Skip to content Skip to search

Lyk by Thomas Cook Money

Creating the award-winning UX strategy for their prepaid card

With financial technology evolving faster than ever, Thomas Cook Money was eager to build a modern, digital prepaid card for its customers, that set out to look after their holiday money as the top priority. We were approached to assist Thomas Cook Money with the digital transformation of their awesome new product: Lyk, a prepaid Mastercard© travel card. Cyber-Duck helped to lead the launch of Lyk – planning and developing its user experience strategy, marketing framework and website – all in less than three months. It resulted in a 45% increase in cards issued and won UX & Usability with The Drum's DADI Awards.

Awards won

  • The Drum DADI Awards - Winner for UX & Usability
  • The Drum DADI Awards - Nominated for Financial Services

Key stats


increase in cards issued


Lyk cards issued in total


UX & Usability, The Drum's DADI Awards

Thomas Cook Money Lyk website on mobile


In late 2017, Thomas Cook Money was established to build on the long heritage of financial services that Thomas Cook offered to customers for over 100 years. Thomas Cook Money wanted to look after holiday money all year round, not just for the 2-week holiday. So intuitive, digital-led products that put control back in the hands of holidaymakers were a top priority. 

Thomas Cook Money engaged Cyber-Duck to assist with the digital transformation of the legacy Cash Passport product. The outcome was Lyk, a mobile-led, prepaid Mastercard travel card. In less than three months, Cyber-Duck planned and developed its user experience strategy, marketing framework and reviewed the CRM and Content Management workflows. Our objectives were to:

  1. Develop a coherent UX strategy based on quantitative/qualitative product analysis
  2. Extract and develop the user-centred functionality for the card, website, app and wearables with Thomas Cook Money.
  3. Deliver customer-focused marketing framework and assets that reflected Lyk’s USPs.
  4. Increase Thomas Cook Money’s customer base by making handling multiple currencies simple and secure.

User-Centred Design

We conducted product analysis by researching key analyst reports of the prepaid card industry. We found easy use of less obvious features are what really matter to users, such as getting a pin reminder or freezing a card. We supplemented these insights with qualitative persona research to identify and segment the users, motivations and expectations when it comes to travel money and prepaid cards.

Through persona research, we identified and segmented four distinct audiences based on their attitude to holiday money. What we saw was that customers were largely unaware of how best to spend money abroad. This was crucial in defining the card and website’s features and interactions. This segmentation underpinned the future marketing framework and reinforced product design decisions for the card, app and website.

Based on this logic and working together with TCM and their core agencies, we agreed on the USPs, brand positioning and marketing campaign for Lyk, all based on a consistent, powerful message: ‘Happy Holiday Spending’.

Every aspect of the user journey and its touchpoints were considered. From the social promotion to the marketing website, the sign-up process to email notifications, we addressed how users interacted with every aspect of the product to deliver a centralised experience.




The website design, development and the marketing assets we produced were informed by our user interviews and user testing. This exercise established the user intent and developed need states, but it was through quantitative research afterwards that we validated our findings.

In this way, we steered the direction of Lyk to ensure it provided the user with exactly the kind of benefits they need. Likewise, we ensured that the marketing would work optimally with the personas we identified, and where Lyk’s future laid too.

For the technology, we constructed a headless content management system (CMS) that could share content across the web and mobile app from a central content repository via a secure API.

Meanwhile, the frontend of the website was built using React technology, a lightweight JavaScript library that's used to create reusable user-interface components. Using continuous integration and delivery pipelines to Amazon Web Services (AWS) – a secure cloud services platform from Amazon – we produced an exceptionally quick and very secure website.

Thomas Cook Money Lyk website on Macbook


Based on our UX framework, Thomas Cook Money took the technical innovation for Lyk one step further. They released the NFC-enabled Waveband, which was an easy, intuitive way to make contactless payments. It was the first wearable payment device in the UK prepaid travel card sector. 

The colourful, lightweight wristband linked directly to a Lyk Prepaid Mastercard. Payments were made simply by waving the band over a contactless terminal. All payments were tracked through the Lyk app and the splash-proof feature makes it holiday friendly. Wearables were a big trend for holiday spending because of the surge in contactless, convenient payments.


Award-winning results

Cyber-Duck delivered a robust, engaging user experience and marketing framework for Lyk in less than three months. It helped Thomas Cook Money put the needs of their customers at the heart of everything they did.

Lyk launched on the 20th of November 2017. Following this project, the amount of Lyk cards issued increased by 45% in comparison to Thomas Cook Money's last financial year. This was because the work helped to increase Lyk’s brand awareness and availability. Overall, 130,000 Lyk cards were issued and 1,200 new Waveband wearables purchased.

In 2019, the project won the UX & Usability category from The Drum's DADI Awards. This was a testament to the hard work of both of our teams; we were devastated to hear the news about Thomas Cook in September 2019. Our best wishes are with their staff and families.


Key stats


increase in cards issued


Lyk cards issued in total


UX & Usability, The Drum's DADI Awards


James Done, Travel Money Director at Thomas Cook Money

Right from the pitch, Cyber-Duck demonstrated great customer knowledge, innovative solutions to problems and won the trust of the Thomas Cook Money team. I have worked with many agencies in my career and everything that Cyber-Duck said they could deliver, was delivered.

Travel Money Director, Thomas Cook Money

Share your vision. Let's work together

Whatever the project or particular challenge you have in mind, we’re here with the right people, process and technology to help deliver the transformation you need.

Talk to us