Consumers are demanding more control in their spending experience

This article is part of the VB Lab Insights series paid for by Capital One.

Who doesn’t love one-click purchases? Today, we no longer have to rummage through our wallets or check our phones to find out where our credit card numbers are stored at an online payment site. We don’t need to parse our shipping address from our billing address. Gone are the days of frictionless online shopping.

Digital wallets and similar payment technologies virtually eliminate the need for cards and bills that stomp into pockets and wallets. Indeed, they have taken the world by storm: the volume of digital wallet payments is expected to grow by almost 40% by 2024, at which point will account for about 41% of all e-commerce payments.

But when it’s easier to spend, we tend to spend more. And that’s not always a good thing when we’re not sure where our money is going. The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign found that when consumers first start using mobile wallets, we have completed 23.5% more transactions, mostly cheap items; As a result, ours total spending increased by 2.4%.

So while digital wallets eliminate friction and allow for more spending, it comes at a cost: uncertainty, confusion and lack of confidence that we really know what we’re spending our money on. . Have you counted how many streaming services and auto-recharge products you are currently paying for? The advent of one-click spending has created its own set of challenges. Caring for the full health of their customers will be the next frontier for brands looking to create differentiated value.

With a human-centric approach to design experiences in digital spending, there is incredible potential to rethink how to give consumers confidence and control over their finances. more while maintaining simplicity and driving business results.

How great experience design can help achieve a customer’s core need

Human-centered designers approach every problem from the user’s point of view. We start by taking into account what they need (and sometimes, what they don’t know they need) from any given experience. When I think about great design in consumer finance, it’s not just about transactions. I think about experiences that help clients achieve their goals and aspirations. In essence, if my team and I understand what customers are spending on, we can help them get there through experience design.

Here’s a framework of core design considerations we’ve come up with, based on what customers want and need today:

  • Clarity: Find and eliminate invisible inefficiencies in the customer’s spending experience. Many of us are making payments across accounts, payment plans, apps, and merchants. No wonder it can easily get lost. Design must unravel and help users navigate these invisible culprits, or design them OUT of the experience altogether.
  • Trust: Removes the mental/emotional burden that can accompany spending by helping people distinguish between spending they must do, to doand want to do. Many of us regularly face the stress of navigating expenses around the things that have to be done (bills and unexpected home repairs); things that need to be spent (saving for a kid’s college fund); and the things we choose to spend (a night out on the town, a novelty coffee machine). Give users insights during the times that really matter so they can prioritize their spending accordingly.
  • Control: Make sure customer spending is in line with the rules they set for it. Giving users control over their spending is perhaps the most challenging part to do, for two reasons: 1) the rules, railings, and mental models that people apply to their spending have their own characteristics based on their personal financial situation and values; and 2) consumers are often resistant to investing time and energy in control their money. A user interface that provides interconnected support powered by data and machine learning can be more useful than a different set of tools and features.

Let’s take a few hypothetical examples of what this might look like – all of which are areas we’re exploring at Capital One. What if it was possible to give customers greater visibility into upcoming subscription renewals and – with just a tap or two – the ability to block automatic renewals without have their permission?

Or what if customers could easily see all of their upcoming bills and subscriptions before they’re charged – and make any necessary changes before they’re charged? This can save customers the time and hassle of managing subscriptions by keeping track of them and having all that information in one place.

How experience becomes competitive leverage

Most companies today have access to complex technology. But the way brands design and deliver experiences can be a real differentiating factor. The experience of spending one’s hard-earned dollars on a particular brand is one of the most intimate and important ways a company interacts with its customers. It requires deep trust from customers – especially when they are choosing a brand to do business with. In today’s world, trust is at a premium.

Empathetic and human-centered design can communicate and deliver brand values ​​and choices – signaling to customers that they are both understood and well-intentioned. While many brands may not want customers to examine spending too deeply, we see a great opportunity to bring more humanity, confidence and control to the well-being of their customers. and the company they entrust.

Jason Ferrell is executive vice president and head of design for Consumer & Card Banking at Capital One.

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