Accorn – Agency Banking

role:
User Experience Design
User Interface Design
Length:
3 Weeks
Outcome:
UX & UI Design
UX Research
Style guide & UI components
Interactive Prototypes

Overview

Accorn utilizes a network of local merchants, in areas where traditional banking usually doesn’t have a presence, to provide basic banking services.

The agent is equipped with basic knowledge of the application and they get to provide banking services to the rural populace with just their mobile application.

View the interactive prototype here

The challenge

Nigerian banks and banking services, as well as those offered elsewhere, are constantly evolving. Every day, new technologies and advances emerge, and increased exposure promotes greater financial inclusion. However, 36 per cent of Nigeria’s 106 million adults (18 years and older) are still entirely financially excluded, or 38.1 million people.

People are unbanked for a variety of reasons; some are their own doing, while others have been forced upon them as a result of various circumstances.

The following are only a few of the many causes of under banking:

  • Poor credit history
  • Lack of trust in mainstream banking
  • Problems with language and literacy
  • Unemployed or lack steady income

The majority of people who are underbanked reside in rural and semi-urban areas.

Market research

Agent banking has become popular as a method to increase financial inclusion in many Global South nations since the mid-2000s. Since 2009, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and some local fintech startups have been aiming to replicate the success of agent banking and mobile money models in Nigeria.

According to a 2018 poll by Enhancing Financial Innovation & Access (EFInA), 65 per cent of Nigerians were deterred from conventional banking institutions by affordability hurdles like inconsistent income and the cost of having a bank account. In a country with 200 million people, there are fewer than 8,000 bank branches, and most of them are concentrated in the major cities, so it is not unexpected that a quarter of respondents claimed that “banks are too far.”

OPay, TeamApt, Paga, and MTN, Nigeria’s telecoms behemoth, have emerged as four of the biggest agency banking fintech in the country.

The business goal was stated as soon as I comprehended the agency banking landscape and rivals; undertaking comprehensive research through the UX lens was a little odd and required some getting used to. Determining the most effective method to build a service that works for all stakeholders, it means putting more emphasis on having empathy for both consumers (unbanked) and agents.

Stakeholders involved

Accorn (Host)

Agents (Product Users)

Customers (Unbanked and Underbanked)

Access to basic financial services like a savings account and payment of bills is a huge market for our target audience.

Solution

I was able to define various project goals after developing some high-level product requirements:

  • Agents reside in the same community as the customers so the level of trust in using the service is high.
  • A customer’s phone number is his account number
  • Any phone can serve as the agent’s digital bank, there are no technicalities involved.
  • Avenue for additional income on the part of the agent
  • No account opening or withdrawal limit

Persona

I had concentrated on the two sorts of Product Users, who make up the majority of the user base, for this early iteration. I combined the user profiles I built into a single persona, however, because the product is a single offering that is distinguished by responsibilities and permissions. Based on the UX research, the following persona exemplifies those roles and aids in keeping the design process user-centred:

Userflow

The user flow was designed to be as simple as possible so users can perform an action with a maximum of 3 clicks.

Wireframe

Creating a wireframe for this project was necessary so that I can better understand the structure of the application and how to place information so users do not have to think before using it.

Design system

I began by determining the colours of the product, which are often taken from the organization’s brand requirements. When the company lacks any, I create colours for the project in accordance with colour psychology. I created a thorough component library that includes icons, buttons, form components, error and empty states, show cards, and content cards after defining my typography, grid, and other design features. I used the 8-point grid system.

UI design

View the interactive prototype here