The techniques banking and other financial apps use to engage with users

Consumers accessed the finance apps over one trillion times globally in 2019, according to a report by Liftoff and App Annie. This category of apps is in general used more frequently than many others, coming in third behind social media and weather. Amid pandemic, the demand for and the use of these tools have grown significantly globally, and, I would say, they’ve become crucial in the daily funds management of many people. In the United States, the amount of time spent in the finance apps has grown by 35% since December 29 to March 15, 2020. And the growth in Japan and South Korea during the same period was phenomenal — 85%. That makes sense that their markets have room for improvement — a couple of years ago I wrote about the payment market in Japan having been highly dependent on cash.

At the same time, the retention rate for financial apps, like for most other apps, is low. The market is expanding, competition is growing, and companies are constantly introducing innovative technologies to their applications. The right interaction with users, based on personalized services and personal data processing, is now a central aspect in the work on retention techniques and the better user engagement, the growth of audience loyalty and average check. All this is necessary for the “life” of a banking or fintech service. Let’s analyze the main interaction methods.

App functionality and emotional elements. The Ukrainian market has been diverging from the perception of the finance apps as gray and boring tools that you don’t really want to work with for 3–4 years already. The great ideas for bright and logical UX/UI design, bonuses and cashbacks, concierge service, partnerships with charity and other organizations, etc. are being implemented. However, this is no longer enough to ensure the maximum benefit of the financial application for the user.

Each person has a special “relationship” with money. Someone perceives it as a subject of a competition, someone needs an advisor in its control and management, and someone needs an effective instrument of accumulation. The additional services and original options are created, including entertaining ones, for consumers to use the application more often and longer.

We won’t talk about the Monobank great experience with built-in games, achievements and so on — you know this very well and probably have used it. There’re a lot of cases in the global experience. For example, the Venmo payment service, which has reached a huge audience, including the buyers of generations Y and Z. Emoji, stickers, social media logic, the user-friendly payments processes, funny notes for friends and family, and the availability of information about purchases and transactions of other users. Or let’s remember the Credit Karma app: it now includes “stories” through which the user can get advice or provide more personal information to receive hyper-personalized offers. Or the new Status Money app, where you can anonymously compare your spending to those of the accounts with similar expenses and income. The platform enables people to make smarter financial choices and cut back on the spending following the app’s advice.

And it’s worth remembering about the gamification. The game mechanics are used as a tool to simplify and teach all technically incomprehensible financial transactions. Also, some financial management apps successfully use gamification to facilitate the process of paying off a debt or saving money. The fintechs borrow from the gaming industry the stimulating mechanics such as the progress animation and the reward mechanisms.

The information content of an app. It’s the key point for a financial application, especially its dashboard. Outside the banking, information sharing, as in investment application, can be a useful mechanic. The users are constantly looking for more information about what’s going on in the financial world, when making investment decisions. When an app provides news from reliable sources, offers useful digests, or sends out instant notifications about companies and stocks in their investment portfolios, it becomes valuable to the user. As a result the customer will use the application both to make a financial transaction and to receive fine content and relevant news offered to him, thereby engaging more with the product.

The investment platform Robinhood is now working hard on this method of interaction with the customer and is seeking to be a full-fledged news and financial information service for its users. This may result in Robinhood users spending less time on other apps.

Cards. The add card function is obviously a must-have today for any app that sells products or services. However, the fintech and banking apps already offer their own debit cards, transforming apps for budgeting and investing into a bank account. This method integrates banking services into the heart of a non-banking application and increases user interaction with an app.

Collaborations. The collaboration with different brands is a great way to provide customers with additional desire and ways to interact with a financial app. For example, PepsiCo partners with Venmo and PayPal to carry out loyalty programs. Cash rewards for purchases of certain PepsiCo products are automatically transferred to the customers Venmo or PayPal accounts.

It’s crucial to develop an application constantly, providing users with the greatest benefit and meeting the needs, which the customer himself didn’t know about. At the same time, it’s necessary to conform to native application features, use hyper-personalization and entertain users with original solutions, increasing their comfort.

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CEO of the international payment system LEO, the shareholder of IBOX Bank

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Alyona Shevtsova (Degrik)

Alyona Shevtsova (Degrik)

CEO of the international payment system LEO, the shareholder of IBOX Bank

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