Chase x Farro Banking
A new service designed to meet the financial needs of millennials without bank accounts
Timeline: 3 months
Categories: User Research, UX strategy, Concept Ideation, Service Design, Prototyping
Collaborators: Yumeng Ji, Ke Hu
In 2017, some 17% of millennials in the U.S, were institution unbanked—they have neither a checking nor a savings accounts with a bank, credit union or savings & loan institution. The Chase Digital team approached us to design an application to service the needs of these unbanked millennials.
Farro is a special bank account aimed to achieve financial inclusion. It functions like a checking account but with smart bill payment and a credit growth system built within to help users improve their financial capability over time.
Our solution won the Top Solution Award amongst the 2017 class.
How It Works
Save away your "Fixed Amount" of expenses each month.
Anything left over is "Free to Spend."
When you swipe your Farro card, it only uses Free to Spend funds.
Register and pay your bills directly inside your bank app.
Save time, effort and build a positive track record with the bank.
Pay off your registered bills on time and in full for 6-12 months.
Get offered Farro credit in the equivalent amount of your bills. Now pay back your Farro credit and build your credit score.
We conducted extensive desk research and conducted interviews with 8 unbanked millennials and 4 banked millennials in the Bronx and Bedford-Stuyvesant. All of these users were intercepted at check cashing services and pawn shops.
Affinity Mapping & User Journey
We drew out patterns from our interviews to create clusters of attitudes, behaviors and situations. These themes and other desk research insights were mapped onto a user journey. This exercise quickly revealed the huge gap between bank's expectations of customers financial status and where our users stand.
From our research, we discovered three clear issues our users faced in their current financial situations.
CURRENT MONEY MANAGEMENT
All of our users calculated their spending in their heads and exclusively used cash. While this money management system was taxing, there was one positive aspect: they were extremely responsible about paying bills on time.
Farro is a special bank account that functions like a checking account but with smart bill payment and credit growth system built within.
Farro achieves 3 things:
It removes any access barriers so our users can actually afford a Farro account. That means no overdraft fees, no maintenance fee, no minimum balance.
It provides a built-in expense management tool. Inside the checking account, you can connect bills like rent or utilities and pay directly inside the Farro interface — saving time, effort and money.
Farro provides a credit line based on proven bill pay. By offering a credit line limited to the total amount of their bills, our users can learn to pay off a predictable, comfortable amount of credit. And they can always control the amount they accept.
How It Works
- Users deposit income into their account between their Fixed Expenses account and Free to Spend account.
This allows them to see their progress towards paying their bills, and how much money they can freely spend.
- Register and pay bills inside the Fixed Expenses account.
- When you swipe your Farro debit card, the card only pulls money from the Free to Spend account.
Users can pay for bills directly inside their Fixed Amount view. They can also use the "r" icon to toggle between a normal view and a timeline view.
After consistent bill payment, Farro offers Farro credit to pay for bills instead. Users now pay back the Farro credit and build their credit score. Farro sends users payment notification reminders as their bill due dates come up.
Why customers trust Farro
- The physical act of holding cash gave our users a sense of control. To them, numbers felt like abstractions. Our UI uses images of cash to communicate their balances.
- All of Farro’s core functionalities mirror the users’ core needs, meaning Farro has an immediate effect on their everyday lives.
- We empower users to control their credit and payment methods.
Why banks trust Farro
- New accounts opened, means more transactions and more revenue.
- By creating a more sustainable relationship, we increase retention rates and can graduate users into other bank products like an unsecured credit card.
- Gathering data on customer’s money management also helps us improve risk evaluation, and identify missing needs in our product strategy.
What Did I Learn From This Project?
- This project taught me that financial inclusion can be good business. Not only should safe banking services be available to every citizen of the world, but the banking experience also has a long way to go in user-centric design. Right now, most banking applications are simply a way to store money and keep records.
- Looking for invisible users meant we took whichever user interviews we could get. This led to varied user histories and insights.
- Not all demographics prefer sleek, fancy UI. Design inherently communicates who we expect to use the product, and as designers we need to understand the products our users typically interact with.