Rewriting a consumer FinTech app to serve an influx of customers as the business scales

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Rewrite an existing Rails app to remedy gaps and serve an influx of customers as the business grows.

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Web Development, Ruby on Rails,  jQuery, Bootstrap, Stimulus, Hotwire

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Rebuilt the app while integrating multiple third-party technologies and upskilling the Neon team to nurture and grow the app moving forward.

Image of the Neon product screenshots

2 versions of the Neon welcome page viewed on tablets, on a pink and purple abstract background

Our client

Saving time and money with a buy now, pay later service

The founders of Neon For Life set out to help people save time and money in managing their recurring household bills with Buy Now, Pay Later support. Their service delivers a “set-it and forget-it” experience for bill payments by consolidating all bills on a central dashboard, providing an interest-free credit line to cover bills, automating bill payments, and enabling users to make payments back in smaller installments. As an added benefit, users are provided tools to find the best savings on recurring bills and a tracker that helps them visualize those bills and savings over time. 

Quote about the Neon project

We were looking for Ruby-on-Rails experts to help us build a solid foundation that we could use to scale our product and take it to tens of thousands of customers. thoughtbot’s name kept showing up in our research. When one of our early mentors recommended engaging thoughtbot for periodic code reviews, we realized they would also be the best people to work with to build advanced product features and add critical test coverage. The benefit was quickly evident to us in re-building a leaner and more capable codebase.

Aveedibya Dey & Megha Agarwal
Co-Founder & CTO; Co-Founder & CEO, Neon


As their business evolved, Neon wanted to upgrade their existing app to keep pace with growth

The Neon founding team wrote the first version of their backend, a Rails application. As their product and business evolved, it became apparent some shortcomings were holding them back from scaling successfully. As a waitlist of interested customers grew, they looked to bring on a development partner to support them in getting their product in better shape. 

From a development perspective, the team had a few goals for improving their existing Rails app: add improved testing coverage, clean up existing code, remove redundancies, upgrade their Rails instance, and improve security considerations to align with FinTech standards.

After some preliminary calls with thoughtbot, the Neon team decided to move ahead feeling confident in thoughtbot’s experience in Ruby on Rails, ground-up agile development, security standards, and overall expertise in FinTech solutions. 


Coming to a decision on rebuild versus update

An early decision needed to be made on either rewriting the application completely or updating the current codebase. After completing a review, and facilitating conversations as a team, it was determined that the same amount, if not more effort, would go into updating the existing codebase, and a rebuild would result in a cleaner foundation allowing high-quality tests, and security standards to be considered and implemented as each feature was brought to life. 

As thoughtbot’s work got underway another important aspect of guaranteeing a robust, and scalable application, was working together to finalize security practices and the requirements for the financial underwriting service. With our final approach, and standards in place, thoughtbot moved forward with ongoing, agile iterations. thoughtbot paired closely with the in-house development team to understand dependencies, requirements, and integrations. This also ensured steady knowledge transfer as work was completed.

Screenshots from the Neon app

Screenshots of the Neon application process viewed on two tablet screens, on a background of abstract pink and purple


Improved practices at Neon alongside a new Rails app with many functional integrations

thoughtbot’s approach to test-driven development, and strong documentation was welcomed at Neon. These additions to the day-to-day development work left a lasting change in Neon’s overall product best practices.

In addition to building a new Rails app, thoughtbot helped Neon build capabilities to modularly plug-in multiple payment APIs to process ACH payments. Neon was able to add other integrations with enhanced functionalities in their backend codebase, which included email and text communication, banking-as-a-service, credit bureau, card-issuing-service, identity verification service, and underwriting service API integrations. 

Neon’s in-house team incorporated advanced Rails practices through collaborative team mentorship and was exposed to thoughtbot’s approach and best practices for testing, deployment, integrations, and structuring net-new Rails applications.

You can visit and take advantage of Neon's bill paying service here.

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