Overview & Problem

This project is the result of a small research study I conducted with a few friends and family to find solutions that would provide more functionality and be of use to the consumer in the application. The problem identified in this study is that Cash App does not provide any robust personal finance features, something I know the co-founder of Square, Jack Dorsey, preaches and is one of the reasons he decided to help create the company. I believe adding a couple of these features would also attract more people to the platform and would be a welcomed addition by current users.

The Process

To get a better sense of what users of Cash App would like to see implemented in terms of new features, I conducted interviews with a few friends of mine as well as a few family members. The answer I mostly got in response was that Cash App should implement a budgeting feature that would allow them to track their spending through Cash App, mainly because they use Cash App very often.

Another interesting suggestion was some sort of sou-sou implementation, which I thought was not a bad idea, more on this later. After hearing this suggestion it prompted me to interview people who I knew used sou-sous, like my mother and aunt, in an attempt to gauge the feasibility of the implementation of such a feature. The information I gathered from them indicated that such a feature would be wonderful but tricky to manage and implement, however there is opportunity there.

Features

Savings Club

The savings club feature would operate like a sou-sou in essence. You would have the ability to create one or multiple clubs of friends/partners and in this club, each partner would contribute a specified amount of cash to the pool, and at different points in a cycle, the money will be deposited to a partner's cash app. The whole point is for it to act as a form of “community insurance” or as a way for someone to save up a sum of cash sooner than they would’ve been able to, maybe putting towards starting a business or paying a bill, etc. Of course, no-one gets more than what they had put in because the point is to help each other within the savings club.

This is a community insurance technique used by Caribbean and African households for years. My Jamaican mother has also used this technique, so I know from second-hand experience how successful a feature like this could be. However, I also know that there are a lot of logistics that would need to be worked out to mitigate any possible issues that could arise and it would require a lot of user testing and research. In terms of monetization, there are a few ways Cash App could make money by implementing a feature like this if the company wishes to do so, as Cash App would be temporarily holding the cash to be deposited. They could take a small percentage of each instant deposit transaction, for example, similar to how the app works now.


Budget, Breakdown & Boosts

Budget


Given that the cash card is already so integrated with the application, why not add a budgeting feature where the user can set budgets for different categories of expenditure from food to subscriptions. Cash App already categorizes your purchases automatically so it's a no brainer. I also think it would be a welcomed addition to those trying to work on their personal finance and would also incentivize a consumer to use their cash card more often than not. 

Breakdown

Again, given that the cash card is already so integrated with the application, why not add a feature that gives a furthermore organized breakdown that shows you exactly where you spent your money and how much money you in a specific category. Something like this is already done somewhat in the transactions tab of the app but I feel like it could be more organized, to make it easier for the user to see exactly where their money is going. I haven’t come up with a design of how this would look as yet.

Boosts

I find the “Boosts” feature interesting (because they give me discounts of course 😉 ). As a result, I feel like it deserves a bit more of a fun-looking and engaging design. So, I envision a solar system, so to speak, of boosts revolving around the boost you currently have selected. Of course, when the user taps the solar system it will take them to the page that tells you more about the boosts offered for each company and swap them as you like, similar to how it works right now. This is more of an on the face design change. Although, I must say that I can't imagine this being easy for developers to implement 😅 .

The Solution

An upgraded Cash App geared towards personal finance management. Helping users to better manage their spending with the cash card as well as opening up a new avenue to save money creatively 🤑 .

Conclusion

So, my main takeaways from this project are that in today’s society personal finance is very important to people and more people are looking for ways to manage and track their finances. They are also open to the idea of group economics, for example, with the idea of a sou-sou that allows you to financially support others within your community of friends and family. 

From a user research standpoint, I learned the importance of getting and understanding feedback from users and seeing things from other people’s perspectives, and translate that feedback into my work.

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