With this mobile app you can pay for something faster than you can spell the word racecar, backwards.
Ok maybe not that fast but still! My UX Design school IronHack recently tasked me to create a hypothetical solution for a faux local bank who wanted a digital payment feature for their mobile app.
Mobile payments via NFC is a great way for a person to quickly and painlessly pay for something without the hassle of reaching into your pocket or purse/bag, grabbing your wallet, selecting your card, swiping, typing in your pin, and waiting for the transaction to finish. First world problem I know, but in a world where everything is based on seamless integration in order to save time, mobile payments are really the way to go.
To add a little bit of context, the client I’m working with is called “ Whole Payments”. They started operations in Framingham, a small town in Massachusetts, United States. Their goal was to offer a different way to save and manage money by giving customers innovative options such as virtual currencies. Whole Payments currently has an active app that allows users to:
- create wire transfers.
- block lost/stolen cards.
- apply for a loan.
However they want to integrate a mobile payment feature for all of their users, specifically users who travel internationally in order to avoid the problems one may encounter when using a credit card overseas.
In order to find the best solution to this problem I conducted some user research in the form of a structured interview with a seasoned international traveler. Her name is Maria, a 55 year old, retired manager, who now spends her time wandering about the world in the pursuit of the best cuisine and natural scenes. Here are some of the interview questions I asked, along with her responses. My goal here was to uncover any credit card payment pain points and find out what she needed in order to improve any payment interactions when traveling.
- Q.) You love to travel overseas, what do you like to do most when visiting a new country.
A.) I like a little bit of everything, some gorgeous nature scenes, some shopping, and of course I have to stop at the local restaurants to get some real flavors.
- Q.) That’s great, when you go to shop are you shopping at local stores or are they big brand retailers?
A.) I love the little local stores where I can find something really unique. We can always shop at retailers back home you know.
- Q.) That makes sense. When you are shopping at these little stores are they cash only or do they accept cards? Have you ran into any problems with stores not accepting your cards?
A.) It really depends on the country I am in. For example in Eastern Europe I realized the people prefer cash and majority of the stores lack the same technologies as those stores in Western Europe. I had to have multiple cash streams or look for an ATM.
- Q.) Was it bothersome to have to look for an ATM to pull out cash? I know you don’t want to carry too much on your person?
A.) Yes I don’t like carrying too much cash so finding an ATM every once and awhile was a problem, along with the massive withdrawal fees, a real pain. I didn’t like having to go out of our way to search, walk, and wait, it was a waste of time from what I really wanted to do.
- Q.) Let’s say your bank had a mobile payment option for those countries that do have the technology. Would you use something like this when traveling?
A.) For me, I am trying to not to worry so much about where my cash is, how will I get more, I am trying to enjoy where I am at. Having something connected to my phone sounds ideal if it works correctly and it’s simple to use. I wouldn't use this device if it’s going to be another pain, right?
From this information I could conclude that Maria wants to enjoy her time in a new place and focus on the experience, she wants to limit stressors as much as possible. It appears that she would use a mobile app if it was simple to use as her travel mantra here is “Less is more”. From this I was then able to sketch out a couple solutions with a focus on speed, and simplicity on the payment process.
I decided to make this payment process a 2-step process, since users already have their bank information loaded into the app, a user would just have to scan their phone to the register in a similar fashion as Samsung Pay or Apple pay, then confirm the payment using their own registered fingerprint. Once this was completed a confirmation screen would appear, along with a saved receipt sent to their email. The fingerprint scan was important to ensure privacy just incase the phone was lost and someone wished to gain access to such larger bank accounts. I also added a “transactions” page so a user could see the recent transactions from the day.
Below you will see a basic wireframe for a 2-step solution. In theory a user will open the app, scan their fingerprint, hold the phone to the register until the green bar fills up, showing a completed transaction in the last screen.:
What I learned most importantly here is how big a trend mobile payments actually are. I’ve noticed some people using this service, but after researching the payment process further I’ve realized how easy and safe the whole service actually is. I’ve also noticed how intricate mobile payments are getting, for example McDonald’s attempting to eventually use facial recognition to pay for things! That’s just incredible to be able to walk up to a register, scan your beautiful face, pay, and move on with your life? What is that!! Very excited to see how Fintech will move forward with unifying our digital profiles with payments to make our lives more seamless than ever.