Traditional Payment Systems vs The Future

Making payments for travelers shouldn’t be an issue anymore.

First Design Thinking Exercise | Ironhack

Whole Bank is a local institution in Framingham, Massachusetts, United States. They are going through a phase of reinvention when we talk about giving to the customers new ways of managing their money. They know about the constant changing environment in the world where we can find cryptocurrencies and massive technology to control data, so they want to stand up for their clients and give them a better experience.

The folks at Whole Bank already created an app for the customers, where they can find great new features. Although, there is a concern that involves the overseas payment method and that is where I come along with a design thinking solution.


I had the opportunity to interview 5 people in order to learn about there pain points in regard of traditional credit/debit card payments.

The target audience is composed by travelers associated to the bank with a independent lifestyle, who are able to spend different amounts of money. So, I interviewed people with these characteristics and they all gave me the same pain points.

They had different bank accounts, some local and some very well known entities. However, all of them told me that while traveling is very common for them to be afraid of getting their cards stolen, to loose them or to make a payment and because of not controlling the process (specially in restaurants) they get their cards duplicated.

4/5 experienced one of these situations.

Interviewing was interesting. I didn’t find it difficult, mainly because I don’t have trouble approaching random people and talking to them but I did loose focus a couple times, some questions maybe weren’t specific enough which took me more time to actually get valuable information. The good thing was that every interview had a positive and fun environment.

The Problem

The main problem is the lack of confidence and that the Whole Bank customers have when making payments overseas.

The Solution

Whole Bank already had an app for their customers with features like making transactions, applying for loans or report a stolen cards. So, the idea was to add a new feature to that menu where any client would be able to pay through the app, not with a card, giving them an easy and reliable way of making payments.

Low-Fi Prototype

An example for this process will be something like this:

Let’s say I’m in a Canon Store in Spain and I want to buy a camera. I didn’t bring my cards because I don’t want them to get lost or stolen, I don’t have cash neither because it’s an expensive product and I can’t be going around everywhere with lots of bills. So, I‘ll pick a card in my Whole Bank App, I would have to use my fingerprint to unlock the selected card and then I would synchronize the phone with the store scanner through bar codes. The product and purchase description will appear in my phone and I would have to confirm the payment with my fingerprint. The store can send you the receipt at the moment or via mail.

I think that during this process the most important thing was not to focus in the actual design and waste time in details that are going to be important later on. Low fidelity prototyping and sketching are things that I’m not used to doing and I believe it would be something very important for projects to come. It’s great to build solutions quickly, have something prepared and then think about the aesthetics. If we don’t do that we can fall in a mindset of “I won’t launch this until is perfect”… we need to test and analyze since the begging. Focus on what matters at the moment.