Re-imagining Digital Payments for Bharat

Key insights from a series of user tests on a No-Code prototype for digital payments

Digitisation and the pandemic has changed the way India transacts. But ask a user if they know what is UPI, most will answer with a no, and a few would still opt for cash or bank transfers as the 'safer' choice. If digital payments are the future, then Bharat needs product that they can trust, and use with confidence.

Key insights

Uniqiue Insights from Diverse Background

We learnt few key insights directly from users on how language helps in building trust, what Indian users think about digital lending, how does rejection helps in building trust and much more.

How might we design digital payments products for users that educates them about UPI and its safety?

Parallel together with TTC Labs,, DICE and D91 Labs took part in a year-long initiative to understand how to build a digital culture of trust among the Bharat audience especially around Digital Financial Services.

This resulted in a Design Jam - a collaborative workshop of designers, fintech experts and business managers to co-create a digital payments product provocation for users from low and middle income backgrounds.

Pawan Bakshi, India Lead, Financial Services for the Poor at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Sanjay Jain, Chief Innovation Officer at CIIE were present during the final showcase, and gave us valuable feedback including a suggestion to test these ideas with the real users.

Read all the ideas from the Design Jam

InstaPay - a digital payments app

InstaPay - a digital payments app

InstaPay was a fictional digital payment application that uses UPI to enable peer-to-peer as well as peer-to-merchant payments. It also offered value added services like bill payments, mobile recharge, among others.

Getting users to test a No-Code digital payments prototype

We build upon the ideas from the Design Jam and polished them further to create a No-Code enhanced prototype of a digital payments app centred around five key ideas:

Overcoming the language barrier

Using Hindi to increase explainability of difficult financial phrases

Bridging the literacy barrier

Using audio-visual clues to aid with text when words and phrases are difficult or non-legible

Simplifying onboarding process

Replace long, complicated forms with minimal and essential data requests

Improve explainability

Giving clear and simple information to make users understand digital transactions

Introduce friendly characters

Increase comfort by passing important information through a non-intimidating character

Finding the right users to test out the idea

  • Over 20 participants from lower and middle income groups were selected by Parallel's on-ground team at Varanasi based on a well-researched persona profile.
  • Users included college students and school teachers; individuals who had used digital payments or never used; and also some who chose Hindi as the primary app language everytime.
  • Following the five-act interview process recommended by Google Ventures, we conducted the entire user tests with basic tools like a laptop and video conferencing - all remote!

Finding the right users to test out the idea