While the wide availability of mobile banking apps is crucial to boosting financial inclusion, ensuring that account holders actually use the account and explore its services is the real test. One way financial institutions are now improving financial inclusion by enhancing their mobile banking UX so that more people can intuitively go from opening accounts to becoming frequent and engaged users of the beneficial financial services inside them.
The World Bank made this point by identifying two important stages in the user journey toward financial inclusion.
First is the availability of transaction accounts, which is what mobile bank accounts are. The second stage is ensuring that people who have transaction accounts learn how they should regularly use financial services to “improve the overall quality of their lives.”
A study by Insider Intelligence, a market research firm, has shown that 89% of customers and 97% of millennials use various mobile banking apps for their financial management today. Yet, another study by Business2Community, a news agency, and business insights provider, has shown that the annual average retention rate for fintech apps is an abysmal 16% and calculating just 57% for mobile banking apps in general.
Many people are simply not being won over by the mobile banking apps they download.
Consequently, to really drive financial inclusion, as the World Bank defines it, digital banking providers and fintech startups must increase in-app engagement. According to Decode, a software development company, this can be simply done by putting the user first. (You’ve probably heard that before and with good reason.)
A primary way to put the user first is to improve the UX design of digital banking apps or completely redesign them so users can be encouraged to login more frequently and intuitively navigate the various banking services that these apps provide.
In this article, we will show you how NOW Money became the fintech/mobile banking app with the highest log-in rate in the UAE by improving mobile banking UX through its scrollable and personalised homepage, among other solutions.
- A scrollable and personalised homepage that meets the need of every user
- Seamless access to basic financial services
- Boosting retention with services that meet users’ needs
[Do you want to offer your employees access to a mobile banking app that makes it intuitive for them to send money abroad in a timely and cost-effective way? Tell your employer to sign up for NOW Money today or learn more about how NOW Money helps bank the unbanked.]
1. A scrollable and personalised homepage that meets the need of every user
Scrollable homepage and user experience
To improve usage and engagement, NOW Money created a scrollable homepage that provides a user interface where customers can move from up to down and access all the banking services they need on a single page.
There are two reasons for this.
First, research has shown that users actually like scrolling and if done well, it can improve user experience. A study by Software Usability Research Laboratory concluded that users read long and scrolling pages faster than they do segmented and paginated ones.
“Mobile devices and touch-screen technology naturally lend themselves to scrolling,” said Usability Geek, a blog that provides insights for improving user interface and customer experience. “As these devices continue to dominate the market, scrolling will become a more standard practice.”
Second, users of digital banking apps are already used to scrolling from the other apps they use on the same device (e.g., Facebook, YouTube, Twitter). So, encountering the same experience when they switch to their mobile banking apps can help to remove any “UX shock” and make the transition smoother. This is of increased importance for the unbanked customer demographic NOW Money serves due to lower overall digital and financial literacy.
“Almost everyone has learned scrolling from years spent cruising the digital landscape,” said Forge and Smith, a software development firm. “Our favourite social media feeds scroll, and the websites we use for research or to do shopping also have scrolling functionality. From Gen Z to Boomers, most people are now used to scrolling.”
NOW Money has adapted its UX design to this trend by making its homescreen scrollable.
In the homepage sample below, the user of NOW Money can easily scroll down from checking their account balance to reviewing the status of completed transactions, to sending money to another NOW Money account, and finally to request a salary advance.
This seamless scrolling best meets the needs of today’s user as the research quoted above has shown.
Scrollable and personalised: The winning formula
In addition to being scrollable, NOW Money homepage is also dynamic. How so?
NOW Money has adapted its UX and UI design to the immediate personal need of the user. It does this by designing the information architecture to prioritise the services that a user is most likely to explore at a particular time.
For example, if a user has just received their salary, the international money transfer service will be on top of the homepage (after the account balance), that is, above the fold, as seen below.
Consider another user who has a low account balance and the payday is still far away.
This user will not see the same homepage as the one above.
Why? Because sending money home is not what they need at that time. Rather, the salary advance service will be at the top of the homepage, and look like this:
What if a user has just completed a transaction and is logging into the app afterwards?
Well, he won’t see international money transfer service or salary advance at the top of the homepage. Rather, he will see the status of the latest transaction.
Finally, consider a user whose Emirates ID card just expired. Since having a valid ID card is a crucial part of know-your-customer (KYC) requirements that might deny the user access to important services, at the top of the homepage will be an invitation to update the ID card.
How does all of this customised homepage info help improve financial inclusion?
By ensuring that a user sees what they are most likely to engage with at the top, we have improved our mobile banking UX and log-ins, and enhanced user engagement with basic financial services.
A dynamic homepage is a potent way to accomplish personalization, an important component driving user engagement in today’s digital world. A study by Accenture has shown that 91% of consumers favour brands that provide personalised experiences. Or, as Storyly, a user engagement improvement platform, puts it, “Most users won’t find an app that offers impersonal product recommendations or experiences to be particularly compelling. App users want to see services and products that apply specifically to them in a fully personalised app experience.”
As such, app designs in today’s world should include extensive personalization.
However, in addition to giving consumers what they need, personalization is also good for business. “Establishing a strong personal connection with mobile users can make customers more loyal, which ultimately leads to increased app usage and sales,” said Storyly. “Personalization can help make sure that all collected data goes toward developing the ideal user experience, which will go a long way in keeping users coming back to you.”
2. Seamless access to basic financial services
In addition to a scrollable and dynamic homepage, NOW Money also includes other user-friendly mobile banking UX solutions in its app design.
Whatever service you explore, the app ensures that you have a seamless experience. It does this by providing:
- Easy access and usage: From the homepage, you can access any of the financial services that NOW Money provides, beginning with the one that is most relevant to you at any particular time. Every service can be completed with a few clicks. Moreover, only relevant information will be requested.
- Fast and responsive navigation: Navigating through the app is fast and easy. Every part of the app is responsive and users can perform transactions without stress.
- Multiple languages: According to Bank Bazaar, a personal loan provider in the UAE, “offering banking and financial solutions and services to every individual in the society without any form of discrimination” is an essential part of financial inclusion.
One way that NOW Money ensures that everyone can access the services they need is to provide a multilingual app. The NOW Money app permits eleven different languages, a feature that is crucial in a multicultural country like UAE where expats make up a significant part of the population.
Like personalization, offering multiple languages is good for both the users and the business. “Mobile apps that target an international audience through multilingual apps not only drive conversion rates but create a long-lasting relationship with the end-users,” according to Customer Think, an online community for customer-centric businesses. “Multilingual apps are likeable and shareable that helps improve brand visibility twofold. The more users, the more successful the app will be.”
- Responsive customer service: Furthermore, users on NOW Money can communicate with customer service agents in their preferred language. With such responsive customer service, users will feel more comfortable using the app.
According to Financial Brand, a blog for banking news, trends, and insights, such a seamless and responsive customer service is one of the key requirements of users that banking app design must take into consideration.
- Transaction status: Not knowing the status of transactions can make users anxious. NOW Money solves this problem by providing live status updates and by bringing those updates above the fold when a user has just completed a transaction.
- Notifications: The app also provides important notifications (especially regarding transaction status) to the users even when it is not currently opened. Users can turn this feature on in the app notification settings.
3. Boosting retention with services that meet users’ needs
Nevertheless, user experience is not all about well-designed homepages and intuitive navigation.
To retain users, fintech apps must provide them with the exact services they require. No matter how inviting an app is, users will bounce if they don’t find the actual services valuable.
To this end, NOW Money has continued to provide a wide range of services that are both important to users and vital to the quest for financial inclusion. This is in keeping with the World Bank’s definition of financial inclusion as an attempt to ensure that “individuals and businesses have access to useful and affordable financial products and services that meet their needs – transactions, payments, savings, credit and insurance – [and are] delivered in a responsible and sustainable way.”
Below are the “useful and affordable” services that NOW Money is currently providing:
- Salary accounts: Low-income workers in the UAE find it difficult to meet the account-opening requirements imposed on them by banks. And with the WPS in the UAE mandating electronic transfers, employees need mobile bank accounts that don’t impose the same requirements. NOW Money provides free mobile bank accounts, allowing everyone to receive their salaries electronically without relying on the traditional banking system.
- International money transfers: At the end of 2021, 89% of those in the UAE were foreign workers, according to Global Media Insight, a digital marketing firm. And the primary need of many expats is to send money back home to their family and friends. Furthermore, they need a stress-free, time-efficient, and cost-effective international money transfer system that will provide maximum value for money.
NOW Money allows them to send money abroad digitally at low (and transparent) fees, with better exchange rates, and fast transaction processing. With this, they don’t need to make round trips to exchange houses and local bank branches that charge higher fees and process transactions slowly.
- International airtime recharge: In addition to sending money abroad, users can recharge the phones of their family and friends on the NOW Money app.
- Salary advance: Emergencies are part of life. Everyone must deal with them and do so in the best way possible. The common solution for many is to take a loan or overdraft from banks. However, with the stringent conditions involved, many will be left out of the system.
NOW Money helps those who can’t take bank loans or overdrafts to deal with emergencies by providing them with the option to ask employers for salary advances. Even those who have bank accounts might prefer this alternative to bank loans and overdrafts as it is easier and cheaper to access.
- Debit card: While the UAE is making strides towards becoming a cashless society, people still need cash to complete some transactions. No nation has fully become a cashless society, therefore, cash is still an important part of the global economy.
NOW Money provides users with ATM debit cards so they can withdraw money at ATMs and complete transactions that require cash.
- P2P transfers: According to the Financial Brand article above, P2P integration is one of the key demands of people using mobile banking apps.
NOW Money allows users to quickly and easily transfer money among themselves.
- Expense tracking and balance monitoring: Personal financial management is one of the key determinants of prosperity. It is the process by which we gain control over our finances and direct them toward the achievement of our goals. An important ingredient of personal finance management is knowing and monitoring where your money is going so you can better direct it to where it should be going.
NOW Money allows you to track your expenses (made through transfers or cash withdrawals) and monitor your account balance in preparation for improving your personal finances.
The services provided by NOW Money are beneficial for employees, employers, and society at large. For employees, it improves their happiness and well-being by enabling better financial management, removing stress, reducing costs, and improving their sense of safety.
For employers, they gain access to more productive employees (happy employees are productive employees) which improves business performance. And for society, we all witness an increase in financial inclusion that lowers inequality and improves economic growth, according to the International Review of Economics and Finance.
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- Financial inclusion goes beyond people opening more digital banking applications. It also requires that they use these apps and access various financial services on offer.
- To improve the usage of their apps, fintech startups must improve their banking app UX by refining the design process to be more user-friendly.
- This will include better UX research, user-first design thinking, a customer-led product design, a new product design, and a commitment to improving the banking experience.
- NOW Money provides excellent mobile banking UX that includes a scrollable and personalised homepage, fast and responsive navigation, multiple languages, and responsive customer service, among others.
- NOW Money also maximises value to users by providing useful and affordable online banking services that include international money transfer, international mobile recharge, P2P transfer, debit cards for cash withdrawals, salary advance, expense tracking, and account balance monitoring.