Ahead of Collaborate Bristol 2017, we had a quick chat with one of the event speakers, Sam Michael, a Senior Designer at Monzo Bank.

🎙 Designing for a bank is surely a unique experience. How would you describe it?

It’s unique in that I haven’t built a bank from the ground up before. But, in all honestly, it’s really just another design problem that needs to be solved!

🎙 Fintech has been a hot topic over the last few years. Do you feel like a lot has changed in the finance/banking industry in that time?

Not entirely, not yet at least. I think more can be done to streamline our financial lives and hopefully with the arrival of PSD2 [the Revised Payment Service Directive that is set to change retail banking and how banks handle their customers’ details] next year we should hopefully see an explosion of innovative solutions surrounding our financial lives.

🎙 One of the problems fintech still deals with is the fact that finance just isn’t exciting for most people. Can good design fix this?

I think one of the reasons people might be disengaged with the industry is that money, in general, isn’t something we care to think about much, only at times when bills need to be paid, which is hardly exciting. I also think banks are generally quite frustrating to deal with. They should do more to make it easier to manage our money. That’s something Monzo is hoping to fix and solid design is going help us get there.

🎙 We are increasingly turning to our devices to check our balance, pay bills, etc. Do you feel like companies are doing enough in terms of design, UX and usability to attract more people into doing this and simultaneously fixing negative user experiences?

Time will tell I suppose, we recently hit 200,000 customers at Monzo with a growth rate of 4% week on week, so it seems a product based on strong design principles and user values can attract more people. Companies like Google, Amazon, Uber, Apple, Spotify and Facebook are setting the bar of people’s expectations high, so in order to gain mass adoption you need to be aiming to deliver experiences at or beyond these levels.

🎙 You are talking at Collaborate Bristol. Can you reveal a bit about your presentation?

I will share the Monzo story so far, our growing community and some of the principles we use to design a bank of the future.



Maria Santos, Head of Digital Ops & Data Protection

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