An omnichannel solution for credit and overdraft limit increases
March 2022 | 🕓 6 min read
We brought Nationwide's credit and overdraft solution up to speed with FCA regulations across the Banking app, Internet bank, call centre, and website.
Why was this important? 🌟
For some people increasing an overdraft means being able to pay the bills that month. Or perhaps a credit limit increase means being able to buy a car they'd been dreaming of.
The changes Nationwide needed to make were going to make this process more complicated. So making sure we made it as simple to use and understand as possible was imperative.
Fun fact 👀
It took a year and working with over 120 people to build!
The FCA’s Consumer Credit Sourcebook (CONC) is a regulation that applies to all credit-related activities, including consumer loans, credit cards, consumer hire, and debt-related services.
Consumer credit is a highly regulated area. It’s not uncommon for financial services to have to capture data or phrase content in a very particular and legislated way – this was no different.
The point of the CONC regulation is to centralise consumers incomings and outgoings, meaning credit reference agencies are kept up to date when a consumer requests to borrow money. It’s something Nationwide was behind on.
From a consumer perspective this meant that instead of simply asking for a new limit when increasing a credit or overdraft limit, they would now have to fill in a short application - 12 additional questions about their income and outgoings.
(This bit is complicated and boring but thanks for sticking with it.)
Our objective for this project was to build regulatory requirements into an existing credit and overdraft limit increase journey. Mitigate the impact for our members and improve the experience where possible.
In this project, I worked with 2 agile delivery teams – Helios and Argonauts. I also worked with our Risk squad, Product, Legal and Compliance colleagues, and our website team. I relied on two Business Designers, and two Content Designers to support me...a lot of people!
My responsibility was to ensure the solution met the CONC regulations, and wider business requirements, whilst bringing member needs to the fore.
What did the solution need to do?
We often don't have all the answers at the start of a project.
I ran requirements gathering sessions with our Risk squad to pull out and agree on the foundational requirements - what data did we have to capture?
We learnt that the solution would need to capture 12 data entities members' income and outgoings.
Fortunately, our originations' team had applied this thinking for new account openings. I utilised their knowledge and research to inform design decisions.
Gathering business requirements 👂🏻
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 review of the solution architecture with the engineer.
From this, we were able to understand a bit more about what experience looked like today and the system would function.
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.
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 requests are between 8:30pm and 12am. (I'll explain the significance of this later)
User impact analysis 💁
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 the existing design systems based on research from originations to evidence our decisions.
We addressed member needs by carrying out content-mapping exercises. For example, we made sure that before members start their application we tell them how long it'll take, what they need to know and why, and also that their credit rating won't be affected.
Design solution 🧑🏻🎨
April - July 2021
A difficult lesson in collaboration
Communicating between development teams and keeping stakeholders up to speed was a huge challenge.
However, nothing prepared me for constant change.
Working through changes
As well as the CONC requirements the Risk squad had developed a new service.
- Limit requests were now going to be instant between the hours of midnight and 8:30 pm. However, this would still take 2 working days outside of that time.
- A GDPR requirement had come in to ensure a 3 strike policy was applied across the journey regarding how we use your information.
- Legal and compliance had additionally requested that those applying for a new overdraft would need an explanation of the product costs and purpose.
- Late into the year, our build teams downed tools to reassess their approach.
These late and constant changes wreaked havoc; our saving grace was the usage of confluence where we worked tirelessly to document and share updates.
July - Feb 2022
Delivery and collaboration 🤯
What we've learnt so far...
The project overran, and so some elements will need to be refined for day 2. Fortunately, this leaves us with a fantastic opportunity to research the solution! Which is exactly what we did.
When we asked users to enter their 'useful limit'
Despite our concerns, 6 participants said that they understand when their increased limit would be applied.
We saw no issues in testing when members reviewed the 12 questions.
The research has been compiled and documented in confluence, where our stakeholders will be able to learn more about the upcoming changes.
We'll track the data, and continue to analyse going forward! 🤞
Thoughts and reflections
My role in this project was broad, at times I was a medley of a product owner, business designer, visual designer, and user researcher. While I've always been an advocate of a T-shaped experience designer, this project has reminded me just why it's so important to have a well-rounded team.
I'd guess that around 75% of my time on this was taken up in meetings and bringing people together to help make clear and rational decisions.
(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.)