The fintech market is developing and digitalizing rapidly in all aspects. In the realities of this market, the proper mobile app plays a key role in how banks interact with their customers. Today, everything can be done online, using smartphones, online operations became accessible and understandable almost as publishing a tweet. And if your banking application doesn’t meet the market requirements, it will be too difficult to stay on it.
In order to make a quality product, it is necessary not only to satisfy the basic user’s needs but also to anticipate his needs in the future. Therefore, it is especially necessary for the banking market to foresee all the scenarios that may occur.
A good banking app not only facilitates account and payment management but also teaches financial literacy: how to save money properly and manage savings, how to invest money, and make them always work. In this article, we will describe recommendations for designing a fintech application based on real case studies and the experience of our team.
SEARCH FOR OPPORTUNITIES: CHOOSE THE FINTECH MARKET AREA AND STUDY COMPETITORS
This market has several areas:
- Online banking
- Savings (deposits)
- Investing (crowdfunding)
Apps can be created separately for each area, covering focused user tasks. But apps that can manage all of these areas are an absolute catch. Here are some examples of well-known applications that illustrate the market situation. There are many successful market players among online banking apps:
There are fewer of them in the investment sector, but still, they can serve as examples:
Several interesting applications for managing savings:
USE DESIGN THINKING WORKFLOW: DO USER RESEARCH AND GENERATE IDEAS
Designing any mobile application begins with a problem – why is it necessary, for whom, what tasks does it help to solve? A banking app should solve many problems in personal finance management. What it could be, according to research by Statista:
- Need to frequently make financial transactions offline
- Inability to track the dynamics of your income and spending
- Lack of understanding what is the expenditure of funds for each life area
- Savings are not working, they are just stored on accounts
- Fear of investing
- Financial illiteracy, etc.
But it is important not only to study ready-made statistical reports but also to make your own mini-research. Interview your users, find out what exactly they need. Ask a few people from the representative audience to answer a few questions. It is better to ask about their last experience on what they actually do when they get a salary:
- How do they spend it and what do they buy?
- When do they spend money?
- How much money do they spend (basic transaction)?
- Do they have a budget?
- How do they manage it?
For those who manage their budget, ask what tools and services they use for doing this. Some tools that people use besides banking apps are:
- Other mobile apps where you can take notes and keep minimal records
- Excel tables
- Notepads and diaries
- Envelopes (for separating cash)
After conducting the survey, define the main pain points that you will work with.
Based on the research done, then create personas – the client portraits. It is still a good practice for designing a product. Actually, when you have them it’s like you have all the needed information such as needs and goals in one place.
At this phase, it’s important to get as many ideas as possible and define the most that resonate with your personas’ pain points and goals. As we defined that people don’t know much about how to manage their budget, the idea of the app can be raising the user financial knowledge with such tools as:
- Accounting and control of funds
- Organization of savings
- Investment organization (advanced level)
DESIGN: CREATE USER SCENARIOS, INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE, AND NAVIGATION
User scenarios (user-flow)
User scenarios describe various situations that the user can face, how he behaves, and how the system responds. At this stage, you need to define and design the user flow starting with creating an account finishing with covering his goal and things that actually make him use the app. Our goal is to create a habit for users.
This is the most important part of designing the app. Depending on your decision how the pieces of information would be ordered and how users will navigate between them can make the product problem-solving or a total disaster.
Usually, we use the flowchart diagram for creating the information architecture and it doesn’t matter which tool you will choose, just don’t forget about the next steps:
- Make the taxonomy of the information parts
- Create a hierarchy and define what part is the most important both for the user and the business
- Create the flowchart diagram considering user behavior and the information hierarchy from the previous step
Nowadays, there are several design methodologies, but we estimate a combination of UCD (user-centered design) and design thinking to be the best.
Then we should define the navigation pattern. As banking apps have a very complicated information architecture it is hard to define how consumers will switch between the information pieces. There are few types of navigation and in banking apps, we can use several at once, because each information part will have a separate flow.
BANKING APP SCREENS: FUNCTIONALITY AND DESIGN
Here we come to the most interesting part of the work. An application for the fintech market can contain a lot of screens due to the variety of user scenarios and functionality. You can’t design a banking app without the next parts:
- Security and data protection
- Presence of a virtual bank card (account)
- All kinds of actions with this card: from replenishing to blocking
- The ability to pay for your purchases (all kinds of payments)
- View your transactions
- Transferring funds from one account to another
But why should users choose your app from dozens of others? Let’s take a look at what might grab their attention and add value:
- Deposit with a higher interest rate than in other banks (more favorable conditions in general)
- Additional features:
– Financial planning
– Bonuses and cashback
– Social part (the ability to send something to a friend)
– Joint account (one card for the whole family)
– Sharing your account
– Currency withdrawals abroad (great for travelers)
– Bill splitting
- Personal and business accounts
- Savings management
Now you know what is nice to have in application development and what features you can enhance it with. And what about specific screens? What can a good banking app contain?
Most applications start with user registration. And here we are facing with the particular qualities of fintech. Account security requirements in the banking system are quite serious because users entrust their bank accounts with your application. Therefore, it is very important to avoid any possibility of hacks. For this purpose, it is great to use two-factor verification with a mandatory process for banking products – KYC (know your customer).
- Create a user in the system. Using the phone number, you need to make sure that the user is real, and also link the number to a new account. The phone number must not only exist, but it must also correspond to the country for which the application is intended.
- Adding security. This can be setting a password, a pin code, as an addition, you can use questions for verification.
- Verify the user. Registration in the banking app must be accompanied by a KYC process. The choice of the KYC service that you need to integrate with the product depends on the requirements of the country where the product will be used.
- KYC allows you to verify identity using the following steps:
- Entering personal information (name, surname, date of birth and address)
- Photo of documents (ID, passport, driving license)
- Video (the user may be asked to say a specific phrase in the video)
- Setting a security question
- Verification process (it can take from several minutes to several days)
Onboarding in a banking app is well explained in the CleverTap article.
After the account is created and the user is verified, banks usually send to the user a real bank card to the specified address. This is also an important part of the user experience process.
The user should be able to change various card settings, namely:
- Change a pin code
- Block the card
- Freeze it if necessary
- Change privacy settings
You also need to think over the functionality for other, more everyday actions with the card: replenishment, payments, and transactions.
Transactions and payments
It would be correct to provide different transaction categories, which will help the user to understand his spending, and also simplify his flow. It is necessary to provide the display of the balance and transaction amounts for a particular period. Also, a nice solution would be the division of costs by areas. This will help to manage the balance more efficiently and accustom the user to the analysis of their spending, and therefore, to financial literacy. What payment types can be added:
- Bank transfer
- International payments
- Scheduled payments
- Payment for another person in the app
- Request payment
Tracking a budget
In order to correctly implement a budget planning and management system in the app, you need to provide data tracking according to the following criteria:
- Monthly income (or another period)
- Regular spending (iterate)
- Petty cash for a period
Working with these reports, the user can plan his budget more easily, allocate funds for accumulation and investment.
After putting things in order in his personal finances, the user easily makes the necessary transactions and operations on his account, he may be interested in moving on to the next step – savings and, possibly, investment. The last step is subject to separate functionality and a separate topic for the article. But savings are an important stage in the user flow, which makes the user your regular and loyal customer.
All the stages of designing a fintech app described in this article are important, and in most cases, they can be found in every product of this market. Study the pains and needs of your audience, write down the perfect flow for them, create a pleasant user interface (which trends to look out for, we have specified in our recent articles on UI/UX and animation), and motivate the user to use the app with gamification and unique features. Such a thoughtful and comfortable application will definitely appeal to customers and will greatly help your business. To always stay in trend, follow the market news, for example, check Fintech Demand.
Never forget that you are building the application for real people. It is so easy to create a complicated app, but it is too hard to create a simple one!
The article was written in collaboration with Anna Sorokina, a product designer and our nice friend.