Banking UX

User experience isn’t just about design, but clarity and flexibility of an API

User experience isn't just about design, but clarity and flexibility of an API. Image: kirill_makarov, Shutterstock
Written by Daniel Gusev

As people rely more on automation of their routines, data providers should simultaneously think about how their data can be sourced via APIs. Story by Daniel Gusev.

This post is inspired by Brett Scott’s tweet about the shift from customer experience to user experience, where I pushed the thought of digital self-service even further, to an algorithm state.

Three years ago, I wrote a decent post (on a now defunct platform, the name of which I can’t even remember, that was automatically republished on my Tumblr) that’s still valid today; of the inevitable arrival of API as a norm and a mandatory channel for banks. As people drive for more data and increased frequency of checking, it will impact how any institution:

  • manages the data at the architectural level. Inevitably, the craving for the constant and near real-time, incessant clicking urge will increase the number of pings going to a bank’s servers, asking more from Apache servers and other load-balancing elements, following the 19th century Jevons Paradox
  • pushes the data to the devices that would at some point create the need for the data to be consolidated, recombined, and processed for ease of use.

One of the problems banks have (by right of inheritance) is the language they operate and enforce, thus most of the time the data is encoded in a banking language where people:

  • demand the language they frequent on the internet services they use most often
  • want the data to be embedded or otherwise contextualized, with the rites or habits that are already there.

Where banks at first fought a losing battle for people’s attention span, the very hands of the customers they’re fighting for are choosing ways to save time. Where banks rabidly pushed their users to excesses of spending, the new norm is to now keep a close guard on personal consumption, and save.

The internet engine, combined with connectivity, allows people to form societies with full richness of communication, permitting rapidly exchanged thoughts, opinions and experiences on their financial lives. This creates a ‘middle-ware’ that reformats the communication from service providers and distils it to simple truths that are channelled through the social fabric of people around you. It allows a user to dispel and really grasp the necessity for buying this now and for the specified amount.

Here and there, the web in general (and those selling services on it) becomes a better financial adviser, simply because it learned the laws of connectivity before banks did. Where most people thought that being social meant launching a social media community, it really was something different. Diverse horizontal communities slowly crawled, and started offering investment advice (eToro), P2P Insurance schemes, loans (take your pick from a diverse P2P lending marketplace), and so on. Banks are still part of the picture, as they provide funding and sometimes act as intermediaries, but users increasingly interact with them through intermediaries that connect to banks via APIs.

Henceforth, banks’ plans for digital channel ecosystems should include an API and an external developer relationship right from the very beginning, simply because you cannot fathom all use cases that would include your financial license and your KYC/risk management/arbitrage experience and correspondent network experience. You cannot stand idly by and slowly lose all of these elements to newcomers, and recombine financial products in conjunction with ecommerce.

– This article is reproduced with kind permission. Some minor changes have been made to reflect BankNXT style considerations. You can read the original article here. Main image: kirill_makarov, Shutterstock

About the author

Daniel Gusev

Daniel Gusev describes himself as a payments geek, innovation practitioner, and startup amateur. He is the founder of FinFit, co-founder of C24app.com, and a mentor for Startupbootcamp FinTech.

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