An Australia-first app has been developed to give consumers more access than ever before to their personal credit score, enabling them to monitor their credit health in real time, for free, and make proactive decisions that will improve their appeal to lenders.
The Credit Health app was created by online comparison site, Credit Card Compare, to help Australians take advantage of the changing way in which credit scores are determined, following significant reforms last year designed to reward borrowers for their positive credit behaviour.
According to Co-Founder of Credit Card Compare, Andrew Boyd, who led the development project, the process of developing the app involved drawing on established desktop functionality and then redesigning it for mobile in a way that would feel intuitive and simple for users.
“We launched our online credit score service in December 2018, so a lot of the building blocks were already in place – authenticated accounts, address lookup, the onboarding flow, and our integration with credit monitoring service Experian – however, these were developed primarily for a web browser and not a mobile, which meant we had to develop a range of additional API endpoints,” Boyd said.
“Because we’re introducing a new value proposition to the audience in terms of personal credit health monitoring, we knew it was important to make the onboarding experience as easy and frictionless as possible.”
An important part of this related to how users entered their physical addresses. Allowing users free text entry created the potential for human error, which would prevent them being matched with their credit score, and risked losing users at the first hurdle.
“The key to solving this was using a step-by-step flow – this design decision allowed us to hide complex business logic, so the user can just get on with setting up,” Boyd explained.
“That functionality goes to the heart of building trust and delivering on user experience expectations, so, getting it right was critical. Our solution was to build our own address lookup service, using the public GNA-F dataset as the data source and Amazon Elasticsearch to filter millions of addresses in milliseconds.
“This means users can drill down to their exact address and, because this is government data, we have a high degree of confidence that it will match what’s on file at the bureau. In the end, that means users can breeze through onboarding and get right to their score. A good UI should make it easy to do things that are difficult. The complexity should be hidden, especially for a consumer-focused app,” Boyd explained.
Overcoming the acceptance barrier
One of the biggest challenges the team faced was ensuring Credit Health felt instantly familiar to users, like an app that belongs on your phone. They have sought to achieve this by using native UI elements such as tab bars, views, and controls as recommended in Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines for iOS.
“Much has been said about Apple’s review process for releasing an app on the App Store,” Boyd said, “but we found sticking to their review guidelines as closely as possible helped us build something we think our users will appreciate and which will naturally slot into the way they interact day to day with their phones.”
Changing the way people think about credit scores
A driver for the app is the major changes in the role credit scores will play in people’s financial lives in Australia, as Comprehensive Credit Reporting continues to roll out. Boyd contends that most Australians, however, do not know about their credit score, let alone the role it plays in their lives.
“We think the near future will see people actively tracking their score on their phone, and the Credit Health app allows them to make tactical decisions around how they manage their finances to maximise their results,” Boyd said.
“And, for our business, it is the start of a move away from being almost entirely focused on acquiring more traffic, towards retaining customers and building a relationship that will help them achieve their financial goals.”