Squared

UmeƄ Institute of DesignUS

Disrupting

Concept / Student

Team

Lynn Bui

Overview

Since the recent financial crisis, there has been a rise in debit card usage in relation to credit, leading to a change in debit fee structures. Billions of dollars in revenue are made by banks every year from consumer overdraft and nonsufficient funds-related fees, leaving consumers more wary of their banks.

This concept re-imagines today’s banking strategy towards a transparent mutually benefiting relationship. The purpose is to improve the future banking experience of the bill payment system, placing consumer convenience first, so that consumers feel more confident with their financial management.

“Squared” is a positive and playful artefact that enables consumers to be mindful of their expenditures. It provides a smart, reliable paperless and simple way to pay routine bills securely through biometric and ubiquitous technologies.

Squared composes of a functional product and ecosystem that communicates the banking needs of the busy consumer. The bank provides the consumer with a package consisting of a main touch terminal and several “chips” corresponding to the types of bills that he/she has.

Audience

Our lives have become busier, people are constantly on-the-go and constantly overloaded with information. To make matters worse, different bills require different methods of payments and have different due dates (weekly, bi-monthly, monthly, etc) Stress and forgetfulness were big factors in why people often become behind on their bills, resulting in overdrafts and other late fees.

Squared removes the hassle of having to constantly log online for routine bill payments and allows consumers to control when and how they want to pay their bills. It provides a friendly playful reminder when bills are due, chips are linked to due dates arranged by the consumers through initial setup.

Chips turn red to alert an incoming bill. To pay the bill(s), connect the square(s) to the main touch terminal or to any square that is connected to the main terminal. A blue light indicates that a bill is still being processed, this amount is deducted to provide real-time balances.

Leaving chips connected to the touch terminal activates auto-payment. Transactions are simultaneously communicated to user’s online banking profile, providing remote pay via mobile devices when he/she is traveling.

Chips can be arranged any way a person desires, intending to be meaningful yet playful.

Impact

Paying bills is something that everyone has to do at some point in their lives, but it doesn’t have to be dreadful or time consuming. With Squared, transactions are fast, fun and easy at a touch of a button, in the safety and comfort of people’s homes.

Squared provides consumers with an accurate depiction of real-time account balances, removing the confusion around how much is in their accounts or whether certain bills have been processed or set to auto payment.

Squared makes it easy for consumers to save, helping them become more proactive in their financial management. Monetary transfers to the Savings Account can be done by simply logging in, connecting the Savings Account Chips, writing the amount to transfer, and confirming.

Valuing and developing smart consumers who save more, provides banks with more assets. In addition, it saves time, for both banks and users, to focus on other things that matter.

As bank branches become fewer in numbers, Squared provides a personalized approach to maintain strong customer service. Consumers are placed first, no more waiting in line to reach a banker, Squared can ping the banker to return the call when the line is available.

Craft

Today’s existing banking methods of communication were evaluated to locate areas of opportunities throughout the customer journey.

Eight people were interviewed to explore correlation with methods of bill payment and forgetfulness. It was challenging to minimalize the bill pay process in an information overloaded society.

The design objective was to remove all the unnecessary hassle that comes along with paying routine bills and empower consumers to feel more confident and mindful of their expenditures.

Squared was designed to be practical, meaningful yet playful and worked seamlessly with today’s online technologies.

Final icons were inspired by sketches developed during the ideation phase where bills, such as rent, cellphone, insurance, etc. were sketched out in replacement of text for a fast and fun way to refer to them.

Chips are 5×5 cm in dimension for easy grasp and ideal visibility for quick glances. Biometric signature was selected for security and quick login access, removing the hassle of remembering usernames and passwords.

The main terminal and chips are magnetic, designed to be placed on the refrigerator, a frequently used home appliance. Family members can help remind each other when things become due.

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