Fintech and UX Design: Building your strategy around users

by Faustine Rohr-Lacoste | May 31, 2018

With customer needs and habits evolving so quickly, it’s often hard to pinpoint them. At the same time, fintech itself is in a constant state of flux and competition is fierce. These two factors make UX (User eXperience) a key issue in this sector.

Broadly speaking, the financial industry has had to adapt in recent years, with companies needing to reinvent themselves to keep up with digital transformation. Today we’re dealing with multi-channel, multi-tasking and multi-service (or product) customers looking not only to have their specific needs met but also for a digital experience. For fintech companies this represents a significant challenge: how to merge digital utility and user experience. 

Omni-digital is the new black

There’s no end to developments in fintech: simplified invoicing, online payments, crowdfunding in just a few clicks or even financial advice on your mobile. In this industry, UX development is geared towards the "omni-digital" customer, meaning a customer using several digital platforms. These users are all about interfaces and digital experience in general. Going paperless doesn’t scare them, in fact the number of formats they handle keeps climbing (mobile, app, website etc.) Fintech players are aware that, to some degree, traditional banks have fallen short in their digital transformation. They’re running into difficulty with combining security and ease of use in their services and products. Financial sector players certainly need to up their efforts to place or keep the customer at the heart of their business strategy.

To serve this omni-digital customer, it is vital to understand certain “rules” of conversion, loyalty and how to retain customers who are as agile as they are fickle! Why would your target customer opt for your solution over another? How can you make yourself stand out? And most importantly, how can you be persuasive in a sector where transparency and security aren’t always in step?

Create experiences with high added value through design

Despite traditional players being mostly digitised, users are still faced with a number of challenges: a lack of support, user experience friction, complicated navigation etc. Today’s customers have higher expectations than ever before and not just in terms of product or service quality. They also expect a smooth interface experience. Put like this, it almost sounds ironic. To stand out, companies have to adopt an innovative approach to attract customers and generate customer loyalty through personalised and appropriate UX. Keep in mind that bad user experience is the reason why 70% of online businesses fail.
Simplify, that’s the fintech credo. For example, accounting plays a vital role in any business but can quickly become complicated for accounting teams between deducting VAT, checking invoices, validating information, and exporting payments together with their corresponding receipts. Managing expense reports and processing accounting operations linked to card payments is complicated and time consuming.

For example, the "Payment Inbox" feature allows you to post payments: centralise all information, set up a validation process for new payments, and automate monthly or weekly payment file exportation. So many tasks are simplified by the smooth interface and by breaking tasks down into several steps. 

Tip: breaking tasks down into several steps allows you to reduce stress and simplify tasks.

Save time. Today, the less time a user spends completing a task, the more inclined they’ll be to adopt the service on offer. Fintech’s biggest challenge is to transform a complicated environment into straightforward services. That could mean, for example, by automating recurring tasks, providing a quick overview of complex data or by producing paperless expense reports, etc. 

Let’s take a very common example - everyone knows how tedious logging in can be. To get around this step, Spendesk has developed a feature that means you’ll never again need to log in to attach an invoice: you can just email it and it’ll be attached to your payment automatically! 

Tip: for recurring tasks or those carried out externally to the software, you can save precious minutes by facilitating use of the interface (and saving data) without needing to be logged in.

Get rid of sticking points. There may be small sticking points like logging in using an email address rather than a customer number but sometimes there are bigger issues. Imagine you only have one payment card for the entire company and you go to make an online purchase only to find that the card is already maxed out.

Spendesk provides a virtual, single use Mastercard to allow employees make one-off purchases. Just like a regular Mastercard, it allows you to pay for any expense as you would an online purchase - business expenses, hotel reservations, or supplier invoices.

Tip: To make things even easier, you can make the cut and paste feature accessible for important fields.

Customer experience must be designed (and optimised) down to the finest detail. Everything must be checked and justified in line with customer expectations. The interface is no longer just a pretty package!

Use UX to provide transparency and authenticity

The fintech sector is very complex and it’s unlikely the average user will be familiar with financial jargon. It’s vital that fintech solutions be up to the challenge of transmitting financial data through useful and visual information. Financial information is displayed in a simplified visual report that strengthens the platform’s UX by making data more accessible.

The purpose of UX is to reduce apprehension and get rid of interface sticking points to encourage the user to feel safe. But you must be careful to avoid having too many confirmation messages, pop-up validation, or creating obstacles through excessive reassurance measures. These are all factors that can hamper navigation and put customers on their guard. You need to find the right balance between interface simplicity and security. 

Fintech companies are built around consumers and their needs. By looking carefully at the interfaces of the market’s most popular solutions, you can discern the best practices in UX that make certain companies successful:

  • an interface in line with new user habits
  • an interface that puts simplicity and accessibility first
  • an interface that minimises sticking points for ongoing use

Spendesk solves a problem that companies face on a regular basis: the need to carry out and process payments. To do so, the startup came up with a solution that gives companies back control over their spending while also affording employees greater autonomy.



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