WiseAlpha CEO Rezaah Ahmad explores the crucial link between an attractive, accessible platform and user confidence in managing personal finances and investments.
The UK FinTech sector received a record investment of £3 billion in 2020, making the UK the second largest FinTech market globally, following the US. Predictions from industry experts suggest this growth trend is set to continue, and this expanding user base means it is inevitable that platforms will need to keep digital transformation front and foremost in their toolkit as they work to accommodate a wider range of users. These users will include those with fewer resources, who are on the hunt for a platform which demonstrates enhanced user experience. The usability of a platform is a core driving factor in the fintech industry's ability to attract traditional banking customers.
With current annual growth rates exceeding 8% many platforms are working fast to develop features with usability at the forefront. Traditional banking is losing usership as consumers flock to fintech. This ranges from your average account holder to serious high-net-worth investors. Among a raft of stark industry warnings, McKinsey has predicted that by 2025 between 10 to 40 percent of bank profits could be under threat, predominantly because of the takeover of fintech companies.
This shift can be seen across the entire financial sector, including investment platforms. Millennials especially have begun turning their attention to fintech, given their natural affinity for technology; this generation is attracted by data and algorithms, as opposed to a traditional financial advisor. The fintech industry is churning out start-ups which all rely on state of the art technology with the intention of revolutionising financial services. Given the cultural increase in trust when it comes to technological developments, it makes perfect sense why younger consumers are turning to attractive digital platforms.
If we are to generally consider the growing user base of fintech to be millennial, who have an expectation of instant gratification as well as a high level of competence with regard to all things tech-based, then innovation and consistent platform regeneration are necessary measures of success. This idea of up-to-date digital platforms to please users is not simply a pipe dream, there is an industry track record for it. Companies ranging from the digital banking sector to payment platforms have set a precedent of utilising accessibility features and upgraded systems to encourage users to interact with them and take control of their finances. But what exactly are they doing and how are they getting it right?
Industry Precedent for Increased Usability
The likes of Revolut and Monzo are titans of the UK fintech industry, which have all developed customer-centric platforms that are the beating heart of their success.
Monzo is famed for its convenient and innovative features, which not only attract investment, but satisfy users to the fullest extent. Their 'make money work for everyone' mission placed universality at its core, and has worked wonders for the company's growth.
Challenger bank Revolut has many secrets to user success, one of many being the possibility of trading stocks without having to set up a separate trading account. Other features include spending insights being displayed within the app to help consumers fully understand their spending habits as they work to manage cash flow and set budgets and personal targets.
London based payment platform SumUp has developed a payment processing system that allows sellers to process payments using smart devices. Payment is made exceptionally easy through the ability to process payments either through a link sent to the user's mobile, or through an attachable card reader. SumUp is also highly popular with users after having developed a tool to aid business with social distancing measures.
Banked is another payment system which is revolutionising the UK finance climate. The platform offers account-to-account payment software which allows individuals or businesses to process payments in real time, but at a reduced cost. One particularly user-friendly feature of this platform is privacy; it promises security through hiding bank details during transactions. This feature is proof that features which encourage consumer trust are vital, and is something that we have harnessed at WiseAlpha.
Capital on Tap is a popular fintech company which integrates the top digital wallet apps, including Apple Pay. Mobile payments now have a 19.1% adoption rate in the UK, and this combined with the prediction that by 2022 cash will be the least popular method of payment, Capital on Tap, and other E-Wallets have harnessed exactly what it is that fintech users require, ease.
To further support the need for user-friendly access in fintech, there has been a call from consumers to make cryptocurrencies more user friendly. These users claim cryptocurrency is difficult to understand, due to a high amount of confusing jargon. This results in a belief that this sector is more insecure than traditional financial institutions.
WiseAlpha's new and improved digital offering
WiseAlpha is the UK's only digital bond market, with the ultimate goal of disrupting the trillion dollar corporate bond market, through making the previously inaccessible, accessible. This means offering Fractional Bonds to eligible independent investors for the first time ever. The pioneering nature of WiseAlpha means it is imperative that the platform is encouraging and straightforward for users.
There is a historical precedent for buying corporate bonds, in that it has never been readily available to the masses. The redevelopment of the new WiseAlpha website by our UX and Engineering team had the investors' interests at heart; we want them to trust our platform enough to manage their own portfolios with confidence, and the upgrade provides the necessary tools to do so.
Aesthetic equals trust
When approaching our recent platform upgrade our UX team was conscious that simplicity had to be the driver of each and every decision. There is a clear link between the success of a financial platform, and how its various features are integrated and visually represented in inspiring the confidence of clients. The WiseAlpha website is a self-service platform, which encourages users to manage their own portfolios, and with this offering comes the requirement of trust between user and platform. People need to feel as though their money is in safe hands; enhanced usability, functionality, navigation are just a few improvements we made in order to increase the comfort users feel with the WiseAlpha platform.
The platform allows us to fully display our portfolio, which clearly lists the bonds of a vast variety of corporate industry giants. Investors can filter by their preferred category, search for their bond of choice or browse the listed high street bonds, in order to develop their portfolio in a way that they personally see fit. The updated configuration streamlines the investment interface, creating a contemporary, attractive and simple layout which urges and empowers our members to fully take control of their investments.
We also recognise a willingness to change is vital to success. Platforms need to adapt to align with market growth, which we achieve through listening to what our users say and iterating these sentiments through improving the software. It is only the platforms that can deliver fast paced developments which meet and support constantly evolving consumer needs which will be best placed for growth and success in the fintech industry.