Average bank customers’ cash is sitting idle in bank accounts, not working as hard as it should

A lot of them have income in excess of spending, but are wary of investing due to lack of experience and confidence. The previous signup flow was more targeting sophisticated investors, which doesn’t work well for newbie investors.
Focus on newbie investors
In the past, SigFig has mainly focused on providing the investment solutions for experienced investors who are comfortable with taking the risk in the market. However, most of the customers at banks that SigFig started to partner with are not that finance savvy and they are scared of losing money as they invest. In order to help average bank customers save and invest better, we decided to focus on newbie investors.
Investment decision is hard, scary, and can take a long time. Most bank customers don’t have enough experience or expertise about investment, so it’s even harder for them to decide. Thus they never decide.

How could we introduce our product to bank customers in an easy-to-understand way? How could we incentivize and nudge them along the way?
Help “Josephines” ease in
At the early stage of the design process, the design team got together and created mood board collaboratively. Based on the outcome of that exercise, I created multiple directions for the onboarding flow, to explore different ways to introduce the investment product in a simple, easy-to-understand, and engaging way.
Validate the product positioning
and storytelling through user tests
Because this projected started as a R&D project, we had the luxury to test different product positioning and offering on We conducted multiple rounds of user tests (with about 90 participants) and we tested very different product positioning and products with different rewards that we can potentially offer to bank customers.
The most successful R&D stage flow
After multiple rounds of tests, we had a pretty stable flow which includes inspirational goals that users can choose from, and flexible ways to make contributions to the investment account. During the flow, users can see the clear impact of making recurring contributions to their account as they complete the flow, so that they are more motivated to add more money. At the same time, they are rewarded with guaranteed return for a small amount of their contribution. We found that newbie investors are a lot more likely to get started with investing, knowing that they'll have some safety around it.

(Here we are using BOA's branding for the easier user tests. BOA is not SigFig's partner)
Provide a “cash cushion” in an investment account, for Citizens bank customers
After our business team socialized our R&D stage flow with our partner Citizens Bank, our product got re-defined based on the business and compliance requirements. Because the 2% guaranteed return was very successful in our user tests, we decided to keep the spirit of it but make some adjustments - provide a "cash cushion" that earns 2% guaranteed return in a hybrid account.
The 2% cash earnings can’t be kept in cash. It has to go into investments.
While we celebrated for the 2% guaranteed return, we realized there is some technical constraints. If we have our engineering team change it, the entire project timeline will be pushed. So from the product and design perspective, we decided to make more effort to explain how the product work and how the earnings go to investment portion clearly to our users, while still keeping the product appealing.
So, how can we make it clear and engaging?
Because of the new product offering and technical constraints, we decided to explore different ways to explain how the product works in a very clear way, while still keeping the experience engaging. After more user tests, we decided to move forward with the 4th solution here, which is more illustrative and explains how the interests get auto-invested in a very clear way. Surprisingly, participants in the user tests said that they really appreciate this feature, otherwise they're going to spend the extra earnings.
How did we optimize the flow and remove friction?
After we decided the general direction for the storytelling, we kept iterating on the flow to make it easy for users to explore the product and set up their account. Here you can see how we iterated the beginning of the onboarding flow. Our goal was to reduce the possible back and forth and make every question easy to answer.
Make it fun to explore
Use the same set of visuals consistently to explain the product step-by-step
Because we are targeting newbie investors like Josephine, we want to make the product fun to explore. Going through the very beginning of the onboarding experience is like reading a storybook. Users don't have to read a lot and won't feel overwhelmed by financial jargons.
make it easy and clear
Provide bite-size guidance
along the way
Don't know how to set up the cash and investment amount in this hybrid account? No problem! We have tips along the way, right when you need it.
make it trustworthy
Be transparent about how the product works
Transparency and trust are very crucial in the finance world, especially when we partner with banks. We created designated screens that explain how the interests are auto-invested and what the user should expect in a few years. We learned from the user tests that people really appreciate it.
the 1st launch
Investment experience designed for newbies
The impact
Conversion increase on both desktop and mobile
We launched the product recently and we've seen increase in conversion on both desktop and mobile - 28% increase on desktop and 56% increase on mobile.
next steps
Make bigger impact
We want to take a more bold approach when we consider our next steps. For example, we want to better integrate with banking dashboard, allow users to track their goals easily, and provide different personas for users to choose from.