From crisis to clarity

How FinTech firms are shaking up the finance world by putting customers first

It’s no surprise that in the wake of the banking crisis a new breed of financial startups, known as ‘FinTech’, have emerged and now threaten to topple the traditional systems and the institutions that uphold them. Technology sits at the heart of FinTech firms, but so does a dedication to, and respect for, consumers. Unlike big banks, these startups are making waves by putting people first and building new products and platforms around their needs.

GoCardless, TransferWise, and MX (based in Utah) are all thriving FinTech companies who use Marvel to prototype features and test with users.

GoCardless, who specialise in recurring payments and have overthrown the old-school competition to become the UK’s leading direct debit provider, are very clear that user experience is behind their success. In an interview for Wired, their CEO Hiroki Takeuchi, said, “[FinTech firms are] giving people a really great experience where the banks have been typically giving poor experiences”. Similarly, TransferWise, who have revolutionised international money transfers, want to “humanise the machine” and make it clear, simple and fair for people to send and receive money overseas.

“What will ultimately separate us from the banks is being 10x easier”

Both GoCardless and TransferWise use Marvel to develop and test their platforms, enabling them to deliver a great experience for customers that complies with a myriad of regulations.

“What will ultimately separate us from the banks is being 10x easier”, says GoCardless’ Head of Design and UX, Tom Petty. “We do this by focusing on doing a few things really well, and iterating them over time. Marvel makes it really simple to try lots of different ideas side by side, without investing time into building each one”.

At TransferWise, the design team are constantly refining the product through regular feedback from internal teams and users. For Kish Patel, a designer at the company, the ability to collaborate within Marvel means everyone can have a look as a new feature takes shape. “It’s a great way of sharing a prototype and a vision. And, because it’s closer to what the real experience will be like, there’s less need to explain things”. And it’s not just the design team checking it out, others across the business in other functions are encouraged to comment and share feedback.

“Marvel allows the product to speak for itself”

Blake Brown, Creative Director at MX, is focused on being the bridge between the old world of finance and the new world of FinTech. MX partners with banks to make the end user’s lives better through technology. On Marvel’s LookBack feature, Brown explained, “it’s paramount to us being at the forefront of what we do. Testing and validating [using LookBack] doesn’t just make our lives easier, it’s making user’s lives better. We’d be in the dark ages without these tools – it takes the bullshit out of how we operate”. MX currently partners with more than 500 financial institutions and 30 online banking, core, and payment network providers.

“We don’t just say that we focus on the end-user, with Marvel, we really live it”

TransferWise also use Marvel to test with users. LookBack makes it possible to record exactly what real people do with the prototypes. “It means we can test an assumption about how a user will behave in the app,” says Patel, “Then we go back, solve the problems raised during user testing, and test it again”. This spirit of constant improvement is why over £500 million is transferred across the globe every month using the TransferWise platform, saving customers more than £22 million every month.

Iteration reaps similar rewards at GoCardless. Petty and his team used Marvel to fail fast, before launching vital features such as anti-money laundering checks and subscription plan sign ups. It may not sound glamorous, but compared to what went before, it’s hot stuff. GoCardless process $1 billion a year through their platform.

The FinTech world is making its mark not just through smart use of technology, but by being fundamentally more experimental and more user-focused than their traditional competitors. Marvel is just one of a suite of tools these innovative companies rely on, but it’s presence in their product and design teams is a key signifier of their potential for growth and capability to disrupt industries.

If you’re on a mission to disrupt industries and change the world, Marvel can help you get closer to users and the best possible solution. Have a look at our plans page, or get in touch to see what’s best for you. 

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