Power to the people: How fintech is making money more accessible

Author

Duncan Bell
  • design
  • Fintech
  • Mortgages
  • Digital Banking

The last 10 years have seen massive changes in the world of finance. 

The old stalwarts of the banking industry are being challenged by clever startups and shiny cards.

Tech is giving people greater autonomy over their finances and potentially greater access to wealth.

Yeah, there is a lot of noise out there on everything from buying crypto to meme stocks.

But behind all that, are these new fintech platforms actually providing a better option for the average user?

Is it actually changing the game for ordinary people and what role, if any, does financial UX design have to play in all of that? 

The truth is well designed apps and websites do have the power to change people’s relationship with money in ways that weren’t possible before. 

Here’s how.

Making money clearer

For many people, money is complicated.

They understand what traditional banks are there for but the finer details of investing, mortgages, wealth management and more seem to have been missing from the school curriculum.

Despite this, a growing number of Millennials and Gen Z’ers (we think that’s the correct term…) want to make their money go further and take advantage of the opportunities that are out there.

A lot of fintech startups are catering to this audience and one of the things that sets them apart is an accessible user experience and relatable brand.

 

Confused woman

A lot of people's reaction when entering the world of finance.

Fewer words, bigger impact

Part of good UX is having the right words in the right places.

Clear and concise microcopy is as important as good app and website design. When it concerns something like the user’s money, it’s doubly important.

As a user navigates through an app or website, they want to know what is going to happen when they click on a certain button and whether they can find the information they need.

The average internet user isn’t going to spend long on a page and will scan over the copy to find what they’re looking for.

When they’re making decisions about their money, the key bits of information need to be communicated through headlines, subheadings and buttons.

 

No jargon here

Keeping money complex has benefited financial lenders, stockbrokers and bankers in the past.

If people are unable to manage their own money then they have to pay for a service that takes care of all the complexities.

Digital banking and fintech have changed that relationship and there are now plenty of platforms who explain clearly and simply what is available and make it easier to understand.

By using every day, relatable language in their website and app design, fintech startups are attracting a wider range of people who might previously have felt shut out by legacy institutions.

 

Making money accessible

The design of these platforms and how their products and services are displayed also has a big impact on how successful they are.

Design isn’t only the superficial appearance of your app or website. It’s about guiding the user where you want them to go and making it easy for them to make the decisions you want them to make.

This is particularly important on the services page. More and more businesses are following the example set by SaaS companies who present their services in easy-to-follow tiered payment plans.

These offer different levels of service for varying budgets and will usually have a free or ‘lite’ option. Indeed, many of the major fintech companies such as Monzo or Revolut provide free access to the essentials, with the option to pay for access to more in-depth features.

At the simplest level these service pages will often have a ‘good, better, best’ layout with the ‘better’ option highlighted to draw your attention to it. This pricing strategy is nothing new. But the way it’s presented on these digital products has a measurable impact on how successful it is for those companies.  Getting people to opt for more than just the free option is down to how the value of each price plan is presented.  

Monzo current account comparison

Monzo's current account comparison page.

Fractional shares, levels of risk and more

For investment and trading platforms, that tier system might be best used for different levels of risk.

Investing in funds comes with a level of risk which can increase or decrease depending on what is being invested in. If customers aren’t informed about this it could end up landing them in a spot of bother.

A well-designed website would present these levels of risk in a way that is clear but not intimidating. It’s important to clearly lay out the level of risk customers are taking on without scaring them off.

The ability to purchase fractional shares is also a big selling point for these companies as it opens up investing to a much wider range of people who don’t necessarily have loads to invest and don’t want to take on as much risk.

 

Making money cooler

What else separates these fintech and banking apps from the rest of the market?

Well for one, the design and branding look mint. Top dollar.  

We mentioned above that design isn’t just about appearance, but how these platforms and brands look is still very important. It’s all about trust. If something looks good, it’s much more likely you can trust them with your hard-earned cash.

In a number of cases the design of an app or website has played a key role in its success. US investing app Robinhood has been noted for its clean, simple, uncluttered design and has become one of the world’s fastest growing fintech apps.

 

Robinhood's effortlessly attractive UX design

Whilst the app has been criticised by some for making it too easy for people to invest or even gamble their money, there’s no denying its refreshingly cool design has been influential in making retail investing accessible to the masses.

Many traditional stock trading platforms are packed with information and data, to the point where it’s almost overwhelming. The casual trader who just wants to dip their toes in and get a (tiny) slice of some of the biggest companies on the planet, can now do that pretty easily.

 

The gamification of financial services

Something else that has made these platforms so popular is the gamification of finance.

Now, investing money isn’t a game and should be taken more seriously than that, but you could argue that gamification incentivises people to spend more time on the platform and make conscious choices about what they do with their money.

Whether it’s the money pots and savings targets of personal banking apps like Monzo and Starling Bank, or the possibility of getting a share in Apple for referring a friend, there is a certain element of enjoyment to be had simply by using these apps.

Gone are the days where people put their money away and forgot about it, occasionally taking a trip to the bank to deposit a cheque. These apps give the user not just the opportunity of financial growth, but also a kick of endorphins when they use it.

And the fun isn’t just for adults either!

 

Money for kids

The benefit of apps like this is they can be used to educate children about money too.

There are few better ways to learn about something than actually doing the thing itself. Apps like Revolut Junior offer children the opportunity to manage small amounts of money in a fun, safe environment. Of course, parents have control of the account and can monitor, close and freeze it but at least it gives the child something tangible to work with. This way they are not just learning about money but more importantly how to use it.

The gamified tasks and engaging UX means that money is not some far off, distant thing to be intimidated by but something they can be actively involved in.

The makers of these apps hope that this will lead to better financial decisions later in life.

 

Revolut Junior website

The Revolut Junior website offering digital banking for kids

User Experience is at the core

These are just some of the ways fintech apps are taking the world by storm. 

At the heart of all these platforms is a heavy focus on smooth financial UX design. Most of the benefits these fintech apps and websites provide to the user are created through clever design systems at their core.

Whether that’s how plans and fees are presented, the language that’s used in every little bit of copy they read, or simply the style and look of the user interface, it all contributes to an easier to use experience. As a result, managing your money is getting easier.

 

If you want to experience the impact of good UX design, you’re in the right place. The Bang is a fintech design agency so we’ve probably got what you need!

Thanks for reading, here are some other things.

Power to the people: How fintech is making money more accessible

The last 10 years have seen massive changes in the world of finance.  The old stalwarts of the banking industry are being challenged by clever startups

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