Challenges of Fintech UX and UI Design

Generally, from a technical perspective, the UX/UI designing of fintech products and solutions is not much different from the process of developing other types of digital products and applications. Regardless of the type of product or industry, UX/UI design is all about creating a positive and unique user experience that will eventually increase user engagement, product satisfaction, and customer loyalty and retention. However, in practice, UX/UI designers face a number of unique challenges and factors that can have a major impact on the efficiency and adoption of the final fintech product.

In the following section, we’ve outlined the top 5 challenges for UX/UI designers of fintech products.

Compliance and security

Fintechs, just like traditional financial service providers, are facing an increasing burden of regulatory and compliance requirements and restrictions due to the high risks of fraud and financial crime in the sector. There are 3 key areas, UX/UI designers need to consider and take extra care when creating fintech products and applications, especially in the retail banking space: cybercrime, KYC and AML.

Cybercrime — Fintech apps are amongst the most tempting targets for cyberattacks and criminals. Whilst one of the biggest benefits of fintech is that it democratises finance and gives customers greater accessibility, it ironically does the same for cyber criminals and hackers. Cashless payments, online banking and digital transactions have opened a series of new opportunities for hackers and cyber criminals to exploit the system and gain access to sensitive user information.

In addition to financial loss, cybersecurity breaches and criminal offences can significantly damage a fintech’s brand reputation and customer trust. Inspiring confidence and trust in a fintech product are thus proving to be a real challenge for organisations, but it’s also an area that UX/UI product designers can add a tremendous value. By simply adding some extra security product features like password verifications, login limitations, card number view restrictions, etc., UX/UI designers in fintech can provide that extra peace of mind for the end user and in this way facilitate the overall customer conversion process.

Know your customer (KYC) — KYC is standard in the financial services industry that ensures financial providers know their customers and fully understand their financial profiles which includes obtaining key information about a customer’s individual financial position, risk appetite and financial literacy. KYC’s ultimate goal is to protect both the end client and the financial provider. So, embedding effective KYC validation features and tools in the product is yet another key consideration UX/UI designers in fintech should take into account. Some of the most popular KYC features include AI-driven identity checks, proof of address, and live photo or video streaming facial recognitions.

Anti-money-laundering (AML) — AML refers to all laws, regulations and procedures intended to prevent criminals from disguising illegally obtained funds as legitimate income. Although AML laws generally apply to a limited range of transactions, the implications of a failed AML system can be far-reaching and affect a fintech’s financial stability, growth and brand reputation. Similar to implementing KYC, AML usually involves adding a series of validation steps and checks to the onboarding process of a fintech app or product. But an effective AML procedure doesn’t end with the opening of the account — AML is a continuous process that requires constant monitoring of the account’s activity throughout the user’s entire client lifecycle.

Below are some practical tips on how UX/UI designers can tackle the compliance and security challenges when developing fintech products from Jessica Lascar, ex-product designer at UK fintech challengers Monzo and Monese.

“Despite the development of new technologies which makes it now possible to implement a secure approach of gathering information without the need for face-to-face interaction, this can still be a lengthy process. Potential customers will need to spend 5–15 minutes getting started and will have to wait for anything between a few minutes to a few days before an account is actually opened.

This is why it’s important to break up the registration steps into small chunks, by focusing on one task at a time and organising them into sections. Doing so will make the whole process a lot more digestible and provide the proper mental space to focus on the answers.
It’s also important to ask just the right amount of questions in order to move on with the application and give people the opportunity to add more details later on if necessary.
Simplifying the whole process, as the first point of interaction, will also help to build trust and endure a positive relationship with customers through time.

Also, with our busy and mobile lives, it’s important to ensure that each piece of information can be inserted at different points in time. When they start a new application on a mobile phone, customers may not have all the information required at hand (e. g. an identity document) and therefore might need to continue later that day... or be reminded to do so.”


Financial complexity and jargon

Communicating complex financial products and concepts in a human and simple way is one of the biggest challenges for UX/UI designers in the fintech sector. The financial industry is full of jargon — think of terms like cash flow, invoicing, ETFs, financial statement, etc. Using the right language to explain a financial feature or tool can make or break the entire user experience. This is where UX research becomes particularly important. By studying and understanding the exact profile of the target end user, UX/UI designers will be able to identify the most suitable communication style and language for the product. Presenting complex financial information in a visual and interactive way with relevant graphics can further streamline and improve the user experience.

Friction balance

In most UX/UI design cases, eliminating friction is the designer’s ultimate goal. In fintech, however, a certain level of friction is often required, especially when a user’s personal finances are on the line. According to technical researcher Sean McGowan, “Increasing user friction for specific tasks is a pillar of fintech UX design. The inherent appeal of fintech is the ease of use, but it cannot be so effortless that it is easy for users to make mistakes with their money.” By adding just the right amount of friction at the right time, fintech UX designers can ensure users remain satisfied with the overall product experience whilst instilling a sense of reliability that their finances are protected against any unwanted accidents.

Lack of trust

The trust factor is another major challenge for fintech UX/UI designers. For most users, money and personal finances are a quite delicate matter. Gaining access to a user’s personal finances and data usually requires much more rational thinking and behaviour. As discussed earlier, fintech UX/UI designers can tackle this by adding some extra layers of validation and reassurance that can further boost their confidence and trust in the product.

Finance is boring

Traditionally, finances are considered to be dull and boring. One of the key challenges and opportunities for fintech UX/UI designers is to make traditional financial products more interesting and engaging. There are multiple tactics that designers can use to overcome this issue and add touches of excitement to fintech products like incorporating sound effects, motion graphics and personalised, conversational language. But probably one of the most popular ways to make a fintech app more interactive and fun is gamification. Gamification is simply the process of using game mechanisms in non-gaming scenarios. Adding game elements like waiting lists, rankings and reward systems can help fintechs increase user satisfaction, conversion and loyalty.

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