Impact of Digital design on fintech products in the Middle East

Posted on  24 June, 2022


The payments landscape in the Middle East region is experiencing a significant change. Although the region’s population is digitally savvy, most of them have been heavily dependent on cash. Only about a third of retail transactions are done digitally, according to a report by McKinsey. The report suggests that the low adoption rate could be attributed to an underdeveloped digital payments infrastructure and services, underbanked consumer and merchant segments, and a cultural bias toward cash.

However, the scenario is heading for a change now. Digital banking services have gained a lot of momentum in this region. Is fintech the future? Yes! Fintech services in the Middle East are an essential sector within the financial industries. Various startups are now operating in the fintech space in the region. According to the Milken Institute, over 465 fintech companies are currently available in the region, (as of April 2022) compared to just 30 in 2017.

Why fintech? The pandemic has triggered an increased adoption of digital payments. The new government and regulatory initiatives, along with the entry of new payment providers, are also contributing to this positive shift. Both investors and tech-savvy innovators are flocking to the Middle East as a FinTech hub.

What are fintech products? Besides payments, banking, insurances, online financing, stock trading, and cryptocurrencies, there are other financial services under the fintech umbrella which are gaining popularity in the Middle East. 

So what does it take to get users to start using a product? 

What motivates them to continue using the product? 

What factors influence customer behavior? 

Let’s dig into them one by one.

How can design help a brand with all these? 

1. Building Trust

This is the primary and most important factor for any product customers use. When it comes to fintech products that handle sensitive and private information, trust is not just a consideration, but a top priority. The product should make users feel safe and trustworthy with their personal information. Design, from onboarding to gathering user information, all the way to having a user make their first transaction, plays a key role in building trust.

2. Creating North Star Experience

Finance can be complex. Terms we use in finance can be alien to users; ever-evolving government regulations can be a nightmare, and providing users with all the required details to make informed decisions is critical. With these challenges in mind, the experience we provide our users is what keeps them engaged with the product and keeps them coming back. Design contributes to simplifying the journey and making it more consumable for the user.

For example, when we worked for Paytm Money , an online platform for mutual fund investments, the design was in such a way that the user is always guided throughout using small animations, detailed videos, and colorful interfaces. 

3. Being Transparent

The information users provide to Fintech products is quite extensive. It is important to explain why we need users’ information to comply with the regulations as well as clearly indicating the costs associated with transactions the user conducts through the product. Providing users with information about what we do and why we do it helps in bringing transparency, which in turn builds trust.

4. Discoverable and Scalable

Financial products are ever-evolving and their ultimate goal is to become a marketplace for all users’ financial needs. The expectations from users are also similar. They want everything in one place. As the product grows, new features get added, and the application becomes complex and might turn out to be overwhelming for the user. Grouping the information logically and focusing on the ease of navigation is essential for the users to continue using existing features while exploring the new ones.

How do we design a user-centric product?

Understanding what is needed to develop a trusted and user-friendly Fintech product isn’t enough. It is important to understand users’ pain points while using fintech products and address them. Let’s explore a few well-known problems faced by users: 

  • Finance Language

A widely known and often overlooked issue pertains to the language used in financial products. Many finance terms are complicated to understand and interpret for the majority of users. Perhaps this is also one of the main reasons why users stop using the product. Product owners should be extremely mindful of the terms they use and make every effort to simplify them so that even a common person can understand and interact with the product.

  • Information Overload

Most finance products tend to put across all the details upfront, which hampers the user’s ability to make an informed decision. Our product should first identify the user’s needs and determine what exactly is the information they require and assist them in finding that information. Furthermore, the way this information is presented is crucial. It should be visually appealing for users to grasp the information quickly.

  • Ambiguous CTAs

An effective call to action is an essential part of any product since it guides the user throughout their journey and helps them accomplish their goals. The user is likely to be more cautious before making any clicks, particularly when dealing with finance-related products. They spend more time figuring out what to do when their next steps are unclear. By coming up with a clear and straightforward call to action, the majority of user drop-offs can be avoided.  

  • Overwhelmed with features

It is inevitable that fintech products come as a complete package with a host of features that are constantly evolving and growing. The product also gets constant updates in order to keep users engaged and to increase their frequency of visits. The problem arises when the user has trouble locating a particular feature or needs a lot of time to do so. The design helps in solving this problem by organizing the features to be easily accessible by the user.

A well-designed product will unquestionably play a positive role in the success of the product. It is the factor that should be accounted for from the beginning of the product development process. Also, it is important to understand that design is a continuing process and should be well-collaborated with all other departments in the organization. 


Middle Eastern countries are currently on the cusp of a payment revolution. The FinTech industry has disrupted and continues to disrupt the financial services industry by providing better, cheaper, and more customized offerings to individuals and businesses using the web, mobile, and cloud technologies. New-age fintech companies are looking to shape user behavior through technology. Changing behavior is complex and requires thoughtful planning and design. This can be accomplished with the help of a Digital design.

This is where Lollypop Design Studio’s expertise comes into play. We make sure to fully assist with the launch as well as scaling up of enterprises using our efficient three-step UX design process of discovery, design, and build.