Service Design for the Underbanked

A “Clear Card,” a new form of gov’t ID regulated by our service, and debit card linked to your Clear account. This ID is linked to your fingerprint, has a “passport” photo, and requires two forms of contact info (email, phone, or address) that allows people to access any service that requires a gov’t issued ID, including their Clear account.

My contributions: Art Direction, Journey Mapping, Persona Development, Storytelling, Service Design. A collaboration with Isamu Taguchi & Colin Swenson.


Redesign USPS to offer banking services (deposits, money orders, checking accounts and other services) for the “underbanked” population.

Problem We Wanted to Tackle

The underbanked and unbanked population are underrepresented. They are unable to use banks due to a lack of ID, Social Security card, may be living paycheck to paycheck, have poor credit history, are skeptical of the banking system, etc. It is estimated that more than 30% of US households are underbanked. How can we design an experience that makes banking accessible, and for the people?

Research, Research, Research

So much research had to be done for this project. Here were some of the things we did:

  • Talked to homeless and undocumented people about their experience managing their money and barriers to opening bank accounts.
  • Market research on types of alternative financial services and what made them successful. Market research on government services and how one can qualify for them.
  • Put out a few surveys about banking and USPS.
  • Talked to a former USPS worker and went to a few different USPS for the experience.
  • Researched what banking / mailing options were available where.
We found that check cashing services were more prominent in areas where more economically marginalized people live such as in the Mission and Civic Center areas. Mailing services were more distributed throughout the SF area.

Why are people not using banks?

We found out that the main reasons unbanked and underbanked people do not use banks are due to:

This is how we knew, we needed to design a financial service that makes people feel welcome, comfortable, secure, and is accessible to everyone (especially for those without the right documentation to open accounts).


How does this fit into the ecosystem as a whole?

We knew implementing something this big would disrupt many industries, so we had to think about how Clear would impact the economy, government, and everyday people.


We had to brand ourselves just enough to separate us from USPS, but could still live within the ecosystem and feel trustworthy.

The App

Signing up on the App
We made signing up extremely easy, including for those that do not have a permanent address. They are able to pick up their Clear ID at a local USPS branch.

Quick, Simple Questions
In less than 10 minutes you can sign up for an ID.

Human Language 
No question is confusing, making it easy to get through the flow. With alternative screens for those who might not have a SSN or home.

Take Your Own Picture
No need to pay for professional pictures (but you can if you want at USPS). We even tell you the requirements for a gov’t ID so that you know exactly how to take the photo.

Thanks for reading! You can download our PDF of the final presentation pitch for USPS Clear and take a look at the rest of the assets we designed!