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Empower Retirement

A Market Leading Mobile Experience

Empower partnered with Cantina to architect, launch, and accelerate development for the company’s retirement participant Android application.

Empower Android App Background


When Empower Retirement, the second-largest 401K provider in the U.S., needed to build an Android version of the mobile experience, Cantina, a long-trusted partner for Empower, was there to help make the app a reality.

Several years ago, Cantina helped launch Empower’s successful iOS app. Empower saw an opportunity to create an equally-compelling experience for Android users who comprise 54% of the U.S. mobile market. Empower’s focus was to address customer demand and promote further client conversion.

New Design

Building a powerful experience

Working together with Empower, Cantina developed and co-designed the Android application—built using a programming language called React Native. This open-source framework can be an efficient way to create mobile apps for Android and iOS platforms simultaneously by only having to code once.

Our decision to use React Native served as a foundation for Android and iOS functionality—containing both key functional elements of the Empower desktop and iOS experiences while also introducing new, innovative, native mobile enhancements. Cantina’s team was embedded into the Empower ecosystem - a close partnership that accelerated development, release goals, and coaching for the client’s developers on User Interface, User Experience, and Technical Architecture best practices.

Cantina built and shipped accessibility features that let participants manage their portfolio from anywhere:

  • View/edit your contributions and investments
  • View your detailed transaction history
  • Manage your beneficiaries
  • Enroll in a new plan
  • Set your communication preferences (i.e. eDelivery) and upload documents
  • Manage loans, statements & withdrawals
  • Interact with My Total Retirement (managed accounts)
  • Allow participants to toggle between plans with One ID
Empower Android App Screens

Digital Transformation

Forging a Path to a Mobile-first Culture

Cantina’s embedded-team model is a critical differentiator in our role as a strategic partner: it allows us to be successful working within clients’ processes and systems while expediting delivery.

With Empower, we've consistently taken a consultative approach by advising on evolving mobile trends and the impact on the delivery team, pushing to align with best development practices, and continually promoting mobile-first thinking. We participated directly in Empower’s agile ceremonies and sprint and release cycles, seamlessly working as one team to achieve Empower's business goals.

After our team helped launch the first Android app, we continued to provide quality improvements to the mobile product at an accelerated pace. We improved the user experience by building support for biometric authentication and access to multiple accounts under one ID. The team also made the menus and app navigation experience more accessible for users with screen readers.

With Cantina, Putnam and Empower have created some of the most differentiated, elegant, innovative user experiences in the industry.

Delivery Excellence

Arriving Ahead of Schedule

One of the biggest questions asked when developing a mobile app is, “How long is it going to take?”.

By adhering to a well-established product development process, as well as setting high standards for code quality, architecture implementation, and testing, the team was able to deliver the anticipated Android functionality approximately 6 months ahead of Empower’s original timeline. In addition, by working with Cantina, Empower gained:

  1. Competitive capabilities within the financial services industry
  2. Improved code standards and processes
  3. Training and support to instill best practices for mobile development, testing, and accessibility
  4. Quality improvements to the product in an accelerated time frame
  5. 48 knowledge-transfer code walkthrough videos and heavily documented practices for future reference


Great Collaboration Yields Better Results

In the short time since the release of the Android app, its value for customers is demonstrated by remarkable ratings and adoption statistics:

4.0 +

The App rating on the Google Play Store tripled

80 K

The number of active users quadrupled


If you are interested in learning more about this engagement or how Cantina can help you with a project contact us today. We'd love to help.

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