Iuliia Chistiakova UX Researcher

    Payment App Design: 4 Steps To Boost Your Business Results

    Today, UX and UI can become a way to help businesses grow, attracting new users and retaining them. According to ResearchGate, 80% of people are using mobile banking due to convenience and ease: obviously, both the criteria depend a lot on payment app design. At the same time, 76% of respondents are not satisfied with mobile banking and think it should be improved. 

    What are the secrets of design that provide the best user experience and give businesses an advantage over their competitors? At Surf, we have been developing mobile apps for banks and fintechs since 2011, implementing the most up-to-date technology l and design solutions. In this article we invite you to go through the steps that help you create a competitive mobile payment app design, following best UI and UX practices. 

    apps examples

    Step 1. Analyzing your previous payment app design 

    UX analysis is used for data analysis and helps find out how users interact with an application. This step is a must for businesses that already have an app but have recognized a necessity to add new features or rebuild the finance app design from zero, considering previous experience. 

    These are business researchers and designers who are engaged at this stage. They collect information about business, its goals, and target audience to see the strengths and weaknesses of the existing app: the things help them generate hypotheses for further research or develop a reasoned plan of changes. Details depend on a project, the niche, and its trends. 

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    Mobile payment application functionality

    The first thing to analyze is the app functionality. Easy navigation, high page loading speed, no errors, a few steps to reach the target, familiar patterns, and an opportunity to get exact results after each action are characteristics of good functionality.  

    As convenient navigation is one of the main factors of success, you should pay much attention to it. User needs, their base paths, and frequent activities are the first things to note. Good design is created to simplify navigation for users, and this idea shouldn’t take a back seat. 

    There are some things to ensure while checking app functionality and design: 

    • The tabs in the TabBar reflect exactly how information is arranged within the app. They are located in the correct order.
    • The tabs opened in the TabBar or NavBar, are easy to discern visually. It’s enough to press a cross or a back arrow to return to the previous tab.
    • Users intuitively understand where to find the necessary information. 
    • Gestures are universally-used and familiar to users and help navigate and reach purposes fast.

    The above characteristics become critical when we mean mobile payment applications. Banks and fintechs are expected to provide high quality service, and any malfunction, complexities, or discomfort can cost much. 

    investent app flow
    These steps are enough to create an investment portfolio, and the system helps users do it. An app concept developed by Surf

    User interface quality

    Quality payment app interface means that the described functionality directly reflects the result of the user’s actions. For example, the button “close the draft letter” closes and saves the draft but does not send the letter. User steps and their results are clear: it’s possible to undo, return, and double-check your actions. All steps should be predictable—sudden system actions cause bad user experiences: they can scare users away, or confuse users, leading to mistakes. Both cases are definitely not profitable for your business. 

    Design itself means much. A quality mobile payment application is associated with convenience, reliability, and security. That’s why recognizable minimalistic style and maximal ease of use are significant for banks and fintechs. Payment apps are created to simplify our daily life. In such cases, a pretentious design turns into a disadvantage: not many people are ready to explore something new while managing their daily financial operations. So, clarity becomes critically important.

    Examples from the Surf team practice. One of the world famous banks asked us to create a new version of their corporate banking app. Trends had changed, and our client decided to meet modern requirements to attract and retain users. 

    Below is the laconic app design we created for the B2B audience of the bank. The project is an illustrative example of seamless migration from the old app to a new one with bright design and a user-friendly interface.

    banking app update

    Step 2. Business research 

    Business research helps build a comprehensive product strategy from the very start of a project. The success of the product and its key metrics are estimated at this stage: monthly and daily audience, retention rate, and customer lifetime. How profitable your new payment app design will be, directly depends on your product teams’ approach to business research. Let’s consider its main steps.

    In payment apps development, business research is necessary. As a rule, it runs about large projects being created for months under the control of many stakeholders, and each of them imposes various requirements. Such analyses help reduce the number of design iterations and increase development speed. 

    Competitors’ mobile payment applications analysis 

    In this step, we study the market and the niche in detail. It’s a large scope of work that includes existing solutions analysis and deep research of competitors’ advantages, disadvantages, and common problems. We also examine reviews of the existing apps to find out what users expect from the new one.

    Diving into the study, we request a client’s analytics. It helps us calculate the scope of work and functional blocks of the future mobile payment app. As a result, a client gets a document with competitive environment analytics—a visual map consisting of two blocks. It allows us to move forward, taking into account the interests of both business and users.

    2 blocks description


    Customer development approach helps us study target audiences needs and validate product ideas. This is the most important part of the business research. At this stage, our ideas and vision for the product are tested for strength. Based on the results of the customer development, we confirm the hypotheses, update the priorities, and build the roadmap for mobile payment application development.

    In this step, we interview from 15 to 30 respondents depending on the number of audience segments. In-depth interviews help us identify and prioritize audience segments for the future product. As a result, the client receives a detailed document with conclusions and hypotheses based on users’ pains, needs, and features prioritized for them.

    Examples from the Surf team practice. One of the tasks we met was to create a finance app for kids. We designed a product concept to attract new customers—parents, and be fun for kids and teens. So, our team had to note both parents’ and children’s needs. Here is the result.

    banking app for kids
    Bright, cartoon-like design, funny animal assistants, and gamification elements immediately attract childrens’ attention

    One more task our team had was to develop a banking app for all family members, no matter their age. We “married” the classic brand colors of the bank with some calmer hues and created a visual environment friendly to everyone. It helped us make different sections and blocks stand out, staying stylistically cohesive. Here is the result.

    family banking app
    After 6 months, the number of new users has grown by 25%, while the number of monthly active users has grown by 27%

    If you are looking for a contractor to develop unique payment app design for your project, learn more about UX/UI design services at Surf. We know how to create a modern user-friendly interface and are ready to do it for you.

    Step 3. Payment app design & prototyping 

    It’s the next significant stage in creating a mobile payment app design. The results we get help us build a user flow based on the target audience needs, and business purposes. After this, everything will be ready for the final touches. 

    Here are two main steps you should follow to achieve successful business results and give users more than your competitors have ever done.


    To identify weaknesses of the mobile payment application and prevent negative use cases, we develop a CJM (Customer Journey Map) before creating User Flow and UX models. In this step, together with a client team, we define a set of product functionality, highlight the features necessary for an MVP (Minimal Viable Product), and plan the development stages.

    We also discuss and determine features that need to be implemented in the first and next iterations. After CJM is finished, it’s much easier to create a User Flow—a graphical tree of application functionality.

    Payment app CJM example: features that need to be implemented in the first and next iterations
    Ready to start your project research and get a detailed CJM in 5 days?
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    UX model

    Based on the collected artifacts, we create an application prototype: design screens in Figma, assemble clickable prototypes in Invision/Figma. First, we work out the main scenarios, then the secondary ones. At this stage, we decompose the user experience into functional blocks and application screens.

    Verifying the prototype with real users, we give a clickable interface prototype to the focus group, set real tasks, and watch the users interacting with the prototype. If problems arise, we make adjustments, thus improving the prototype with each iteration and moving towards the final product.

    Having created various UX models of a mobile payment application, we can highlight some universally applicable points:

    • Users need to be able to execute all the key scripts from the main screen of the app, without multiple transitions between screens. 
    • Interface consistency is important: identical elements should behave in identical ways. 
    • Interaction with the app should not cause a feeling of deceived expectations. Otherwise, the user’s anxiety increases, while the motivation to use the application disappears, accordingly.

    Example from the Surf team practice. Here is the payment app design created for a single app for 5 banks with different users, products sets, and positioning. The Client’s Group delegated the complete development process to us, because they were convinced by our in-depth analytics and understanding of these processes. As a result, they got a banking app with a user-friendly interface and a modern design to be constantly updated to meet the latest industry standards. And user activity in payments and transfers grew by 20% compared to the old app.

    banking mobile app

    Step 4. Creating UI

    It’s the final part of a mobile payment app designing process. Our UI/UX designers work on how screens of the app look and emphasize the uniqueness of the client’s brand.

    UI/UX designers prepare about 5 main screens to show the client an app design idea, or design concept. Recognizable, laconic, and minimalistic style is preferable for payment apps: it helps businesses provide users with easy navigation to make actions fast enough and get predictable results. 

    Of course, design solutions vary for different target audiences. It’s about colors, font size, its style, icons, etc. 

    Example from the Surf team practice. Here is a design we created working on a financial app for one of the first neobanks of Pakistan. It’s a minimalistic, cutting-edge banking app for millennials.

    neobanking app by Surf

    When the UI is ready, only testing is left. But it’s another large story.

    Want to learn how much your app development costs and see the results you can get in advance? Start with the Design Sprint. Designers from the Surf team will help you get a vision of the finished mobile payment app design concept. Learn more and try

    Secrets of payment app design: bottom line

    Mobile payment application development is a challenge for any developer team. It imposes high requirements for UX and UI because users need to solve their problems and make payments in the most convenient way. 

    Good design means smart, adaptive, and able to follow constantly changing business needs and demands. If you are going to create a payment application for older generations, it should have bigger fonts, higher contrast, an easier onboarding process, and fast access to support chat. If your payment app is preferably for millennials, use the latest technological and design trends while building it.

    At Surf, we have developed 10+ banking and fintech mobile apps and have proven experience in creating UX/UI design. We know everything about solutions that help businesses boost their results, offering their customers modern mobile apps.