A design of a banking app aimed at digital natives to make financial transactions online
To design a challenger bank for local Ghanaians and incorporate features which would be appropriate for a digital bank in Ghana
The Ghana digital finance space continues to grow with new players and regulation. With things becoming more digital and features like Mobile Money continuing to grow exponentially, banks and other financial institutions need to be aware of the changing trends in regards to digital.
The Bank Of Ghana, aware of this growing trend of digital transactions, recently introduced legislation to help with the growth and regulation of the fintech space.
Banks in Ghana are slowly moving more towards more digital solutions. Banking institutions like Standard Chartered, Stanbic, Fidelity Bank amongst others have been pushing their banking apps to consumers to help encourage more online transactions.
Although banks are looking to be more digital, most still lean towards marketing to big companies and clientele. In a country like Ghana with a young population, there seems to be a gap in reaching out to more young entrepreneurs, young working people and early startups.
Young people tend to be more internet savvy and are more likely to use online and digital solutions than having to go through physical or manual processes.
In view of this, I designed a concept on what a bank looking to go "fully" digital might look like in order to attract the young and upcoming generation.
Most banks are now adopting to the digital age. They’re releasing mobile apps for their customers to use for online transactions. But some of their processes including applying and onboarding to a new bank are still mostly manual.
If you’re signing up with a bank, you have to go through the manual process which includes physically filling out an application form and physically presenting a nationally recognised ID card.
The Know-Your-Customer (KYC) process can be a bit cumbersome with banks requesting IDs, proof of residence (which require a utility bill or other proof of address) and long forms to fill out.
Another thing to note, from a previous research project I did, I observed that most (young) people aren’t really into savings when it comes to using their bank account and tend to use both current and savings account as “current” accounts.
As stated before, banks aren’t as “encouraging” when it comes to targeting young people.
In the UK, challenger banks like Monzo and Revolut are making the headway in attracting more young people because that demographic tend to be more digital. The average age of sign ups for challenger banks is around 31, compared to 48 years old for traditional banks.
With all this in mind, banks in Ghana looking to go fully digital and attract younger individuals need have a unique user experience with their online services as well as making the application process as attractive and seamless as possible.
This is all conceptual but it’s a blueprint for how to create a digital banking experience
Streamlining The KYC Process
Standard Chartered Bank recently made it possible for users to open an account with their mobile app without having to visit a physical branch. So far, it’s the only bank that has achieved this.
If we were to design a fully digital bank, the first thing would be to design a process where opening an account is easy and streamlined as well as making the KYC process easier.
In our flow, the process is as simple as possible:
- Create a short form on the app which only asks for essential information from the user
- Allow the user to scan and upload an official ID using their phone for verification
- Allow the user to upload a selfie to verify that they and their ID is authentic.
Companies in Ghana like Appruve and BACE group are helping with facial and ID recognition which can help speed up the process of verification especially with the KYC process. Implementing Facial recognition features will be beneficially in speeding up the account opening process.
So what features should a digital banking solution have?
Let’s start with the basics: It needs to have the ability to — Receive Money, Send Money and Top Up Their Account.
In addition to the basics, having other essential services would be beneficial. Services like Mobile Data And Airtime, Utilities (Electricity etc), and TV Services are definitely a must have.
Features like Scan QR code and Banking Services would also be welcome additions.
There would be an assumption that users would already have registered for prior payment services so it would be best to give them the option to add those services onto their banking app.
With our concept, we give the user the option of adding their Bank Cards, Bank Accounts, and Mobile Money to the app.
At the moment, Banks in Ghana doesn't have any Open APIs frameworks for integration where a user’s bank account can be debited online for a payment. But since we’re considering the future, we’re assuming that it would be in place for easy integration.
With an Open API in place, users would sign in to their bank account and approve the use of their account for payment as well as check for transactions on that specific bank account.
Even though going digital is the future, cash will still be in heavy use in the short term. With that in mind, use of a physical card will be essential for customers to take out cash from their local ATMs.
With our design, there will be an option for users to order a Physical Card (for a fee) which will be linked to their account for use at ATMs.
This is just a small example of what a future challenge bank in Ghana could look like.
Creating a challenger or purely digital bank could have its own unique challenges when it comes to legislation but the Bank of Ghana is trying to push for more online transactions and digital services in the coming years with their roadmap for Ghana to go cashless.
Sooner than later, a full Digital Bank could easily emerge.
You can play around with an interactive prototype of the concept banking app employing the features above: Prototype