Can data trust transform banking?

I’ve had a relationship with my primary bank since I was a kid. Apparently the program that got me involved is worth $10b. The problem is, although we’ve had a relationship for what seems like forever, my bank is nothing more than a place to store some cash and facilitate transactions. My bank feels a low grade commodity.

The question I (and many others) have had for some time; does this have to be the case? And of course, how might a bank become more than it is today?

Earlier this year I wrote a positioning piece on designing for Open Banking. The core premise of the article was that data sharing, specifically within a high trust environment, could lead to a banking transformation.


High trust data sharing could help banks become ‘life service’, rather than financial service providers. This could be a massive opportunity. It could help my bank become a trusted custodian of data. They could use data trust to help me navigate the complexity of life.

What might this look like? How might a bank earn access to this data? What services might they offer? And how might I feel about them if they manage to make all of this happen.

The purpose of this article is to start exploring how.

The switch

Before the bank gets to working on how they might offer me some awesome life services, they’ve got to find ways to help me switch. They’ve got to encourage me to shift trust from my current status quo to something new. This might mean shifting my current behaviour (treating them as a low grade commodity) or helping encourage me to change providers entirely.

Here the Switching Formula from Re-Wired groups comes in handy.

This formula provides a helpful frame of reference for designing experiences that increase people’s motivation to change by prioritising progress making and discounting progress hindering forces.

We provide examples of how to put this into practice in our Designing for Trust Playbook.

So what might a bank do to help me shift? Here are a few simple ideas;

  1. Start developing products and services that actually fulfil the jobs I’m trying to get done on a daily basis. Changing up user research, product design, product development and go-to-market practices might be required to achieve this… Sorry!
  2. Start partnering with new products and services. This means more collaboration with startups and other incumbents
  3. Give me opportunities to progressively (and securely) expose bits of information about myself to them. They can use this information to showcase me something of value (a forecast, a potential outcome or a novel insight). A simple example of this can be seen in Raiz’s (full disclosure: I’m an investor) projected value calculator

There’s a plethora of opportunities for banks to help design valuable switching pathways. Don’t rely on the basic ideas above. Get out there and put hypotheses to the test, learn more about customers’ and surface moments of clarity that drive business decisions. And if you want to throw some data trust into the mix, start by familiarising yourself with the principles.

Moving on!

Signing up

Let’s say a mate motivated me to make the change (to our hypothetical bank, myBank). She’s been using myBank’s myLife feature for a couple of months. She reckons it’s awesome. I trust her word. I’m ready to make the switch.

I get started.

Shared objectives are starting to be defined (DTbD Principle 1). It’s time to make the purpose of the relationship (and the data processing activities) explicit. In this case myBank leads with a clear value proposal. They make data sharing a part of the experience. They ensure I’m informed and able to make choices about how my information is used. They’re progressively earning data trust (increasing my propensity to willingly share information).

This continues with upfront terms and conditions. They’re not hidden away. They’re exposed, layered and able to cater to different appetites for information density.

Getting the gist is enough for me so I move on.

My identity is then verified. Some cool interactions keep me engaged for a short moment. I’m ready to get into my new account.

Note: The next instalment of the DTbD series is ID Verification. We kept the above deliberately light in the previous post. Stay tuned for more depth!

Onboarding (decreasing Time to Value)

After a little navigation, myBank’s progressive onboarding experience (designed to decrease my Time to Value) introduces myLife. This is the feature of their app my mate was talking about.

Because this is an ancillary feature, myBank is asking me to consent to further data processing. If I agree they’re going to gain access to a broader and deeper view of my life. Ideally they’ll start to be able to deliver me some valuable outcomes (beyond storing some cash and facilitating a few debit card transactions).

I consent.

A couple of months go by…

Moments of delight

I’m on my way to work. It’s sunny. It’s chilly. Almost everyone surrounding me is receiving their morning dopamine hit. I’m observing the world. Then, unexpectedly, I receive a message. It’s an offer from myLife. It’s for something I’ve expressed interest in.

Who could say no to a cheeky double espresso from one of the city’s newest coffee houses whilst on their way to work? Certainly not me.

The experience feels familiar. Granting consent for the outcome (and the data processing) doesn’t feel like a burden.

I’m also given a receipt of what we’ve agreed.

And if I ever want to change my mind, revoking access to my data is just a few simple clicks away. I’m actually in control.

This is but a simple example of how Data Trust Design Patterns could help a bank deliver me an outcome I’d never expect.


This is just the beginning. Although it’s hard to believe, I’ve got bigger problems in life than my morning espresso. If my bank knows me. If they really know me, they might be able to help me navigate the complexity of life in ways I’m yet to imagine.

I’m thinking bills, travel, goals, investments, lifestyle, gifts and supporting causes I care about.

My bank can get to know me this way if they earn access to my data.

This can be the future of banking. In fact, the future of banking shouldn’t be about banking at all. It should be about people.

So, if you’re working in Open Banking, if you’re designing products and services that are inherently data-driven, we reckon a little Data Trust by Design can go a long way.

Here’s why

Client projects have been the primary use case for our DTbD work. So without disclosing specifics, let me give you a general sense for the impact DTbD is having in the program’s we’re running. Before I do that let me be very clear. These results don’t necessarily represent metrics for real life products and services. They come from our Data Trust by Design Program work, which means they start small, help build a body of evidence and inform implementation progressively.

Metrics that matter

  1. DTbD patterns increase people’s comprehension (the ability for a person to accurately articulate what they are sharing, why, for how long etc.) by approximately 60% (measured by accuracy of recall) when compared to control (i.e. checkbox with link to terms, privacy policy etc.)
  2. DTbD patterns decrease people’s time to comprehension (the time from first engaging with the UX to the time they’re able to explain exactly what they’re sharing, for what purpose etc.) by approx 10x when compared to control (existing design pattern for data sharing i.e. checkbox with link to terms, privacy policy etc.)
  3. DTbD patterns increase people’s propensity to willingly share data (i.e. ancillary data such as a bank proposing they process location data to help fulfil a specific outcome such as the best/cheapest coffee on someone’s way to work) by up to 8x when compared to control (existing design pattern lacking progressive trust building, context, transparency/granularity etc.)

Additionally, we’ve observed significant attitudinal (subjective) improvements where data subjects have communicated how seamlessly the data sharing request (DTbD pattern) was embedded into their experience. Rather than the request hindering the experience, people express gratitude and support for the way they were able to contextually share data on terms they were comfortable with.

Over the coming months we intend to carve out internal budget to fund research that will enable us to publicly showcase the direct impact DTbD has on people’s digital experiences. This is an exciting prospect, for me anyway.

What now?

Check out our DTbD content series. Make sure you start with Part 1.

We’re also running a series of (FREE) hands on workshops over the coming months in Melbourne, Brisbane, London, Dublin, Barcelona, Singapore and hopefully a bunch of other cities. You can keep up to date with these via our events page.

If you’d like to dive deep into DTbD and how it might apply to your work, get in touch. Speaking for myself here, I do enjoy a good coffee :)



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