Next generation savings account: monarc

CHALLENGE

How might we change the way millennials interact with the traditional banking?
Last semester, Citi Ventures, a Citi's global corporate venturing arm, approached the class to create a mobile app that helps millennials to save more.

OUTCOME

Finance is complex. We design a goal-oriented financial mobile app that helps millennials to save diligently. Solution integrated existing social media behaviors to better communicate and engage with the target users. 

DISCOVER CONTEXT

One of the largest generations in history is about to move into its prime spending years. Millennials are poised to reshape the economy; their unique experiences will change the ways we buy and sell, forcing companies to examine how they do business for decades to come. Why would millennials trust third-party financial app more than big banks? Why are they delaying in getting married, owning a house, or buying a car? What is preventing them to achieve what they want?

Scope: 15 weeks
Adviser: Hasan Kazmi (Citi Ventures), Roger Mader (Ampersand), Criswell Lappin (Scrollmotion)
Team: Addi Hou, Jason Branch
Role: concept generation, research, interviews, synthesis, market survey, UI/UX, pitch presentation

key screens_monarc.jpg

" I really like this solution. At Citi, we have been trying to figure out how to change people's behaviors but the MONARC team figured out a great solution that works with existing behaviors to help people save money.  I'd like them to present this to my boss. " 

- Hasan Kazmi
Head of Strategy & Partnerships at Citi Ventures Global Innovation Network


RESEARCH & FINDINGS
 

Field Research
The team meet with advisor from Citi Ventures on a weekly bases to learn how big bank is currently interacting with millennials and what they have learned so far. To understand millennials, we sent out 4 surveys completed by 50 millennials to gather qualitative and quantitative research. We also conducted 14 user interviews with millennials aged 16 to 34 to understand millennials' financial status, literacy, and behavior. Here are some quotes of what they said:

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Desk Research
In a digital age, banking has gone the way of most formerly traditional services and embraced the millennial mindset in order to keep up with a rapidly evolving market.
Here are some facts about millennials and their finance and behaviors:

  • A Large Cohort: There are 80 million Americans who were born between 1981 and 2005. (Source)
  • The Future Spending Force: By 2025, millennials will make 46% of all income in the U.S. (Source)
  • The First Digital Natives: 86% of the millennial generation are dependent on their smartphones. This generation relies on phone apps and mobile tools to pay bills, view statements and set up recurring payments. They want the convenience of real-time updates on their finances. (Source)
  • Manage Saving: 56% says they regularly set money aside for savings. (Source)
  • Less Money to Spend: Lower employment levels and smaller incomes have left younger millennials with less money than previous generations. (Source)
  • Great Recession: Changed the way they think about saving, investing and spending their money. Millennials witnessed the shift from prosperity to disparity and therefore have become incredibly pragmatic.They know the harsh realities of financial irresponsibility.
  • Encumbered with Debt: Student loan payments are taking up a growing chunk of postgraduate millennials' income.
  • Different Priorities: Millennials are putting off significant milestones like marriage and home ownerships, but focus on quality of life, such as traveling. 
  • Personalization: hey prefer engage finance with personalized connections.
  • Social and Connected: Instagram usage is particularly strong among millennials. 48 million millennials rely on Instagram, skyrocketing to 2/3 by next year.  Instagram currently has over 700 million total monthly active users.  To put this into perspective, that’s over double the monthly active users of Twitter and 3Xs as much for monthly active users on WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. (Source)

DESIGN SOLUTION

Don't change your behavior, change the way you save.

 

ONBOARDING

onboarding screens.jpg

HOW DOES IT WORK?
MONARC connects with your social media apps and counts the number of likes you get on content that you have posted on apps such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc.  It then helps you transfer your own hard-earned money into the MONARC savings app based on those daily likes. You choose how much you want to save-per-like. Let's say you want to save $0.10 per like. 100 likes and you have saved $10. You go about your daily routine, posting as you wish, getting notifications when you have money saved.

It's YOUR MONEY. MONARC is a way for you to manage and keep track of your own money. Set up goals in the app that your money will automatically go to. The default goal is a Rainy Day fund because our research has shown this is essential. Set up a few short or long term goals that you wish to fulfill. Before you know it, you will have started saving for a fun trip somewhere or a concert or eventually, towards bigger goals like buying a home.

WHAT IF I SAVE TOO MUCH?
You can't save more than you have.  Once you choose what works for you, you'll receive notifications on how well you are doing every day.  If you do TOO well and reach your maximum limit for the month, the app will notify you and prevent you from over-drafting. If you feel good about your financial standing and like how well you're saving, you can adjust your savings-per-like for next month to save even more. 

MONARC SOCIAL NETORKING

Millennials are social creatures, at least digitally, and have a willingness and tools to share their experiences like no other generation before. Although discussing real dollar amounts is still considered taboo, they are willing to crowdsource financial advice. In the MONARC Kaleidoscope network, you will never see actual dollar amounts of your fellow MONARCers, but you will be able to see the progress of their goals. Encourage each other with emojis and chats and be inspired as you save towards your goals.

 

PROCESS