Natalie Monko Lead Project Manager

    Fintech App Design: Benchmarks, Trends and UI/UX Tips to Build a Great Product

    Fintech solutions are changing the traditional way of banking and managing finances. The industry approaches financial services such as payments, money transfers, loans, crowdfunding, asset management, cryptocurrency, and many others as a separate way to communicate with customers. Most popular fintech apps are aimed to create a user experience (UX) that can make life and money management easier. And who doesn’t like keeping things easy?

    Fintech apps are set not only to deliver a wealth of complicated financial information to its user but also present it in a comprehensible and user-friendly way without making hard things harder. That’s why developing a  fintech app requires an eye for detail: for most people, finances are a nerve-wracking topic, and at this point fintech app design goes beyond the “good or bad looking” concept and serves as a tool to anticipate users’ needs and solve their problems in the most convenient way. 

    Surf has extensive experience in developing fintech and banking apps from scratch and has learned a lot about the issues UI/UX designers face and how to resolve them. In this article, we will look at the main challenges of fintech design, and sort out what trends will shape the image of the best apps in the industry in the coming years. 

    The main task of fintech app design

    In today’s world, people are more attracted by visual content than ever before. Of course, visual design should be compelling and catch the user’s attention from the first seconds, otherwise, users will simply forget about what they have just seen. You can’t play down the importance of visuals. However, if users can’t really enjoy using your fintech app, you can forget about growing your audience. 

    ”Most people make the mistake of thinking design is what it looks like. That’s not what we think design is. It’s not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works,” Steve Jobs, Apple’s longtime CEO, once said and thus defined the main task of a good fintech design – it should help to effectively address users’ needs. Ideally, you should encourage people not only to use your fintech app for particular tasks but also to fully engage in its functionality. 

    When we are talking about fintech app design, we most often do it in the context of UI and UX terms. Let’s define what UI and UX mean and what’s the difference:

    • UI design stands for “user interface” design or the graphical layout of an app. It includes all buttons to click on, texts, images, sliders, text entry fields, and all similar items the user interacts with. UI also implies the design of screen layout, transitions, interface animations, and every single micro-interaction.
    • UX design stands for “user experience” design and deals with the principles of users’ interaction with a fintech app. This includes everything related to the app’s usability given the user interface elements created by UI designers. 

    To sum up: UI designers are responsible for how the user interface will look, while UX designers are in charge of determining how the user interface will operate. To make a user-friendly final product, UI and UX teams should closely cooperate and have clear communication. 

    What is a good fintech app design? 

    Before talking about specific UI/UX features, let’s look at several general principles important to keep in mind during fintech mobile app development: 

    • Good fintech app design focuses on the customer journey and customer feedback. 

    Actually, this advice is not only for those who are building fintech apps, it’s universal know-how for any successful end-product. The first thing to do before launching the work on your app is to learn your client inside-out, realize their problems, and create the best experience. Ideally, the app should solve a user’s pain points and offer something new to further improve their convenience. 

    Note that this is a never-ending process: the best fintech solutions continually adapt to feedback from users during the whole app lifecycle.

    • Good fintech app design takes into account overall app security. Security is the most important aspect when it comes to personal finance. Fintech apps require lots of private information from users to provide secure transactions. It’s crucial to explain to users why specific data is needed and ensure that it will be safe – this is one of the tasks of good fintech app design.
    • Good fintech app design can evolve along with changing business objectives. Any business is developing, gaining an audience, launching new products, and sometimes adjusting directions of development. Your fintech app design should be flexible and serve the task of connecting the commercial goals of the business and the development options it has access to.
    • Good fintech app design transforms complex financial data into simple and actionable information. When interacting with the app, the brain tries to simplify the perception of things in order to predict the interaction result. Get ahead and make the displayed data simpler and more predictable at the stage when a user first encounters it. Too many complex things might dissuade users, so explain all figures and numbers you display and sort out the meaning behind financial data, otherwise certain app features will seem useless.
    • Good fintech app design is about the user experience that encourages education and the cultivation of healthy financial habits. A good-designed fintech app can use discrete habit-forming techniques, such as positive reinforcement. When the user accomplishes tasks, reaches financial milestones, or even completes basic actions within the platform, the app can reward the user to reinforce the action they took.

    Fintech app design challenges, best practices & benchmark examples

    As we are narrowing down to particular UI and UX features specific to the most popular fintech apps that already gained success on the market, let’s take a look at the following fintech design challenges and possible ways to overcome them elegantly: 

    1. Challenge: users could find themselves overwhelmed with available functions and information since the start of the interaction with an app. 

    When creating a fintech app, you should always understand the motivation and goals of the people who are going to use it. But most fintech users can’t understand field-specific terms or immediately get what function they need to use to achieve a particular result.

    Strategies to resolve: 

    • Guide users. Don’t offer everything you have right after the user authorization.  Ask users about their motivation behind certain actions, goals, and plans to make the approach customized and convenient to each particular person. 

    Example: Surf developed a concept of an investing app that is a perfect example of a customized approach to each user’s aspirations. ​​First of all, the app figures out the user’s motivation behind making investments to determine suitable characteristics of the investment portfolio and particular tools needed. This looks like a little test with several questions before a user accesses the full functionality of the app. For example, a user can decide to start investing to save up for a financial cushion, or preserve currently available funds or earn some quick money, and so forth. There are always different approaches and different risks. The app’s virtual assistant finds out what goals a user wants to reach to offer solutions suitable exactly for them.

    • Educate users. As we already said, finance is a complicated field. Remember that most users don’t have specific education and sometimes might get lost in terms and expressions you consider obvious and clear. Don’t hesitate to educate your fintech app users: explain some typical words and terms, including popping up tips and hints that will make the process of getting to grips with personal finances easier. 

    Example: Moneypark, a Swiss financial advisory firm, found a simple way to explain some hard-to-understand terms — like affordability time, amortization cost, or interest payments — without overloading the app with instructions:

    Moneypark app explains all terms related to your mortgage and payments on it to make the whole process clearer for a user
    Moneypark app explains all terms related to your mortgage and payments on it to make the whole process clearer for a user

    2. Challenge: sometimes fintech apps are overloaded with text, or existing texts don’t make clear statements, while all texts within the product should be clear for everyone. 

    Strategy to resolve: pay particular attention to the content strategy and the tone of voice of your product. Moreover, make sure that a UX developer and a UX writer are constantly in touch — if your app uses multiple languages, some translations may need more space or larger fields than the original language required.

    Example: Surf developed a corporate banking app for Rosbank, which is a Russian universal bank and part of the Société Générale international financial group. We made all texts in the app as adaptive and understandable as possible: all functions are either accompanied with brief explanation narrow to the point, or named in the quiet self-explanatory way: 

    Rosbank Business app design

    3. Challenge: many fintech apps are perceived as those dealing with boring stuff. There’s always a lack of interest in managing one’s finances. 

    Strategy to resolve: the most popular fintech apps bring more fun and joy to the user experience. Nothing boosts motivation and confidence like positive reinforcement and a clean design with a smooth flow. The idea is to counteract boredom with excitement about the future. Help your users become excited about managing their money!

    Example: Twine, a savings and investment app, uses the goals of its users to motivate them: users know when and how they’ll reach their goals, based on their investment portfolio or savings plan. The clean and intuitive design takes the person’s dreams above complex operations:

    4. Challenge: it’s essential for a fintech UX to choose the right format of data representation. In finance apps, it’s often presented in the form of charts and tables, but choosing the appropriate chart comes down to what needs your clients have. Designers need to innovate the space and create advanced features useful to users and provide the necessary information.

    Strategy to resolve: put yourself in the user’s shoes and think what type of representation is perceivable enough for each type of data. Your main goal is to better show and explain different information to users. 

    Example: Twim, a cryptocurrency trading app developed by Surf, was designed to be user-friendly for both professional traders and trading enthusiasts. Thus, the Surf team established a list of key elements the users want to see right away when they open the app: the chart, depth of market, orders, and quotes for currency pairs. Those were different elements put on the main screen in Twim in the most convenient formats:

    Twim mobile app design

    5. Challenge: the color theme of the app is sometimes considered a less important element, but colors are more than just visuals in the case of a fintech app. They often represent certain types of information. For example, red and green mean buy and sell, and if your palette drowns out these colors, crucial information is lost. The colors you use may also depend on the country or culture your app is going to be used in.

    Strategy to resolve
    : take into account fundamental rules of color combination, attentively examine the color wheel, and learn about basic color schemes. Remember not to use colors that are too bright, as they can badly affect the users’ eyes.

    Example: Rosbank’s app, which was mentioned previously, has a color palette of dark grey and red, which helps to differentiate buttons and icons from other information as well as account details:

    Rosbank app has a color palette of dark grey and red, which helps to differentiate buttons and icons from other information as well as account details

    6. Challenge: there are countless available options for using animation in the app building but it often complicates the perception of information or overburdens an app. 

    Strategy to resolve: remember that the animation in a fintech app should always have its purpose. For example, animation can help inform the user about the result of the action they have just made. The app should give a clear image of the result of the interaction.

    Example: Pockee, a family banking app, uses animation to clearly indicate that there is some action going on: from finding the available ATMs to displaying a successful task completion:

    Pockee, a family banking app, uses animation to clearly indicate that there is some action going on

    Bottom line

    So, a user-friendly and stylish fintech app design allows you to stand out among the competitors and win the audience’s attention and loyalty. Let’s sum up other key ideas: 

    • Fintech app design is not only about visuals and beautiful colors – it’s a tool that helps to anticipate users’ needs and solve their problems in the most convenient way; 
    • You should encourage people not only to use your fintech app for particular tasks but also to fully engage in its functionality. This could be achieved by smart UI/UX design of the app; 
    • Good fintech app design should take into account the feedback from customers, customer journey and elements of app security;
    • While making a design for a fintech app, think about its future use: the design should be adaptive and be able to evolve along with changing business goals and objectives;
    • A good fintech app design transforms complex financial data into simple and actionable information and encourages users’ education;
    • Don’t stuff users with loads of specific financial information, guide them through the app taking into account their goals and tasks and always explain specific terms;
    • Pay specific attention to copy and microcopy: don’t overload screens with texts, but make existing ones straight to point and concise;
    • Don’t let your users get bored: boost motivation and confidence by creating positive reinforcement and making a clean design with a smooth flow;
    • Carefully think about data representation formats: choose them depending on the type of data and users’ needs;
    • Choose color palette proceeding from fundamental color combination rules, avoid too bright colors deflecting users’ attention;
    • Wisely use animation to inform users about the result of the action they have just performed or to improve user’s navigation, do not use it just for decoration. 

    We at Surf offer the best solutions to fintech companies and know firsthand that the efficient and modern UI/UX design largely determines the fintech app success. You can get acquainted with our fintech cases and contact us to discuss your project.