In India, the typical EMI (credit) card and loan application process is fragmented, slow, requires a web browser (which is usually done at home), and not consistent with Apple's human-centered design principles.
Apple approached us to build an iPad app which would function as a central portal for financing in-store purchases. This tool would allow customers to filter, select, and apply for loans within the store instantly with all major financial partners in India.
As we began to analyze the pre-approved requisites for each financing partner, it started to clarify the targeted user-type we were solving for.
The loan application requirements revealed deep insights into socioeconomic factors that we didn't previously think to consider. Even the applicants place of residency played a factor in the pre-approval process. Analyzing these also helped us with identifying critical moments where drop-offs tend to occur.
As I started to unpack each financial partner’s loan application diagram, it became apparent that each required a unique set of inputs from the user which then sent the user down a unique flow. Our task then was to unify these various flows into a consistent experience.
With all the various loan applications, some commonalities were emerging. The user was required to send information for review (white), while the system or store associate (gray) would validate the process or return results based on the information provided.
Knowing this helped communicate to the user how far along in the process they were while also providing a general workflow for what would be needed next to complete the application process. A progress bar was built into the loan journey, giving the user an overview of their progress and an estimation of time to completion.
Utilizing the iPad camera was pivotal for speeding up the application process and helped reinforce the value of Apple products.
Overall the project was a big success for Apple and our product team. Our team came from a more traditional eCommerce background and working with Apple on a finance app was a departure for us. Although the project introduced its own set of challenges it was a good stress test on our internal product and engineer teams capabilities.
There were definitely ways we could have improved the experience, especially with further tech validation and time. One issue we kept running into was not being able to save an application session to come back to later (unless the user reaches an in review pending state). Part of the reason for this was Apple’s User Data Privacy Protection Policy. With more time we probably could have explored some data encryption solutions.
Perhaps the biggest constraint was compiling the various loan requirements across 12 partners and unifying them in an experience that fulfilled Apple's usability and privacy standards while also maintaining good standings with their partners by providing a safe and secure financing tool. This was by far the bulk of the app and required a lot of eyes on it and I was happy to lead the creative and UX portion for it.