Transforming digital banking on the tablet

Bringing personal finance to life with a post-PC user experience

Where some banks merely enlarged their smartphone apps for use on iPad, Citibank chose to take a very different route. It approached Fjord to help build something entirely original, using the iPad to create a new way for people to manage their finances. The Citibank for iPad app capitalizes on the unique characteristics and uses of the tablet, bringing the customer’s finances to life in ways that differ from other platforms. It’s a true post-PC user experience, and the app succeeds in making Citi customers feel that their money is more tangible.

We wanted to fundamentally rethink customer interactions.
Tracey Weber Managing Director for Consumer Internet and Mobile Banking in North America, Citibank

A service design-led approach to banking

Citibank partnered with Fjord to take a service design-led —rather than technology-led— mobile approach to maximize the potential of the tablet and the new user behavior it presents. While users demand clear and reliable personal finance tools, the challenge was also to move the banking experience beyond the mere presentation of account information. A truly innovative product would empower users and genuinely help them make smart financial decisions.

The app features rich data visualizations that allow customers to access their “financial life” at a glance and also to dig deeper for more information. The design offers smarter ways to filter information and makes activities such as bill payment smooth and simple. The outcome is a service that makes it easy for Citibank customers to visualize and understand their finances–a first for many users just getting started with online banking.

Putting the consumer first

The end result is a tablet app that puts users ahead of technical restrictions through service design. At its release, the response to the app was overwhelmingly positive. The adoption rate quickly exceeded expectations — at some stages during the first six weeks after its release, the download rate of Citibank for iPad was more than five times greater than that of Citibank’s iPhone app.

The success of Citibank for iPad and the design-led process used to create it are now informing Citibank’s approach to its overall mobile strategy. With Fjord’s help, Citibank employed the same design principles when it became the first bank to offer an app customized for the Kindle Fire tablet.

Some industry experts think Citibank for iPad should inform other institutions’ efforts as well. According to independent research firm Forrester Research, “eBusiness professionals at retail banks — and other financial institutions — should pay close attention to what Citibank has done, particularly its willingness to experiment and try out new ideas in a brand-new channel.”*

*Forrester Research, Inc. January 2012 Case Study: Citibank’s Tablet App Transforms The Digital Banking Experience.