Not many institutions derive such universal displeasure when spoken about with family and friends. And yet the irony is we place all our savings in them, require financial advisory and monitor our investments, bank balances, transactional history, etc on their platforms.
The reality is we rely on them more than we profess.
In 2010, I relocated to Singapore for work and a couple of months later I opened my first account with DBS bank. The experience was seamless, easy but not memorable — in short it was adequate. And that sums up most of our experiences with our financial institutions: adequate.
Since then, the financial industry has gone through exponential advancements and in early 2015 it exploded with fin-tech startups and VCs disrupting traditional services and questioning the role of banks in our daily lives. As technology integrated into various aspect of our lives; it enabled banking to go online, cash usage to decrease and reassess traditional retail banking’s necessities.
DBS bank in the interim had come along way too. Reports in 2009 showed they had the lowest customer satisfaction score of any bank in Singapore, but 8 years on they’ve transformed into a regional financial powerhouse by winning Euromoney’s World’s Best Digital Bank Award, launching India’s first mobile-only bank, acquiring ANZ’s wealth management and retail banking business and developing multiple banking apps.
And like everyone else; we’re trying to make sense of our relationship with our bank and upgrade our financial literacy as we get older.
I’ve been using DBS’s digibank app for sometime now and though it offers the basic needs of allowing customers to view their bank accounts, transfer funds and pay bills via mobile phones — it doesn’t do much else. That’s disappointing as there is so much missed opportunities.
Every other bank offers similar key features.
I’m aware that banks face a great wall of compliance and regulatory issues when handling data, but I’ve noticed a few gaps in DBS digibank app’s user experience that could be improved; whilst still working within these constraints (hopefully).
Here are 3 UX/CX recommendations for DBS’s digibank app:
1. Deconstructing the ‘Sign-In’ experience
(A ) Firstly when a customer opens up the app; they’re taken to a pre sign-in page where they are greeted with a barrage of information.
Is this what the customer wants to see? What’s important to them? How can the DBS team simplify this experience to put their customer needs first?
Start with stripping away the noise by re-organizing the information architecture to focus on greeting customers first and serving their fundamental needs (Sign in, Locate Us, Pay Now or Slide and See Total Deposit Amounts).
Secondly articles can only be read (and accessed) in the pre-sign in page which is a very strange broken experience. It should be available post sign in too, as it’s a resource reference for customers.
( C ) ‘News’ articles should be integrated into the post sign-in landing page to offer a more holistic experience on financial visibility and literacy. Additionally this component could become a library of information for customers to read, bookmark and share articles with friends and family. None of these capabilities (except reading) are available today, which is a shame.
( B ) Upon signing in, the customer gets redirected to another landing page that says “Welcome to digibank” at the top.
This messaging is underwhelming and hasn’t changed for over a year plus. Instead why not redistribute this prime real-estate to showcase total deposits and accounts at the top; and make all other information secondary focused.
Additionally if the page were to attribute a tab-based navigation system at the top; it helps organises the discoverability experience for a customer and prioritises the type of sections that are available to them (Accounts, Quick Links & News).
2. Smarter search capability
( D ) You’ll be shocked to find that there is no general search capability within the app.
This simple but monumental feature is essential to every business for customers to self-serve, to search for what they can’t find and to learn how to navigate within the app laterally - beyond the main navigation.
Here’s a brief recommendation of how the search component could behave to assist customers:
i. When customer taps on search; a list of DBS’s products should be shown and organised into pre-set groups. This information system provides customers upfront visibility to what financial products and capabilities DBS offers.
And if none are relevant they can start typing away!
ii. Build in a recent history mechanism to provide memorability of previous searchers or to expand from their previous search parameters for more accurate results.
iii. As soon as the customer starts typing into the search bar, the categorical pre-sets disappear and showcases relevant results.
3. Making ‘Transaction History’ proactive and purposeful
Another area that has an abundance of potential is the ‘Transaction History’ segment.
Currently the page provides:
i. An overview of the total monthly deposits in the last 6 months
ii. Available balance, total balance , etc
iii. A historical log of transactions in the last month and the prior 2 months
(E & F) On top of all 3 points, imagine if the app provided the capability to allow customers to tag and categorise transactions to specific groups so that they could analyse their own spend behaviours.
Introducing 3 segments: Overview, Categories and Spend Summary
Overview: Provide granular overview of transaction history by day, month and last 3 months (as it currently does).
But additionally, it could allow customers to ‘tag to category’, so that their transaction history is more organised and they can plan their finances better.
Pre-filled categories could be created initially to build understanding of usage.
(G) Categories: After customers tag transactions into groups (e.g. Bills) the following can happen:
i. Observe the group total spend amount by month/week.
ii. Create their own specified groups e.g. Charity, Childcare, etc
iii. Access the full list of groups by browsing them at the top (carousel navigation).
iv. Build in the capability to write notes and allow customers to send a group’s diagnostics to themselves via email or whatsapp.
(H & I) Spend Summary: In this section, if the customer proactively starts tagging transactions to categories — over a period of time they will be receive a visual breakdown of their total spend summary and the % & individual group spend by month.
This provides further visibility for customers and enables them to identify which ‘spend groups’ are ballooning over time and determine what they could do to curb specific spending habits.
Additionally at the bottom, I’ve introduced an ‘Apply Savings Marker’ feature that acts as notification reminder mechanism; when a customer applies a self cap limit to one of the groups e.g. Shopping $300.00.
Once the customer exceeds the limit, they will receive a notification to remind them that they’ve passed the monthly allocation of the spend group and to gently prompt them to stop spending beyond that. Further developments may follow.
(And if they don’t tag anything, all transactions will be tagged under the default category ‘General‘)’. Therefore customers should be encouraged over time to start attributing transactions to specified categories to receive valuable data on their spend behaviours).
The recommendations above came from speaking to 21 users (friends, families and colleagues) who use DBS digibank app. The research study gave insights into the pains, pleasures and context that gave shape to the hypothesis of a more enjoyable user experience.
Imagine a banking app experience that actually made you happy and gave you joy while using it.
Similar to the Grab article, my usage of the app is on a weekly basis; to send money, check transactions, etc. I’m optimistic and hope DBS’s product road map for 2018 will include some of these already (and many more) to surprise us in the new year.