The Monday mindset: 31 July 2017
Fintech zeitgeist! Every Monday, we might look back at last week; look ahead to this week; share a few thoughts (our own or others); or discuss anything that catches our eye.
This week, Soumik Roy, a digital marketing and technology specialist, brings us his perspective from within India – and all about the UI and UX of that nation’s banking and financial services apps.
If you have an interest in the various financial services apps that make it to market every month in India, I have news for you: the products are (mostly) great, the user interface (UI) is (mostly) great, but the user experience (UX) at the end of the day isn’t always perfect.
As an Indian, I can tell you that a lot of us use an app to view, access, or manage our finances. On Google’s Play Store Paytm’s “Payment, Wallet and Recharge” has 50 million downloads, MobiKwik, National Payments Corporation of India’s (NPCI) BHIM, Reliance JioMoney, and State Bank of India’s SBI Anywhere Personal have ten million downloads each, while HDFC Bank and Axis Bank have five million downloads each. Almost all of these apps have a 4.0 rating (out of 5.0) or better on the app store.
When you download each app, you’ll realise that there’s something intuitive about each, one way or another. The UI has been carefully designed to make sure users are able to do what they intend to, in just a few clicks – ensuring the app facilitates transactions instead of getting in the way of its users.
HDFC Bank, for example, understands that users have a tough time remembering their customer ID and password while on their mobile phones, presumably in a busy market. To make accessing accounts easier, they let users authenticate their mobile devices on the app and choose a four-digit login PIN which replaces both your customer ID and your password, and can be used the next time you come back. Security risk? Negligible. On the bank’s part, you’re forced to change your PIN every few months – although I suspect they expect you to be (i) careful with your device, and (ii) never reveal your PIN to others.
Amex India’s app on the other hand has one of the slickest dashboards I’ve ever seen. Their service is marvellous and their phone support is, in my opinion, an example of what any customer touch point should be like. However, their app is efficient and as a millennial, I like things at my fingertips, which is why I haven’t dialled them in almost six months.
Let’s talk about Paytm for a minute now. This firm I believe is shaping up to be India’s WeChat. It’s an all-in-one, app-based, e-commerce platform with a payment solution at the core of it all. All that it lacks is the messaging piece – which I’m glad it stayed out of – because I don’t see it or anyone else beating WhatsApp in the Indian market. Its UI? It’s pretty impressive. I have everything I need at my fingertips, arranged neatly in stacks of icons and bucketed into segments. Since it’s one of the most popular e-payment / e-wallet apps, I’ve asked a lot of people about it, old and young, and they all seem to have the same opinion.
However, there’s another thing I’ve noticed. In the apps race, not many have cracked what Development Bank of Singapore’s (DBS) Digibank can do. Its artificial intelligence (AI)-based assistant powered by Kasisto is still quite a thing in the market. HDFC Bank, for example, has something called OnChat, which is a Chabot powered by Niki.ai – but it’s not app based, it resides on Facebook Messenger – which is its biggest draw and biggest flaw at the same time. Why not stick it into your app too, HDFC Bank?
So, the UI is great in most cases, but if you scroll through the reviews and rating on the apps, you’ll notice one thing in common – everyone complains about things going wrong with the app all the time – which mars the UX. It’s either an update that was forced upon the user and is now causing trouble, or the introduction of a security feature that makes things difficult because the app’s servers aren’t able to really support it. Scroll through each of these for long enough, and you’ll certainly find a few common pain points with each app – which when not resolved quickly, further spoils the experience.
Now, this isn’t just a criticism of Indian apps. Many apps in the banking and financial services space disappoint, no matter what country or audience they serve. What their creators must learn is that their users know what a good UI and UX are – they have WhatsApp, Snapchat, and Instagram to look up to. If their apps don’t live up to expectations, they’re not going to stay on their user’s devices for very long.
Last week’s Monday mindset was a heroic look at “Digital Zero to Hero: Myth Debunking”.
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