6 User-Interface Musts for Personal Finance Apps

No one wants to be in the dark about where their money is or how they are performing in the market.

One of today’s major investment apps is an improvement from the once every quarter mailers that brokers used to send out. Every bank app is better than monthly statement. Along with that, some fintech apps are more user-friendly and informative than others.

What user interface elements make for a great personal finance app? The following are essential for a top-notch user experience:

1. A target signal
Whether they are saving, spending or investing, your users have financial goals in mind. Although everyone’s preferences and risk preferences are different, provide predetermined fields for common goals.

Credit and checking account apps should ask about spending limits on overall and clear expenses. For example, you may want to spend less than $100 per week on groceries. If you reach or exceed that limit, your app should notify you.

Saving and investing apps should work the same way. Round, a new offering that gives everyday investors access to managers active on Wall Street, learn about the goals of their clients — such as homeownership, travel and retirement. By knowing how much a client is trying to save—as well as its timeline—Round’s clients receive customized portfolios based on their goals. Better yet, it helps them keep track of their progress.

2. Account or Asset Mixing Chart
Vanguard’s app may need a fresh coat of paint, but it does well in one key area: Vanguard investors get pie charts that showcase their ideal and current asset mix. In terms of visualization and percentage, they display how much of a user’s portfolio is allocated to asset types such as stocks, bonds and real estate.

Credit and banking apps should take a similar approach to spending. Use the chart to show what percentage of spending went into general categories like retail, restaurants, and services in a given time frame.

Another way credit and banking apps should break down spending is through accounts and authorized spenders. If a user maintains two accounts at a bank—a savings account and a checking account—he should probably be able to easily see how his assets are divided. Credit cardholders should be able to quickly check how much of the total bill each authorized user is responsible for.

3. Credit Score
Another thing every bank and credit card app should have: a credit score summary. Although users can request their reports from each of the three credit reporting agencies once a year, annual checks don’t cut it. Consumers need to see how their spending and payment habits affect their ability to get credit, and they need to know if their scores suddenly tank.

A credit score readout is not as important as investing apps, and to our knowledge none provide one. Still, it’s a minor feature that users will appreciate. The question of repaying debt or investing funds becomes easier when users have the entire picture in their palm.

4. Clear Transfer Tool
Most consumers have more than one financial account. When a credit card bill is due, they want to put more money into the market, or they are withdrawing money into savings, users need an easy way to transfer funds.

Although I won’t name the company because it fixed the problem, I recently spent hours on the phone because of an obscure transfer tool. When I went to transfer money to a checking account I recently opened, the text “from” and “from” in the app’s interface was cut off. As a result, I tried to withdraw money from the account which had nothing.

5. Click-to-contact functionality
No industry has strong customer support as important as finance. When users see an error, the transfer fails, or they are confused by the fee structure, they should be able to talk to a human.

Provide as many ways to reach users as possible. TD Ameritrade’s app is at the forefront of this category. At any time of the day and any day of the week, users have access to text, phone and instant messaging support.

This interface feature becomes even more important if you don’t have physical locations. TD Ameritrade has branches across the country, but not many online banks and brokers do.

6. Fee Breakdown
Nobody likes being in the fray for fees. Although you don’t want to rub your fee structure in your user’s face, you should make it clear and accessible.

What does that look like? Don’t stick the fee information in the terms and conditions document and call it a day. Take a look at Acorns: Users pay $1, $2, or $3 per month depending on their subscription level.

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