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Improving Millennials’ Financial Inclusion with Behavioral Product Design

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If you were born between 1981 and 1996, you’re likely not as well off as your Gen X or Boomer counterparts. Millennials have faced hurdle after financial hurdle as they’ve grown up. In fact, only 4 in 10 Millennials have an emergency fund that could last them 3 months. And despite the societal push towards investing, not everyone has the funds or know-how to make it work – just over half of Millennials owned any kind of investment product in 2023. 

Leading Canadian fintech company Moka is tearing down barriers to financial security for young people. Millennials are typically underserved by savings and investment products, which can lead to setbacks in achieving financial goals, like home ownership. Moka’s looking to fill that gap with their saving & investment app, directed specifically at the younger generations. One of their core services invests the change on every purchase, quietly nudging users to save money without giving it a second thought. 

Millennials are a notoriously difficult demographic to engage. But Moka saw the importance of helping this generation set themselves up for financial freedom. After some initial strategizing, Moka decided to bring TDL on board to help them face this challenge. We helped them identify behavioral roadblocks to sign-ups and engagement, then supported them in refining their strategy to target those barriers. 

Mapping the user journey

We began by mapping out Moka’s sign-up funnel to identify key problems in the user journey. Our behavioral audit compared complete and incomplete sign-ups to establish critical drop-off points: where were potential users most at risk of abandoning the sign-up process?

Our team generated a list of behaviors that had potential to cause a bottleneck in the sign-up process, as well as the underlying cognitive biases and heuristics that led to each behavior. This included a UX audit of the app and website to find potential behavioral and psychological gaps in existing design.

In order to disentangle existing assumptions about the problem from the real problem, we used data analysis to establish which pain points were impacting sign-up and use. Contrary to expectations, we found that Millennials were less likely to share photos and refer friends to the app than other demographics. These behaviors were at odds with the app’s strategy, providing a key to increasing sign-ups. 

We used a behavioral framework – in this case, the COM-B framework – to establish and rank target behaviors, taking into account factors like potential impact, feasibility, and possible spillover effects. Using the framework, we characterized target behaviors by the capability, opportunity, and motivation users had to achieve them.

Based on exploratory findings, we narrowed our focus to developing a referral program: increasing the number of Moka users who recommended the app to friends via word of mouth.

Designing digital interventions

In order to incorporate on-the-ground knowledge, we used a bottom-up ideation process to identify effective solutions. We worked with the Moka team to ideate social proof tools and time-cued nudges that could shift users towards our targeted behaviors.

Our designed interventions included time-cued nudges, UX recommendations, and a tailored referral program to encourage users to share the app, all leveraging our evidence-based behavioral insights. To ease the actionability of our suggestions, we developed a concrete strategy for implementation, as well as tools and a plan to test effectiveness after the roll-out. 

Setting young people up for financial success

In the end, we identified 17 behavioral roadblocks in the sign-up process that could be rectified with simple interventions. Moka was able to implement and effectively monitor each behavioral intervention, making the sign-up process easier and increasing word-of-mouth sign-ups. 

As of 2023, Moka has been downloaded more than 750,000 times, with more than $14 million raised. They’ve also been acquired by fintech pioneer Mogo Inc., one of Canada’s leading digital payment companies. Moka is on their way to helping thousands more young people secure their financial futures, empowering them to save more, spend less, and invest smarter. 

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