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Tech insights: Programmable Banking Community: Lionel's Transactional Insights
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Programmable Banking Community: Lionel's Transactional Insights

04 November 2020, by Ben Blaine

Every week, we run a meetup for the Investec Programmable Banking community. Developers demo cool projects they’ve been working on and everyone has the chance to ask questions. If you’ve been wondering where programmable banking is at, here’s your sneak peek!

In this demo, Lionel Chetty shares how he used programmable banking to sync transactions to budget and categorise them using AI.

The tech he worked with includes PowerBI, Cloudflare and Azure Functions.

Click here to download Lionel’s presentation slide deck.

You can access the repos here:

Transcript of the demo

Lionel [00:03]

I’m Lionel Chetty, and I work at Wyobi. My transactional insights demo is a PowerBI report. It’s meant to be low code in the sense that a non-dev or end-user could use it and I have a categorisation feature to provide for data mining aspects into all the transactions that are on the bank account.

Lionel [00:34]

So the way that it works is PowerBI calls my Cloudflare worker, which is functioning as an API gateway in a sense, which will return a cached response, or it will forward the request on to my Azure Function that will forward the request on to Investec back-end to get the balance and transactions.

Lionel [01:00]

I have posted the link in the chat, but this is what the visual looks like for one of their bots.

Lionel [01:15]

If you’re looking at the demo, you probably wouldn’t see the QA aspect but what it allows you to do is talk to your data in a sense using a natural language process. So if you want to do fan-out transactions, it will allow you to create a query. The way that PowerBI works is scoped to the data context. So, in this data context in the last seven days, we also have other partners for this month or a total overview.

Lionel [02:06]

This is called a decomposition chart unique to PowerBI, which is one of the new features that they came up with where it allows you to break down your spending once you categorise it. I spend a lot of money online ordering stuff, but this allows me to see at a glance what I’m spending money on.

Lionel [02:37]

The nice thing is if you’re not into UI and stuff like that, this is taken care of for you, but there’s a mobile app, and it’s free, so you can play with it. You get all of this for free. You just need to give it the data. The important thing is that you need to label your data so that the UI or the BI works properly.

Lionel [03:13]

I’ve posted the links in Slack with some of the projects that I’ve done but the important one is the API from Investec. What I’ve built into the categorisation feature is it uses Wikipedia to try and gauge what the transaction is for. If it’s for Uber Eats, it will try and pull out that UberEats is online for food delivery.

Ben [03:50]


Lionel [03:52]

That was about it. If you need to, contact me on Slack. That’s my demo.

Ben [03:59]

Awesome. Thanks, Lionel. How long did it take you to put that all together?

Lionel [04:05]

I think that the API from Investec came out last week and then PowerBI is pretty fast. You don’t have to do what I did with the Azure Functions – you can just plug in your own credentials to the Investec API and you can start working in PowerBI.

Lionel [04:23]

The way that PowerBI works is based on a feature called Power Query, so it’s available also in Excel. If you don’t use PowerBI and all the features, you can just plug this into Excel and work directly with the API.

Ben [04:38]

Okay, cool. The demos are quite cool as you can actually click on the total amount and add categories and types. That’s a really interesting way of doing things.

Charl [04:52]

Howzit, Lionel, just a question. I love Cloudflare– what did you say you are using the workers for sorry?

Lionel [04:59]

I use the workers to cache the response, but I also use the key-value store, and I use Cloudflare as an API gateway for this aggregator job.

Charl [05:12]

So that your finances are just distributed around the world. It’s cool.

Ben [05:19]

Is this the first time you’re working with PowerBI or have you used it a lot before?

Lionel [05:25]

Quite a lot before, but the AI aspects are new, and again – I’m not a UI person and building dashboards is a bit hard once you try to go to a mobile responsive design.

Ben [05:48]

Are you using this with your current card, or actually using it for day-to-day purchases or are you still just playing around?

Lionel [05:57]

Day-to-day purchases, no – I’ll be honest, it is only online purchases. The reason I don’t swipe the Investec card is that I can’t remember the pin and I can’t set it up.

Ben [06:14]

Cool. Any other questions from the audience?

Audience member [06:25]

A tip to use your Investec card a bit more – I wrote the pin on the back.

Charl [06:35]

I think we have the functionality where you could change the pin. I think it was meant to go last year. I can’t remember. I’ll confirm it.

Audience member [06:43]

Could you send a screenshot to show the way it’s written or how you did it?

Ben [06:49]

Yeah, firstly, the next demo is how to store your pin on the back of your card, and the next hackathon will be about fraud detection. Okay, cool.

Ben [07:08]

Thanks, Lionel. It doesn’t look like anyone else has questions. But I mean, you’ll be on Slack if anyone’s got more questions to follow up with. It was really cool that you made the demo interactive so that I could actually use it while you were speaking. It’s cool to just click around.

Ben [07:25]

Do you have any plans for where you want to go from here?

Lionel [07:29]

PowerBI works best with more data than you give it so I could integrate maybe with UberEats API or Azure and have how that spending is broken up and I can get even more insight into the data.

Ben [07:46]

Okay, cool. Can you just run me through that thing, again, that you’re pulling from Wikipedia so where could I see that on the demo?

Lionel [08:01]

It’s the categorisation on the demo.

Ben [08:06]

Okay, cool. Were those categories actually generated, or did you create them?

Lionel [08:12]

Some of it is generated and some of it’s overwritten in a sense so Uber will be Uber trips or UberEats – you just decide on which one you want.

Ben [08:26]

Okay, awesome. Charl, did you have something you wanted to share?

Charl [08:31]

I don’t know if you can see it, but I found it, and I’ll post how to get there in the chat. The way you can change your pin.

Ben [08:42]

Awesome, sweet, okay. If you just send it to me, then I’ll put it in the Slack group as well.


Lionel Chetty is an integration developer who tries to get computers to do what he wants and not what he asks. He currently works on access control and security solutions at Wyobi Technologies.

Get involved in the Programmable Banking Community

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