Web3 Powered Remittances
Mobile App (Oportun Hack-A-Thon) - 2021
Oportun is a fin-tech company that offers accessible and inclusive financial solutions through the power of AI, primarily focusing on underserved and low-income communities. Their design philosophy aims to reduce barriers to financial inclusion by creating aesthetically pleasing, user-centric experiences that empower individuals to access affordable loans, build credit, and improve their financial well-being.
I played a pivotal role in the design process. Collaborating closely with cross-functional teams, my responsibilities included envisioning and crafting user-centric solutions, developing wireframes, and creating compelling visual designs. I used my design expertise to solve real-world challenges, transforming innovative ideas into tangible, user-friendly solutions. By actively contributing to the hack-a-thon, I helped drive our mission to provide inclusive financial services and make a positive impact on underserved communities. This entry won 2nd place.
What were we trying to solve?
A large portion of Oportun's user-base rely on remittance payments. This is a crucial financial lifeline for millions of individuals in the U.S. who send money to their loved ones abroad. With staggering statistics, such as $76 billion sent annually to friends and family in other countries by U.S. consumers, and $41 million sent in the last 12 months, it is evident that remittances are a fundamental part of many lives.
We planned to address the common challenges faced by users in this process. Most often, these payments are sent at regular intervals to cover essential, predictable expenses like rent and living costs.
Our goal was to create a seamless, user-friendly digital platform that simplifies the remittance process, reduces associated costs, and ensures that the money reaches its intended destination reliably and efficiently. We aimed to enhance the financial well-being of both senders and recipients by optimizing the remittance experience.
Understanding our users
To gain deeper insights into the challenges associated with current remittance payment methods, I developed a rigorous screening process to identify research participants.
I specifically targeted individuals who had experience sending money abroad to their friends and family on a regular basis, mirroring the typical behavior of remittance payments. We included 30 participants in our study which I conducted using Usertesting.com.
This approach revealed two crucial insights that became the cornerstone of our solution.
"I always get a nervous when it takes longer and sometimes I don’t get a notification... The time it takes is most stressful."
Peer-to-Peer payments are slow and costly as well, for those consumers sending money in need.
"The most frustrating thing [with Western Union] is that I have to go to a store to do it and carry cash with me."
The greatest frustrations with traditional methods like Western Union and wire transfers is the time it takes and the overall inconvenience of the transaction.
Modern alternatives such as PayPal alleviate many of these pain points due to its speed and relative convenience, but these benefits come at the cost of fees between 5% and 11%, and recipients don’t always have PayPal accounts.