Designing Mobile Banking Apps

July 25, 2022

Today, banking apps are in wide use among consumers, not just professionals. Leading banks cooperate with experienced financial technology, or fintech, software-development companies to create efficient banking solutions that can meet the requirements of any customer.

In this era of increased mobility, digital services are becoming more and more popular. Therefore, it is vitally important to offer customers both Web services and mobile apps. Customers want to be able to manage their money in most situations and do it in the easiest way possible: using a mobile app. Their comfort of use greatly depends on a mobile app’s design.

In this article, I’ll consider the importance of UX design when developing mobile-banking solutions.

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Reasons for the Popularity of Mobile-Banking Apps

Digital-banking solutions are among the most important and most popular fintech apps. Other such apps include loan, insurance, tax filing and management, personal-finance management, payment processing, and investment apps. Banking apps enable people to control their finances, pay their bills, exchange currencies, pay for services, and transfer money, as Figure 1 shows.

Figure 1—Capabilities of a banking app
Capabilities of a banking app

Image source:

In 2021, 64% of Americans used banking apps, and the number of people willing to manage their money online is gradually growing. Using the Internet instead of going to a bank’s regular branch office helps customers save time. Digital services are available 24/7, in any corner of the world, which is extremely convenient. You can go on vacation abroad and still be able to pay for your landline, electricity, or other utilities. The COVID-19 pandemic has also affected the growth of online-banking transactions because people want to reduce unnecessary contacts with others. According to the American Bankers Association, 99% of adults are extremely pleased with their digital-banking experience.

Financial companies also profit from banking apps, which allow them to reduce operating costs, get a good return on investment (ROI), enhance the customer experience, and implement a personalized approach to banking.

Four Key Design Features of Successful Mobile-Banking Apps

There are some crucial principles that UX designers and developers should keep in mind when creating banking software. For example, security is a top-priority feature of any fintech app. Financial institutions must protect customers’ data and money.

UX design might seem less important than the functionality that protects users’ data, but it determines whether an app is user friendly and, thus, affects its adoption and popularity. No matter how many functions a banking solution provides, if it is difficult to use, customers will abandon it for a competitor’s app. Let’s consider four key features of a well-thought-out UX design for any fintech app.

  • simplicity—Fintech apps handle complex data, but must remain user friendly. An online-banking solution benefits from having a simple, minimalistic design that helps customers to concentrate on the app’s most frequently used functions. Product managers and UX designers should not overload a fintech app’s user interface. It is best to place only essential content on the home screen—for instance, bank cards, operations history, balance information, and transfer/payment options—and hide all secondary features by placing them on other screens. Simplicity also makes an app aesthetically pleasing. 
  • intuitive design—Avoid putting off customers by making an app overly complex, especially on screens where they’re managing their money. Predictability and clarity help users navigate an app without reading any instructions. Include elements that are in wide use in other applications to create an impression of something familiar. Intuitiveness helps customers to make transfers, pay bills, or exchange currency quickly. Thus, intuitive designs save them time and effort.
  • customizability—People who use mobile-banking apps have different needs and preferences. Plus, their aesthetic perceptions may also differ. That is why it is important for customers to be able to customize an app to make it more convenient for them. However, the modifications that customers make could affect both the user experience and the user interface—for example, if they leave only primary functions on the home screen or if a customer changes the background color or picture. To prevent such design issues from occurring, you should preferably provide different variations of the main screen that users can choose rather than allowing fine-grained customizations. Plus, users should be able to keep all the relevant information and functions at hand.
  • adaptability—Today, customers access mobile-banking apps not only on their smartphones but also on tablets and smartwatches. Thus, their screen sizes can differ significantly. The amount of information that is convenient to read on a tablet might be next to impossible to take in using a smartwatch. Also, the typical use cases for these users are not the same. Bank customers are highly unlikely to perform complex transactions using their smartwatch. They’d rather use their watch to check their balance when shopping in a department store. Therefore, developers should consider adaptive design and create separate layouts for smartphones, tablets, and smartwatches. But they must still keep the brand style, fonts, colors, and icons to show that it is still the same product, albeit for different devices

Essential Steps of the UX Design Process for a Mobile-Banking App

To develop efficient banking solutions, you should take the following steps:

  1. Research your target audience. To develop a solution that is both convenient to use and appealing to users, you need to research your target audience. What needs do your app’s potential users have? What transactions and operations are they likely to perform most often and in what contexts? What problems do users usually face when interacting with a fintech app? What mobile-banking features do users see as primary? All these and other relevant questions help designers to define key functionality.
  2. Work out user flows. When building scenarios for possible use cases, designers should create user flows similar to that shown in Figure 3. This enables them to understand the logic of typical user actions and define their order. It is important to predict all possible scenarios and create different user flows for them.
  3. Create a sitemap. This depicts a banking app’s hierarchy. Visual representations of key features help designers to develop the solid, rational structure that is necessary to ensure seamless user interactions with the app. Figure 3 shows an example.
  4. Create wireframes. These simple layouts indicate the locations of elements on each screen. They schematically show what the app should comprise.
  5. Build a prototype. This is an interactive version of the app that looks almost like the final product. It includes more detailed information and demonstrates the app’s functionality.
  6. Test the app. To finalize the app’s design, it is necessary to test it. One good option is A/B testing. By offering separate user groups different versions of a banking-app design, you may be able find the most convenient solution and rely on actual user preferences.
Figure 2—A workflow
A workflow

Image source: Miro on

Figure 3—A sitemap
A sitemap

Image source:


When developing a personalized mobile-banking app, you should consider both its functionality and its usability. Your customers can benefit fully from a simple, intuitive, and aesthetically appealing solution. A mobile-banking app’s UX design can also influence the overall image of a financial institution. When customers receive evidence that a company cares for them, they remain loyal and recommend their services to their friends and relatives. 

CEO at Andersen Lab

Wilmington, Delaware, USA

Alexandr KhomichAlexandr collects and works with data across a diverse set of interests, including machine learning, finance, and technology. Having been part of the IT family for years, his aim is to transform IT processes in support of business transformation. He has significant experience with generating actionable insights from large-scale data sets. Alexandr enjoys working on complex problems that require significant planning, critical thinking, and unique insights to solve.  Read More

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