Credit card

Credit Card Journey

Service Design
A major bank in Israel asked us to examine their process of issuing new credit cards to clients.
The existing process was riddled with issues and generated a lot of customer complaints. We embarked on the project looking to map the client journey from start to finish, then redesign it.
User Research | Benchmark | Synthesis | Personas | User Journey Mapping | Co-creation Workshop | Storyboard Prototype | User Validation

2019 | Consulting project at EY Israel
We started with a thorough research phase that included:
stakeholder interviews, client interviews, observations in bank branches, data analysis, and a global benchmark

Bank branchCall centerCredit Issue
Persona 1Persona 2Persona 3Persona 4Persona 5Persona 6
Using this research, we created 6 representative client personas.
Each persona was fleshed out to express relevant attributes such as attitude towards money, financial literacy, preferred mode of communication with the bank, and more.
Persona characteristics
The research led to several major insights, which later informed the redesign of the journey.
Post-it wall

The process is plagued with a lack of transparency or clarity for clients throughout all stages

  • The client gets no explanation about the stages of the process
  • There is no ability to compare the different credit cards online
  • If a card was picked for the client by the banker in the bank branch, he doesn’t explain to the client how he picked it
  • The client is not updated on whether his request for a new credit card was approved or declined
  • The client is not informed when their credit card has arrives in the bank branch
  • Another hurdle is the faulty communication between the direct channels (website, app and phone) and the bank branches. Again and again, the client feels that their past interactions with the bank have somehow been forgotten.
“I went to pick up the card from the bank branch because I had a feeling it might already be there. It wasn’t.”
“They told me to come pick up the card in about a week. I didn’t receive any messages or updates during that time”
“I ordered a specific card online, but when I got to the branch they gave me a completely different one”
Client Quotes

Furthermore, the bank takes a very passive and technical stand 

Currently the bank delivers a very technical and unified experience to all clients.
For example, when sitting down with the client, the banker usually does not do any of the following:

  • Find out the client’s reason for wanting a new credit card
  • Ask how the client intends to use the new client card (will it be their main card, secondary, a back-up, or other)
  • Sell the client on the value this new card can bring them 
“I always choose for them the Mastercard Gold, it doesn’t really matter”
”I usually pick their card limit according to their salary, if they don’t like it they can change it later” 
Banker Quotes

Therefore, the client is forced to be very active in order to achieve their goal

" I ordered the card online. I picked delivery by messenger, but then it turned out you need an ID card for that. So I cancelled the delivery. The delivery guy said "they'll call you", but no one called. so I called the delivery company. The woman who answered didn't know what happened to the card, she said it was probably returned to the bank. I went to the bank branch but they also didn't know where the card was. They said "talk to the credit card company". I called them but couldn't reach them. I went to my bank branch again. The card wasn't there. Eventually I suggested cancelling and ordering again.
The card hasn't arrived yet... "

When the client does get their hands on the longed for credit card, there is an entirely missed opportunity to “celebrate” the card 

As opposed to other interactions with the bank, getting a new credit card is something that clients generally associate with positive feelings.

A credit card is a key to all that money can buy.
It creates new possibilities and hints at newly accessible luxuries.

Neobanks tend to celebrate the credit card as a consumer good in itself, investing in chic new designs for this supposedly banal object and making it a coveted status symbol.

Beyond just ignoring this opportunity to strengthen its brand, the bank was also failing to make any impression at all on clients

In the world of customer experience, leaving no impression is almost as grave a sin as leaving a bad impression.

”Honestly, I don’t even remember what happened when I ordered the card”
”I think someone called me... or maybe I called... no wait, I ordered it online”
”What was it like getting the new card? Well, it wasn’t like getting a new package from Amazon...” 
Client Quotes

Finally, it is apparent that the appeal of the bank issued credit card is in decline in the face of rising competitors

When asked how they choose credit cards in general, most clients talked about the card’s benefits (mainly discounts at popular stores) . However, when it came to bank credit cards, they said they were all the same.

So why did they order one?

Clients felt that bank credit cards made it easier to control finances
Clients believe that banks are the safest place for their money
Don’t know any different
Some clients assume that having a bank account requires them to have a credit card with the bank

Due to the rising of “unbundling” in the financial market, and the growing power of fintechs and credit card companies, who are hard at work on changing established public perception, all these advantages are in the process of weakening.

We held several online ideation workshops with bank employees from all relevant departments. In them we generated ideas addressing issues throughout the client journey, regarding all touchpoints, and considering different personas and client needs.

Ideation workshop
The New
Client Journey
The new client journey was designed according to several values that address pain points and friction in the current journey:
Transparency | Seamlessness between different bank channels | Minimal effort | Personalization | Immediate satisfaction
The new journey also addresses opportunity areas:
  • Creating client engagement and expectation while waiting for new card
  • “Celebrating” the card
  • Motivating clients' first time use of card
  • Strengthening and emphasizing the value of having a bank credit card 
Storyboard frameStoryboard frameStoryboard frameStoryboard frameStoryboard frameStoryboard frameStoryboard frame
The new client journey was presented in storyboard form to potential clients.
Reactions were very positive, and had these points of emphasis:
  • In terms of providing a sense of ease and security throughout the journey, interviewees were very pleased with the features added, and described the new journey as “breezy”.
  • Interviewees also reacted very positively towards any feature which gave them a sense of personalization, even with small, supposedly insignificant ones. 
  • Interviewees didn’t spot any moments of possible confusion or indecision, and said it seemed that all the information they needed was provided. 
  • Anticipation for the card was said to be effectively generated by the notifications and reminders hyping the card’s attributes.
  • Finally, it is important to note that many expressed doubt about the odds that all features will be implemented successfully and as depicted, and stressed about many a feature that it is great “if it really works”.
Following this project, the bank has completely overhauled their credit card issue process, while implementing many of the suggestions that were put forward.

The effectiveness of the project has led to many more projects with bank, concerning both existing bank offerings, and the development of completely new services and products.