Insight Mobile Banking

Insight is a mobile app that provides essential tools to monitor, manage, and automate your finances. It uniquely combines the robust account management of a banking app with the intuitive budgeting features that you need to stay on track.

Insight Mobile Banking App - Dashboard
Insight Mobile Banking App - Login Insight Mobile Banking App - View Transactions

Application Overview

Monitor: Gain a greater understanding of your spending and saving habits with Insight’s advanced analytics dashboard and budgeting tools that track and categorize every transaction for you. And with balance push notifications and SMS alerts, never worry about overdrawing your accounts again.

Manage: Insight is a one-stop shop for full control of your finances. Having administrative access to all your accounts in one place allows you to act on new information swiftly and at your convenience.

Automate: Set it and forget it. Let us take care of your recurring bills so you can focus on more important things. Plan ahead and schedule major transactions such as money transfers, saving towards goals, and investment trades weeks in advance.

Mobile Banking & Finance Apps on the Rise

Mobile banking apps offer greater convenience and security to consumers. Nowadays, pretty much every bank has its own mobile app, which account holders can use for free to access their account and perform transactions such as transferring or depositing money.

Mobile Banking, Investment, Payment, and Budgeting Apps

But We're Still Dropping the Ball on Personal Finance

7 out of 10 Americans do not keep a household budget 50% of Americans have less than one month of emergency savings

According to the Pew Research Center, 56% of Americans own a smartphone. This presents a great opportunity to provide people with the tools they need to take control of their finances.

If so many financial apps exist, why are so few people using them effectively?

I began my research by performing a competitive analysis of popular banking, investment, and budgeting apps. After learning about the range of apps available, I interviewed users of popular financial apps and browsed reviews of each app to identify user needs and pain points.

Competitive Analysis: Mobile Banking and Budgeting Apps

Limited in Scope

Traditional banking apps give customers the ability to manage their money, but provide few tools for monitoring or automating their finances. Budgeting apps such as Mint allow users to plan their finances, but not to manage them. Having to use multiple apps to manage accounts is inconvenient.

Lack of Functionality

For the most part, everyone I talked to appreciated the convenience of using a banking app, but many of them felt that the apps were lacking in functionality compared to the web experience. One user frequently used the Vanguard app to check his portfolio performance, but never to buy or sell funds, since he couldn’t find an option to schedule or automate a transaction with a price threshold. A reviewer of the Bank of America iOS app complained that she wasn’t able to manage her credit card rewards from the app, even though it was possible on the website.

Structure & Complexity

A common complaint across the board was that user flows were too convoluted and difficult to follow. Many apps have robust functions hidden away inside nested menus, making it difficult for users to mentally locate tools and options. I saw this as an opportunity to capitalize on touchscreen gestures to help users navigate more quickly, with minimal thought involved, and to easily memorize the locations of frequently accessed functions with muscle memory.

Security Concerns

Several people mentioned that they used their apps to check their account balance, but never to conduct financial transactions. This was largely because they questioned the legitimacy and security of the interface. Sometimes this was due to technical problems or fear that unfamiliarity with the app would lead to errors, but usually it was because the app’s interface design did not “appear” trustworthy.

I feel like my bank doesn’t care much about the security of my banking info, and accessing it on the phone is either scary or too time consuming. Even though mobile banking might be more secure than online banking, it's more the feeling of it being not secure that bothers me.

- TD Bank Mobile App User

Process Overview

After conducting competitive research and interviewing users, I created a features list around three types of functions: Monitor (track and analyze transactions), Manage (manually perform account transactions and change account settings), and Automate (set up scheduled payments and transfers). In the site architecture, these features are distributed between three distinct areas of governance: the Analytics Dashboard, Financial Accounts, and Budgets.

Insight App Process Sketches - Features List

Features List

While researching other financial apps, I started a list of intuitive and useful features for Insight. I found that most of the features fit into one of three categories: Monitor, Manage, or Automate.

Insight App Process Sketches - Application Architecture

Application Architecture

After sketching out a few possible versions of the application architecture, I decided to organize the app around a main dashboard that provides a bird's eye view of the user's finances.

Swiping left and right in the dashboard surfaces deeper-level analysis, while swiping up opens a persistent drawer which houses banking, credit, and investment accounts.

Budgets can be accessed under "Recent Activity" (home screen) in the dashboard. Once users are in Accounts or Budgets, they can tap the home icon to return to the dashboard.

Insight App Process Sketches - Rapid Prototype and User Flows

Prototyping User Flows

Next, I created a rapid prototype of the overall structure using wireframe sketches of each screen arranged into user flows for Dashboard, Accounts, and Budgeting. After developing the overall structure of the app, I started to design individual screens and flows.

Introducing Insight

Insight Mobile Banking App - Login Flow

Enhanced Security

App-based banking tends to be more secure than browser-based banking since users connect via mobile data instead of Wi-Fi, people don’t tend to share their smartphones, and since phishing and viruses affect desktops more commonly than mobile devices.

Most online banking apps and desktop sites use Sitekey, a two-point login system that shows the user a pre-selected photo to verify the identity of the site before entering their password. In recent studies, Sitekey has been shown to be ineffective 75% of the time, as most users failed to notice when the photo was not present.

Instead of using Sitekey, Insight sends you a one-time password via SMS to your phone number on record. This system protects you from phishing and password thieves while preventing unauthorized access to your account. If you have already logged in during the same session, you have the option of using Touch ID.

Insight Mobile Banking App - Dashboard Flow

Intuitive Analytics Dashboard

Insight’s analytics dashboard allows you to monitor all of your financial transactions from one place within the app. Simply swipe right to switch between each summary.

Insight Mobile Banking App - View Transactions Flow

Accessible Accounts

From most screens, you can access your accounts at any time by swiping up on the accounts drawer. Select the account you would like to manage, and you’ll see your account activity with options to monitor, manage, and automate your transactions for that particular account. Once you’re done, tap the home button to return to the dashboard.


Conclusion

The idea for this independent project grew from my interest in personal finance apps. Despite the logistical challenges of accessing multiple financial accounts from one app, I wanted to design a powerful tool that gives users a complete understanding of their financial health. In the future, I see a great opportunity for financial institutions to offer budgeting and analysis features along with mobile banking to attract customers.

User feedback to early screens and prototypes has been mostly positive, although some have mentioned touch target sizes seem small. I'm excited to build out the Smart Budgeting portion of the app, as well as develop flows for Emergency ATM Withdrawal and Automatic Payments. Moving forward, I plan to build an interactive prototype of Insight and conduct more user testing in order to improve on the existing model.

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