Practical Tips to Improve the Online Banking User Experience

The coronavirus pandemic has amplified the general tendency of moving toward digital-only experiences. Today, customers get their overall impression of a bank primarily from online interactions with its services. And if online interactions with a product fail to meet users’ expectations, users lose trust in the company behind that product. This is why it’s high time to start treating banking software not as an alternative to in-person banking but as the main representation of the entire bank brand and the highest-level touchpoint. 

In this post, we shed light on the importance of a well-balanced UX design for your bank’s success and share insights and tips on how to improve the online banking user experience of your existing banking product. 

Issues a bad UX leads to

The financial sector has never been first in the matter of digitalization. More than that, the banking sphere has often been accused of being overly complicated and opaque. In 2019, CNBC checked bank websites for readability and found that the majority contain text that’s more difficult to read than Moby Dick; even the best bank websites are harder to read than Harry Potter. Industry jargon, complex navigation, and unclear data presentations are among the most significant UX issues in banking software. Let’s have a look at the consequences of a bad UX.

  • High churn rate. What do people usually do if they’re unsatisfied with the service quality? That’s right, they leave. The rate of unsatisfied bank customers is high. Three out of four consumers don’t feel their bank helps them meet their financial goals. It’s impossible to stop everyone from leaving you, but with a smooth online banking user experience, you give users more incentives to stay.
  • Lower revenue. Your revenue depends not only on users who stay but also on their satisfaction. An Oracle study reveals that 86 percent of customers are ready to pay more for a better experience. If user satisfaction is low, users opt for a provider with better services. 
  • Decreased reputation and trust. A Bain & Company survey demonstrated that people tend to trust banks much less than giant tech companies such as Google or Facebook. The main reason for that is the ability of global corporations to build products that are easy to use, provide value, and create an emotional link with customers. In the final count, it doesn’t matter how great your loan terms are if a user can’t understand them. Banking software with outdated designs, complex layouts, and jargon is far from intuitive and doesn’t satisfy users, harming a bank’s reputation and trust in their brands.

If you want to successfully communicate your brand values to your customers, gain their trust, and boost loyalty, then pay a great deal of attention to creating a user-centered UX design. Let’s take a look at some tips you can use to improve the UX of your existing banking software.

How to make dull features impressive

When designing the UX for a banking software product, you can start fresh with user research, create a clear user flow, then proceed to a site map and a wireframe with a prototype to polish your product’s final look. 

However, with an existing product, everything is a little more complicated. Below are ideas combined with best practices to improve the UX of your existing product.

Simplify the sign-up form 

Audit your sign-up form and make sure your users need to fill in only the most necessary information to start using your software product. It’s crucial to make this process as easy as possible to enhance the digital banking UX design. Here are some ideas you can use.

Add a progress bar to the registration step

A progress bar can show how long it takes to complete registration. This way, you can show that users don’t need to spend hours manually entering data. Take a look at how the Barclays app uses this approach to make the registration process more transparent for customers.

digital banking user experience
Progress bar demonstrates how many steps a user needs to make to complete registration

Use dropdown menus and data pickers

Dropdown menus and data pickers allow users to enter data fast and avoid mistakes. These little helpers can be used in fields where users need to enter dates, addresses, zip codes, or phone numbers. Here’s an example of a data picker on the Liberty Bank website that lets users save time when entering their phone number. 

user experience banking
The bank uses a dropdown menu to simplify registration process

Write hints and placeholder text to dispel all doubts

What can be more frustrating than red text that tells you you made a mistake? Reduce the risk of errors when users input data by showing placeholder text in fields or giving hints on what information you’re expecting. 

To make the registration process easier, Alliant bank placed one field for Social Security Number and indicated that users can alternatively provide an EIN or ITIN. 

banking app user experience
Hints to help users understand information better

Make authorization effortless

A Mastercard study reveals that 93 percent of customers would prefer to use biometric data to access an application than to enter a password and log in manually. Biometric authentication is a fast and reliable login option that adds to your app’s security and makes the banking app user experience much better. 

Apart from famous and widespread authentication methods using fingerprints and face recognition, some banks have considered voice and iris recognition as an additional layer of security in their apps. For instance, in 2017, Wells Fargo announced plans to integrate iris authentication into their app. The same year, we heard that Santander bank had decided to try out voice recognition technology in its mobile application. 

Although these plans weren’t meant to be, financial establishments continue working towards fast and secure authentication methods for their digital products.

Simplify user accounts 

User profiles usually contain a lot of unnecessary data and elements that make the user interface overloaded and unclear. Make sure this section in your app or website has only must-have features, such as a balance check, fast payments, and a transaction history. All other elements and buttons can be hidden in menus and tabs. 

Here’s a design our team made for a user account in an expense tracking app:

Ensure reliable customer support and guidance

When it comes to support and guidance, it’s difficult to keep the right balance. On the one hand, you should give users comprehensive information on how to use your software and how they can ask for help. On the other hand, a long onboarding process and disturbing chat button can be overwhelming for users. So how can you introduce your product in a nonintrusive but helpful way and let customers know they can always ask for help whenever they need it?

The usual practice for websites is to add information or a question mark to design elements. When users hover over these question marks, detailed information pops up. While this approach can be a solution for websites, it won’t work in mobile apps. A lot of apps use animated onboarding presentations to introduce their functionality to users. However, Bank of America went further.

Bank of America introduced a mobile app with an absolutely unique way to onboard and assist users. The app has a virtual assistant called Erica that does everything for users so they don’t even need to learn how to use the app. 

To help users easily contact you when and how they want to, consider adding additional touchpoints. For instance, the Axos banking app lets users select ways to get support. A user can start a chat, send an email, call the hotline, or leave feedback. Users can also look for answers in the FAQ section. 

Ready to boost your digital banking user experience?

The pandemic has forced people to use online banking services 40 percent more than they did before it began. This rise in use has helped to reveal companies that fall short in terms of user satisfaction. 

If you think the online banking user experience of your software product could be better, then it’s time to make some changes. Contact our qualified team for a UX audit. 

Contents

FAQ

One way is to simplify the sign-up form and make authorization effortless. It’s also a good idea to include only must-have features in user profiles and ensure reliable customer support and guidance.

Industry jargon, tricky navigation, and unclear data presentations are the most pressing UX issues in banking software. They can lead to a high churn rate, decreased revenue, and a tarnished reputation.

You can add a progress bar to the registration step, use dropdown menus and data pickers. As an option, you could write hints and placeholder texts to make sure everything is clear to users.

In case you are interested in enhancing your banking app UX, we are here to assist you. Our team of seasoned designers can help in creating a positive impression of your app, making it easy, effortless, and pleasant to use. Contact us for a UX audit.

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