Banking for the underbanked: USPS will soon be offering banking services, such as deposits, money orders, checking accounts and other services for the “underbanked” population.
What would the USPS Bank user experience for a new user?
Our goals were:
1. Design how someone would interact with all the digital touchpoints in this new service.
2. Make a promotional video about services that USPS banks offer
Who is our user group?
The underbanked refers to families that prefer to manage their finances only through cash transactions. Through interviewing people in poor neighborhoods that mainly use cash transactions, we narrowed down our user group. We focused on the underbanked people who cannot afford traditional banks and struggle to find suitable financial tools for themselves.
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Misguided fear towards banks
Why doesn't our user group use banking services? We found there is a misguided fear towards banks spreading through underbanked communities and their offspring. The underbanked lack financial literacy and cannot afford bank services, which causes the offspring to distrust the banks. This fear influences their financial management in the long run. There are already many great examples of post banks in different countries who assisted the underbanked efficiently. There is an opportunity for the USPS bank to create a friendly, safe and equal environment for everyone to do banking. They can provide accessible bank services and financial education while partnering with trustworthy community organizations.
How might we create a friendly, safe and accessible environment for everyone to do banking in USPS Bank?
To map out the service ecosystem, we created a persona of the underbanked with his current situation and needs. Then, based on the persona, we laid out how the user will experience the USPS Bank services for the first time. [img]
USPS Bank user experience
The user experience is crafted based on the experience provided in the existing postbank
Based on the user experience, we designed mockups of following touchpoints: ATM screens, physical USPS Bank, USPS Bank App and USPS Bank Website. Since we had never designed ATM screens before, we decided to focus on the ATM's user flow, while keeping the other touchpoints as static mockups. [img]
We created two user flows of ATM screens–one where the user makes a deposit, and another where the user makes a money order.
For this project, I created other touchpoints to craft a cohesive experience.
Prototyping the bank
By researching and analyzing the space usage of USPS post offices and post banks in different countries, we integrated USPS banks into the layout of a typical post office.
For this project, I created other touchpoints to craft a cohesive experience
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Trust your teammates
For the first two weeks of the projects, our project couldn't proceed to the ideation stage. We never finished the mission required for the meeting. Later we realized we didn't trust each others' ability so we never gave each other honest feedback. After we understood this issue, we started to build a more efficient collaboration method. Trust is very powerful in maximizing every teammate's potential.
Be explicit when defining the user group
Another problem we encountered was that we didn't narrow down our user group in the beginning. We found there are so many types of underbanked people. We were very confused about what the users' main pain points were and what problems we tried to solve. Our problem area became clearer only after we defined our user group specifically.