we scale, costs don’t skyrocket and we maintain access to the same white-glove support we need to succeed.

The support infrastructure that DoiT has built is first class, especially compared to other vendors I’ve worked with throughout my career.”

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