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    UX for fintech: How to enhance the customer journey

    With the rise of mobile banking, neobanks, electronic trading platforms, cryptocurrency, and a wide range of other innovative fintech solutions, the financial services industry is becoming more digitized every day.

    With the rise of mobile banking, neobanks, electronic trading platforms, cryptocurrency, and a wide range of other innovative fintech solutions, the financial services industry is digitizing rapidly. In fact, 48% of financial institutions —from banks, to mortgage brokers, to investment advisors—have already implemented fintech solutions into their long-term business strategy.
    In a world where you can purchase almost anything online and have it delivered to your door in less than 24 hours, consumers expect businesses—whether it’s their grocery store, healthcare provider, or bank—to provide seamless and engaging online customer experiences.
    When a website or mobile app is difficult to navigate, users won’t think twice before bouncing to another service. And consumer expectations around the performance and capabilities of online services are constantly changing. Therefore, gaining a competitive edge as a fintech company means building, maintaining, and continuously optimizing a human-centric, data-driven user experience (UX).
    However, unlike businesses in industries like fashion and tourism, fintech providers have to factor in a stricter set of government rules and regulations—such as the Federal Trade Commission Act (FCA), Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) laws—when mapping out their customer experience and launching new digital products.
    By following key fintech product design best practices, you can enhance your customer experience while also maintaining industry compliance, helping to meet goals for metrics and KPIs like free trial conversion, task completion, time on task, feature adoption, churn, and user retention rate.
    So if your financial service is looking to launch a new online platform, or optimize its current one, here are eight objectives to prioritize throughout the fintech UX design process:

    Deliver a self-service experience

    Whether they’re making a bank deposit, applying for a loan, investing in stocks, or sending cash to a friend, today’s consumers expect the ability to quickly and easily complete tasks via their desktop or mobile device—without the help of a service representative.
    Not only does this encourage stronger customer engagement and conversions, but it also helps financial institutions save time and money.
    With your fintech app doing most of the customer-facing work, you can streamline back-office operations, and invest fewer resources into onboarding and training new employees. This opens you and your team up to focus on growing the business, developing new products, and finding new ways to optimize the customer experience.

    Design a smooth, trustworthy user interface (UI)

    Venmo, Cash App, and other mobile payment solutions have taught us that solid UI design goes a long way. If these apps were slow, clunky, and difficult to navigate, there wouldn’t be millions of people using them to send and receive money every day.
    Users need to feel secure when engaging with a fintech app, especially since it requires them to provide sensitive information like bank account numbers, credit card details, and so on. This all starts with designing a smooth, aesthetically-pleasing interface, where users can effortlessly complete tasks in a minimal number of clicks.
    However, it’s important to note that—specifically in the fintech space—certain steps of the customer journey should come with a little friction. For instance, if a customer is getting ready to transfer a large sum of money, there should be a page or popup screen that confirms this action before it goes through, so the user has one last chance to make sure everything is correct. Knowing when and where to add this type of friction to avoid user error is essential when designing UIs for fintech applications.

    Ensure a high level of transparency

    In addition to knowing that their data is secure, customers must be able to understand the business’ policies and processes, as well as any complicated terms and concepts—which the fintech industry has no shortage of. Compound interest, FICO scores, capital gains, asset allocation, rebalancing, net worth, and other financial jargon can leave users feeling confused, which can then deter them from moving forward in the customer journey.
    There are several ways to improve transparency on your site or app through UX design. The most obvious way is to avoid lengthy web copy with complex phrases and acronyms. Keep descriptions short and present relatable examples whenever possible. When this is not an option, tooltips can be a useful solution. This involves the user hovering their mouse over an icon, image, or text, then a brief message popping up to provide further information around it.

    Invest in personalization

    Businesses across all industries are embracing personalization to deliver more impactful customer experiences—and the fintech space is no exception.
    Personalization starts with collecting data around your customers from internal and external sources. This can include basic information, like age, gender, and geographical location, as well as more granular information, such as transaction history, recently viewed pages, and so on.
    With sophisticated, properly integrated personalization tools, all of this data can be used to deliver content that’s tailored to individual customers. And as a result, customers receive the information they want, when they want it—leading to stronger user engagement and higher conversions overall.

    Optimize for mobile

    It’s no surprise that more people in today’s world use mobile apps for banking, budgeting, trading, and other financial services, as opposed to the traditional channels. The ease of doing it all on your smartphone or tablet cannot be denied.
    Now, challenger banks such as Monzo, Revolut, and Starling—which operate entirely through mobile—are reinventing the way consumers and organizations think about banking. And the top financial institutions in the world, like Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and Chase, are investing more and more into the mobile customer experience to remain competitive.
    The point here is simple: Whatever your fintech app is, it must be designed, developed, and maintained to fit all screen sizes and devices.

    Make data visualization customizable

    Rather than boring, static tables, today’s users want the flexibility of presenting financial data in various formats on their dashboard—whether it be a traditional table, pie chart, bar graph, line chart, or box plot. Users should also be able to configure these visualizations with ease by selecting specific categories, filtering out others, applying date ranges, and so on.
    Customizable data visualization helps users understand and extract insights from massive amounts of data by making it more digestible, resulting in smarter reporting, improved workflows, and better financial outcomes.

    Implement AI capabilities

    The rise of AI is quickly and dramatically transforming the financial industry. Experts predict that before the end of this decade, AI will power 95% of customer interactions , and most users will actually prefer interacting with bots instead of humans.
    Individuals and businesses are starting to lean on bots for customer service, cybersecurity measures, record keeping, compliance management, and even investment strategies. With AI-powered chatbots for example, businesses can provide their customers with 24/7 support, while simultaneously taking pressure off their customer service team.
    AI plays a critical role in personalizing the user journey. With access to historical and real-time user data, as well as public data from hundreds of sources, bots can recommend specific actions, such as buying or selling stock, updating documentation to keep up with regulations, and investigating suspicious activity to avoid fraud.
    It should be noted that in order to implement advanced AI capabilities, your business needs centralized, well-structured data—as opposed to scattered data siloed across disparate systems. Achieving a high level of data readiness only gets more complicated as your business grows, bringing on more and more products, customers, and technologies—so it’s important to start developing a data strategy with the right tools and integrations as early as possible.

    Consider gamification

    Financial activities like depositing money, reviewing transaction history, evaluating investment opportunities, and applying for a mortgage are often considered boring and stressful—at least by a significant portion of the population. Gamification —a fast-growing trend in the fintech space—offers an elegant solution to this problem.
    By making the user experience feel more like playing a game, you can keep customers more engaged and motivated. Common examples of gamification in fintech UX design include completing challenges, breaking records, collecting points or in-app currency, and receiving badges and stickers.

    Test, test, test

    Continuous testing plays a key role in any fintech UX design strategy. Whether you’re updating user navigation to reduce friction, adjusting content to increase transparency, adding customizable dashboards, or personalizing the experience with data and AI, you should have a QA team ready to run routine tests to ensure everything works properly. Better to spot bugs and errors internally before the end user does.
    It’s also important to engage in frequent A/B testing, where you track the performance of two versions of the same feature, then move forward with the one that produces the best results. Inevitably, your business’ goals and customer expectations will change over time, and your fintech product should follow suit. You need a solid set of tools and workflows for testing new features and updates to ensure that your UX design strategy remains on the right track.

    Team up with Codal to enhance your fintech user experience

    When it comes to fintech UX design, knowing the best practices is one thing, but knowing how to apply those principles as effectively as possible for your website or app is a whole different animal. That’s why it’s imperative to partner with a team of professional UX designers and developers who understand the fintech space—with all of its regulations, trends, and emerging technologies.
    Here at Codal, our award-winning team has over a decade of experience building, launching, and maintaining online customer experiences for businesses in the financial sector. We know how to create advanced fintech products, while also ensuring that the client is safeguarding their data and maintaining industry compliance.
    By leveraging in-depth market research, customer data, and cutting-edge tools, we plan and execute UX design strategies that enable financial institutions to not only compete, but flourish in the digital space.
    For example, we designed, developed, tested, and launched a cutting-edge internal compliance platform for Charles Schwab —a multinational financial services company that offers banking, investment, and wealth management services to both retail and institutional clients. To learn more about this project, check out the full case study here.
    Interested in learning more about Codal’s UX design and development capabilities in the fintech space? Reach out to a member of our team today!

    Written by Gibson Toombs