Helping members freeze their card and lower their anxiety

March 2022   |   🕓 6 min read

57% of people calling Nationwide about a lost or stolen card had downloaded the banking app. And 40% of those had been using the mobile app prior to calling.
Why was this important? 🌟
The demand on the Contact Centre for these requests presented with a challenge in costs, and for members it represented a lack of awareness to perhaps a quick solution.

Spoiler alert 👀
After the redesign on May the 17th 2021 (the date Covid restrictions were lifted) we saw 45% more card freezes than the week before. Success!

The problem

Speech data showed that 50% of mobile active members that called the Contact Centre didn’t know the functionality existed on the mobile app which is why they called to complete the transaction.


Each call was costing the business on average £5.50. A business case had been put forward to decrease the volume of calls by increasing the engagement of the existing freeze card functionality.

The goal​​

Our objective for this project was to build regulatory requirements into an existing credit and overdraft limit increase journey. Mitigating the impact for our members and improving the experience where possible.

The teams​​

In this project, I worked with 2 agile delivery teams – Helios and Argonauts our Risk squad, Product, our Legal and Compliance colleagues, and our website team. I relied on 2 Business designers, and 2 Content designers to support me...a lot of people!

My role​​

My responsibility in this piece of work was to ensure the solution met the CONC requirements, and wider business requirements, whilst trying to improve the user experience.

July 2021

To understand why more customers weren't using the existing functionality we spent 3 weeks running research activities:


  • Reviewing existing research reports complied by our Connect + discovery team

  • Competitor analysis

  • Assumptions and how might statements


From our research we had a good level of confidence that we understood the issues: 


From a usability perspective, the toggle was missed because of it's unorthodox positioning above a paragraph of text.

The description of the function was also glossed over, 



What could we learn from the existing solution?

To come up with a feasible design, we needed to understand the architectural solution (how the service would capture and store data). And what content requirements existed today.


  • Mapped the existing journey.

  • Ran a Q&A of solution architecture with an engineer.

  • Engaged with the telephony team to understand how increases worked with them.


From this, we were able to understand a bit more about what experience looked like today and how it would work going forwards.

April 2021

Evaluating existing services 📚

How might this impact our members?


With a broader understanding of the requirements, we were able to turn our attention to the needs of Nationwide's customers.

  • Reviewed existing research from the originations team, we also looked at reports published by the FCA on overdrafts and credit card usage

  • Investigated dropout rates using Adobe Analytics.​

  • Developed user need hypotheses. 

  • Researched competitor high street banks - some demonstrate really content-heavy examples.


Looking at the data alone, here's what we found out.

  • 330k people interact with the overdraft management page every month.

  • We receive 1,250 overdraft limit requests every day on the banking app, 250 of those changed their limit between the hours of 8pm and 12am.

User impact analysis 💁

April 2021

Designing a flexible solution and aligning channels

Up until this point, we'd been learning and investigating the problem space.


We designed the user journeys for credit cards and overdrafts reusing existing components based on research from originations to evidence our design decisions. 

We addressed member needs by carrying out content mapping exercises. Before members start we tell them how long it'll take, what we'll need to know and why, and also that their credit rating won't be affected.

Screenshot 2022-02-12 at 18.42.52.png

Design solution 🧑🏻‍🎨

April - July 2021

A difficult lesson in collaboration

Communicating between three build teams and keeping stakeholders up to speed was a huge challenge. 


But nothing prepared me for the barrage of change we were about to experience.

Working through change

As well as the CONC requirements the squad had developed a new service. Limit requests were now going to be instant between the hours of midnight and 8:30 pm. But would still take 2 working days outside of that time.

A GDPR requirement had come in to ensure 3 strike FPN 'how we use your information' policy was applied across the journey.

Legal and compliance had additionally requested that those applying for a new overdraft would need additional information.

And late into the year, our build teams downed tools to reassess their approach.

This late and constant change wreaked havoc, but our saving grace was the usage of confluence where we worked tirelessly to document and share updates.

Screenshot 2022-02-12 at 15.50.24.png

July  - Feb 2022

Delivery and collaboration 🤯


March 2022

What we learnt


✅ An increase of 18.5% in unique visits to the manage cards page


✅ An increase of 18.8% in members using the freeze card functionality


✅ An increase of 17% in cards reported Lost or Stolen, saving the business 70K per month in calls


Interestingly 22% cards were unfrozen, indicating that there may have been members cards who had accidentally or unintentionally frozen.

Thoughts and reflections

We were thrilled with the results of this project. I would have loved to have run diary studies to learn more about how well the app met user needs in these more rare occurances.

A by-product we learnt that in our lost in the stolen journey we ask members to verify themselves using their card reader, of course, you'd need a card for that and so this fault has been raised with the product owner.

(I'd be amazed if you've read all of this, thank you so much for getting this far. Let me know if you had questions that weren't answered in this case study.)