I feel extremely lucky to have spent my summer interning at Razorpay, one of the coolest startups in fintech sector in India. The time I spent there taught me a lot about upcoming technologies like UPI, everything that goes on behind all the online payments happening with just a few click and also about other problems in fintech that the team at Razorpay was trying to fix. Feeling more interested in payments and banking than ever, I started to do some digging on the state of offline and online banking.
With the revolution brought about by smart mobile devices and improving internet services, it may seem that banking activities like making online payments, checking bank balance etc would grow to become much more easier. In reality it isn’t quit so. It’s still hard to find a person who’s ever had a pleasent banking experience.
My time spent on internet reading about bank tech and going through a couple of banking apps tells me that the state of user experience in online banking is old and broken. The fact that I hardly see anyone around me using a bank application only asserted my thoughts. With problems like old and rotten User experience, incompetent tech and multiple apps listings lurking around, its hard for online banking to catch up and prevail.
Before taking an attempt on redesigning banking experience, I thought it was necessary to understand what problems end users face and what are the features they need the most.
I started out by looking for data for most used features or most common activities associated with mobile banking. I found the results of a survey conducted by TNS agency in 2014 which outlined various banking features and % of people who use them. The results were :
- Check account balance - 88%
- Pay bills and transfer money-58%
- Check transaction history-43%
- Branch and ATM map-41%
- Currency rates and calculator-15%
- Currency exchange-7%
- Contacts a bank-7%
After having a certain understanding about the pain and requirments of the users, it was time to come up with solution that addresses all the things mentioned above.
While I was still in conceptualization phase of this app, the government of India on November 8th 2016, demonetized certain denominations of Indian currencies to recover from the black money that was circulating in economy.
With cash shortage in the weeks that followed, all eyes shifted on online banking and fintech sector. This put all things in perspective for me on why an awesome banking app is needed.
Facile, to put simply is a payments and banking app that lets the user make payment to fellow user or merchant. Expenses and monthly bills can be settled via the app while keeping track of balances and other account info.
While going through various articles about Design principles for fin tech, I found following points useful and tried to stick to them throughout the process.
Tactical -Most people use fintech to carry out tasks that are frequent and cannot be ignored like filing tax returns, or paying bills. A great user experience however needs to also revolve around a design that provides strategic and life changing financial services, like savings and investments.
Communication -When it comes to money matters, most people want to speak to a live human being every now and then, or at least have that option open for them. Aside from providing high tech features, it’s important to have a channel of communication between users and people in charge of services.
Simple -It is important to ensure that the most frequently utilized tasks are visible and easily accessible. Easy navigation ensures an ease of use throughout the entire digital experience, plus it instills confidence to the end consumer when handling their finance.
Facle promises the user following set of features :
- Enter and exit app securely
- Make payments to fellow users and merchants.
- Request payment from fellow users.
- Check balance and other account details
- Keep track of spending across all accounts
- Settle payment requests and monthly bills (e.g rent, electricity bills)
- Know about stock prices, bitcoin, offers from banks etc.
The biggest problem that came about after demonetization was the lack of cash needed for everyday transactions. Looking at the situation at that time, this seemed like the most obvious feature to have.
Within the app, the user can choose to request a payment from fellow users or make a payment to others users including merchants.
Money can be transferred to a fellow app user or merchant with just 4 steps :
Enter facile Id or scanning the QR code > Enter the amount > Select a payment mode > Pay!
Payments can also be requested in facile app by :
Enter facile id > Enter amount > Say something about the expense and attach a doc(e.g invoice). But this step is completely optional > Send!
Going back to the study conducted by TNS agency, checking account balance and transaction history were 2two of top three most common activity associated with online banking which to me meant that required information should be available quickly (2-3 taps in facile) and in a simple manner.
Desired info regarding linked bank accounts or cards can be seen with just a single tap.
New bank accounts and cards can be linked easily in this section itself.
Other actions possible around cards are ‘set as primary’, ‘delete’ and ‘edit’.
Bill payment via online banking was the second most popular scenario and thus had to be addressed in detail.
Payment requests from merchants and fellow users shows up in this section in a list and with just a single touch, the settlement process can be initiated. Imagine expenses coming from various merchants like Spliwise, apple music, monthly rent etc at one place and settling them with just a few taps. No queuing up for cash at ATM’s.
Incoming bills can be settled just within a few taps. Click on the blue button, select a payment mode, make the payment and voila!
Have questions/doubts about an expense? Need to talk to the person requesting about the same? Just reach out to the user requesting the payment via inbuilt messaging.
This section contains information associated with your activities around other users
For example payment requests sent to others show up in this section in tabs as settled and unsetted.
Overall transaction history sorted in chronological order also shows up here as it was one of the widely requested feature in a banking app.
One important guideline I followed while designing this app was providing a communication channel between the user and the service provider. Help feature in the profile section is in essence with this principle. The user can interact with support staff from banks, merchants and other involved entities in case of questions, discrepancies or doubt. Nothing can replace the magic of human touch after all.
I wanted to keep this section as customizable and open to user needs as possible. Basic notifications and offers from banks and various merchants can appear in this section.
People who are interested in stocks or cryptocurrency can customize this section according to their needs (as illustrated above). This section can also have some quick utilities like ATM or bank locator, currency converters etc.
This project was initialy done in November of 2016, and since then a lot of innivaton has been going on in the payments sector. Constant efforts Government of India, Google and numerous other startups working tirelessly makes me really optimistic about what future holds when it comes to payment sector in India.