Credit Unions

Deep Dive: Why CUs Must Take A UX-Centric Approach To Digital Innovation

Credit unions know digital innovations are critical to recruiting and retaining members. Developing and offering innovative services that make a difference requires more than simply designing technological tools equipped with a host of capabilities, however. It also requires that credit unions (CUs) ensure such solutions are readily understandable and accessible. It won’t matter how many features mobile banking apps have if customers don’t — or can’t — use them, after all. 

These financial institutions must ensure their solutions are intuitive and easy to use if they want users to realize the offerings’ value and if they want to turn such tools into selling points. This month’s Deep Dive explores the importance of user user experience (UX)-informed designs and their critical impact on credit unions’ digital offerings. 

Missing Out On Mobile Apps 

Many CUs are deploying mobile services as part of an effort to compete with other FIs. But to get ahead, they must make sure their apps meet customers’ needs for clarity and accessibility. 

Mobile banking is particularly popular among younger generations, for example, but even more customers might use the technology if it was more user-friendly. A recent study by financial services company Harland Clarke found 51 percent of consumers aged 18 to 24 use such apps at least three times each week, but that many other customers refrain from doing so because of confusion over how they work. A full 20 percent of those in the 18-to-24 bracket are unsure how to use mobile banking apps’ mobile deposit features, according to the survey’s results, and nearly 25 percent of consumers of all ages — from 18 to older than 65 — who use mobile banking apps three times or more per week said the same. 

The credit unions that can find ways to make their mobile offerings more intuitive and easier to understand are likely to see the difference in their bottom lines, too. The Harland Clarke study reported that mobile banking costs FIs approximately $0.08 per deposit, compared to $0.80 for deposits completed at ATMs and $8 for those made with tellers at physical bank branches. 

Why User-Focused Design Matters

Product testing is key to ensuring user-friendly experiences, and many processes go into testing and rolling features out in ways that will resonate positively with consumers. A/B testing, which sees half the testers trial one version of a solution and half trial a different variation, is useful in such work but rarely sufficient. CUs need to ensure they are also staffing professionals skilled in properly designing features from the start. 

This means FIs must also employ UX specialists who can structure surveys, conduct research and collect data to gain insights into what customers need and how they think, then design mobile apps using that information. These experts can assist with assessing overall operational workflows in addition to other tasks, such as designing user interfaces that ensure they are clear and straightforward. That process might also include steps like determining easily recognizable icons to use in their apps or creating clear headlines for easier navigation, among others. 

It is safe to say that CUs need to offer enticing mobile offerings as they work to both cater to current members and recruit the rising wave of digital-native Generation Z consumers. Their apps must be secure, fast and offer intuitive user experiences, thereby ensuring that customers opening them for the first time can easily understand how to access the myriad capabilities FIs have invested in creating for them. 

Consumers’ expectations are always evolving, and credit unions must consistently introduce different technologies to meet their demands. FIs would thus be wise to take a UX-centric approach to designing their mobile apps, then apply that same lens to all future digital offerings. 



The PYMNTS Cross-Border Merchant Friction Index analyzes the key friction points experienced by consumers browsing, shopping and paying for purchases on international eCommerce sites. PYMNTS examined the checkout processes of 266 B2B and B2C eCommerce sites across 12 industries and operating from locations across Europe and the United States to provide a comprehensive overview of their checkout offerings.