How fintechs became the friendly face of finance
Banking used to be a pretty stuffy affair.
Interacting with your bank meant going into a branch and speaking to an advisor. Your money information would be on their screen, turned squarely towards them. The power was on their side – but hey, at least you had someone doing your banking tasks for you.
Then came the shift to digital and self-service was the new way. Suddenly, what was on the teller’s screen was now in your hands, on your phone or computer screen. The problem? Most banking websites still looked and felt like they were designed for bankers, not you, and were cumbersome to use.
Enter the fintechs. Taking their cue from the seamless experiences offered by digital pure players like Amazon, fintechs have shaken up the world of finance, with services designed from the ground up around the needs and wants of their customers.
They’ve revolutionised not just banking, but also insurance, pensions, mortgages and brokering, setting themselves firmly apart from the established players, with a loyal, growing and - crucially - younger customer base.
They’ve made finance friendly and even fun. So, how have they done it?
Simple, streamlined design
Traditional banking sites could be cluttered and difficult to navigate. Fintech apps are simple, streamlined and effortless to use. No lengthy form fills, no digging around in tooltips and dropdowns, key information surfaced upfront. Everything is designed around the user – making fintech apps not just easy to use, but nice to use.
Many fintech apps offer value-added features like digital wallets, savings pots and expenses tools. By automating routine tasks, they lift the admin load from their users. For Daljit Singh, Chief Design Officer at business banking app ANNA Money, the crucial thing was making the app feel effortless to use. “We wanted the product to feel light, not cumbersome – it should just work in the background. If people have to interface with us all the time, we’re not doing our job properly.”
There’s a lot of jargon in financial services, but fintech apps keep it to a minimum and smooth the user’s way by talking in terms their audience can relate to. Using everyday, conversational language builds trust, shows you care about being understood and makes you more likeable - even if customers never see your face.
Connecting with emotions
Finance might seem dry but there are lots of emotions involved in making, moving and spending money. The best apps show empathy at the right moment, like delivering a celebratory message when an invoice is paid, or acknowledging disappointment if a loan offer can’t be made.
Listening to customers
Genuine customer centricity starts with listening to the people you serve. For Helen West, Experience Lead at online mortgage provider Molo Finance, the voice of the customer is all-important. “We’re constantly speaking to customers, identifying problems, and measuring the impact of any changes we make. Every new feature and function we design is driven by the customer – if there’s no benefit to them, we won’t do it.”
Moments of delight
People generally don’t expect finance brands to be fun, so fintechs have the opportunity to surprise with moments of joy. For instance, ANNA Money’s debit card makes a ‘miaow’ sound when used. “It was a bit of a poke at everyone else for being quite serious” says Daljit Singh. “We wanted to make everything a bit lighter, be a bit different”. The brand also stands out for its imaginative branding featuring cartoon animal characters. “It’s a busy sector, but banking and admin aren’t that interesting. We’ve always focused on the idea of fun.“
Fintechs often start by targeting smaller, younger audiences and have built up strong communities by featuring customers on blogs and social feeds. Many actively involve customers in the development process: challenger bank Monzo invites customers to share feedback on features in its Community Forum and contribute ideas for shaping the app.
Is fintech the future?
Fintech’s customer-centric strategy and focus on simplicity has seen it steal a march on established players. Incumbents are catching up – and increasingly being joined by players from non-financial worlds – but with a loyal fanbase constantly spreading the word, fintechs have a strong head start. If you'd like help making your Fintech marketing more memorable, then we'd love to partner with you. Speak to Sinead@logiclogicmagic.com.