Sometimes, you get to join a project where you can go through the perfect process from research, to design, to validation and putting in live. This is not that project.
In August 2022, we launched the first Klarna product that lets our customers earn interest: a savings account offering with a flexible account and different fixed term options. Klarna Savings started as a stand-alone product, completely away from the Klarna App. Any Swedish adult with a bank account can sign up and safely put their savings away.
I was the Product designer in a multi-disciplinary team. I joined just before the launch, so there were existing designs that had already been implemented.
I lead our research efforts, made design iterations, and proposed prioritization for certain iterations/additions based on customer feedback. For example, together with engineering, I created our different transaction types and what they were supposed to look like. Then initiated internal testing to gather user feedback, and made improvements based on the feedback.
Klarna Savings is part of our consumer banking offering. This meant that I had a team of ~6 designers to gather feedback from and work together with when our scopes overlapped.
A few highlights
Users want to see their savings on the go
It’s almost unthinkable in 2020, but at launch, our product wasn’t responsive. The table we used caused some issues, so we showed a screen saying to open the site on desktop. Of course, this is not what we wanted, so I worked together with our engineers to define breaking points for the table. What is the most essential information, and what can we hide in deeper layers on small screens?
This was high priority because we didn’t want to lose customers right after our launch. Soon enough, our mobile device traffic was nearing 50%.
Unclear how to activate an account
To create a fixed-term savings account, the user has to pick a few things: The time the account lasts (3 months, 6 months, 12 months, etc.), which comes with an interest rate. Typically, the longer the time, the higher the rate. Then, we ask them how much money they want to put into this account.
This is their pledged amount. You can see it as a contract requirement. The user says they’ll put in this much for this long, then we pay them this much interest. However, a lot of people were confused that they still had to move the money, or that they couldn’t change the amount once the account was created. We expanded the flow and account screens to explain this better. We also allowed for certain “errors”, if they transferred too little money, they could make a second transfer. If they transferred too much, we would move the surplus to their flexible account.
Users want to see their savings in the Klarna app
In our first month, we had 9000 new signups and it kept growing steadily. With that, the requests and customer service errands about seeing their savings account in the Klarna app also grew. Our savings account had a much lower average age of customers compared to the previous third-party product, and they wanted to see their money in the app. We started by simply showing the accounts and their balances for existing customers, while slowly expanding the features to match our web app.
Reflection: it’s hard building a product you cannot use
This project was the first time for everyone in the team building something we cannot use. Only Swedish residents can sign up, and we all lived in Germany. We had to rely on our Swedish Klarna colleagues to walk us through the product, to test it in actual real life and give us feedback.
There were a lot of weird hiccups that were impossible for us to find in a staged environment. Like telling other banks to recognize our account numbers, because they didn’t know Klarna had bank accounts now and didn’t give people the option to move their money to us. Clearing numbers that weren’t recognized. Or simply the time that it took to actually move money.
None of these things are specifically design related. But they have a massive impact on the user experience, and my job is to make it easier, more understandable or more fun to deal with these experiences. This is the work I’ve been continuing to this day. Building a financial product from scratch means a delicate balancing act of legal, technical, and experience aspects. Money is emotional for a lot of people, and we want to highlight the good emotions – not the anxiety.
If you want to read more highlights, please get in touch!