Neyber — designing a scalable product for a fintech startup.
A UX case study
During 2014–2016 I worked as a Senior Product designer at Neyber, a UK based fintech startup with a mission to tackle debt and financial education. Here’s a glimpse of what went on and how we went from pilot to serving over 100M in loans.
The issue with credit in the UK
Traditional lending companies have very strict lending criteria so unless you have a very good credit score, it’s actually quite hard to get a loan. In the UK, if you’ve ever missed a bill payment or have had to regularly move house, or have not been registered in the electoral role, then chances are you’ll struggle to get credit.
The alternative is to go to payday loan (shark), which will ask few questions but lend you the money at an astronomical interest rate (best avoided).
The Neyber proposition
Neyber’s core product was a salary deducted loan to people in employment, via a partnership with their employer. As this reduced the chance of missed payments it allowed Neyber to offer lower interest rates to people that would otherwise be hit by astronomical interest rates over their loans.
Neyber launched its pilot loan product aimed solely at people looking to consolidate existing debt, allowing them to take out a (cheaper) Neyber loan to repay their debt instead and helping them save money along the way.
With a very tight deadline for delivery, we designed a simple 5-step form and launched to a small sector of our pilot partner. We assumed most people wanting to take out a loan would do so from the comfort of their desktop computers at home but we couldn’t have been more wrong.
79% of customers were using their mobiles to apply and a long form, even if it looked liked just five steps, was a very awkward mobile experience. (Think never-ending scrolls and an absolute pain if you accidentally entered something wrong.)
A few challenges
1. As Neyber’s customer base grew, increasingly the app needed to capture more detailed info from users, to ease pressure on the underwriting team. This meant adding extra questions to an already extensive form—we knew by then that a good mobile experience was urgently needed. Plugging in more questions to the existing design wasn’t an option.
2. Some questions were dependent on work industry, so we needed to identify where customers were coming from and be able to branch off to that specific route.
3. The Neyber product was evolving, and we needed a way to allow customers to access new features and products from a single account.
4. The design team was limited in what research and user testing it had access to, because the pilot product was strictly under wraps.
Applying for credit online is stressful and can often be an unfriendly experience — the Neyber underwriting team always worked hard to understand individual circumstances, often reviewing applications manually and we wanted the online application to reflect that.
With simplicity and transparency as our guiding principles, we decided to split the form into one question per screen, adopting a conversational approach to guide them through the process.
It also allowed users to:
1. Save progress as they went along; meaning that they could leave the application at any point and pick up where they’d left off, at a more convenient time.
2. Feel like they were moving faster through the application. In fact, 90% of our testers reported to have answered an average of 6 questions less than they really had.
3. By removing all dropdown menus and exposing the options upfront, our tap based approach made it easier and faster to apply through mobile.
We also designed a dashboard with flexibility to host multiple products and an account system for users to manage their products and communication with Neyber. Identifying users early in the process allowed us create different branches depending on work industry without disrupting the overall flow.
Exploring mobile sliders
We also did some exploration on slider alternatives for mobile. We saw that the traditional slider (left to right) wasn’t very precise when trying to select the borrowing amount on a mobile device.
But we also challenged the ‘how much and for how long’ formula. When taking out a loan, users are typically asked how much they need and how much time they need to pay it back.
Instead we focused on affordability; users select how much they can afford to pay back each month and the platform calculates how long it’ll take them to pay it back.
We designed with flexibility in mind; Neyber will continue to grow its product offering and we designed a dashboard that will enable them to host multiple products.
The modular approach to the journey structure enables the underwriting team to tailor it to their evolving needs, as well as individual requirements from employers.
Creating a smooth online sign-up and removing the complexity of on-boarding for smaller employers has helped Neyber to increase the availability of its offer to over 600,000 people.
To date, Neyber has successfully funded over 100M in loans and continues to grow partnerships with employers.