Home / Fixed Deposit

Designing the best low-risk investment product in the market

UX Design, Service Design, Financial

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Fixed Deposit

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Scotiabank Colpatria

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The Fixed Deposit (CDT in Spanish) is a type of investment account where customers deposit their money for a fixed term with a variable interest rate. Before the maturity date, the customer cannot withdraw their money and as soon as the term is over, the initial investment is returned with the interest earned during that time.

Two screenshots of a Fixed Deposit prototype for Desktop and Mobile
One of the early prototypes I made for the project

The challenge

In 2018, Scotiabank in Colombia did not have a digital end-to-end journey to open the term deposit accounts. This meant that every customer had to go in person to the branch and spend an average of two hours to get their term deposit account opened.

The goal

With the bank undergoing a total digital transformation, the leadership of Scotia Digital assigned my team the creation of this product. We had to develop from scratch an online version that will allow new and existing customers to open their Term Deposits from anywhere, anytime.

My role

It was my responsibility as the Senior User Experience Designer to design an end-to-end experience that would balance the needs of the user and the business goals.

User Research

As with any other user-centered design project, I developed a list of hypotheses around the problems and needs of the people I was serving. The bank's research team assisted me each step of the way. Our focus was to gather all the information that could inform the design process and find the evidence to support the initial hypotheses. For instance, one of the assumptions I made initially was that the better the interest rate, the more likely we would sell the product.

However, I found out that most customers did not pick the bank with the best interest rates for the Fixed Deposit, but instead they were motivated by other factors (jump to Takeaways and Findings).

Research Activities

To begin, I conducted a benchmarking of the financial sector both in the country and abroad. This competitor analysis included 15 financial institutions in Colombia and 15 others around the world. The benchmark contributed to the understanding and modeling I had for the first draft of the Information Architecture.

Logos of the 30 companies used for the benchmark
Logos of the companies that were used in the benchmarking study

Next, I scheduled interviews with customers who had the product and others who were not customers but might become so. Each interview ended with an empathy map of the user. This means that we discussed their needs, motivations, fears, and expectations. The user personas were created based on this qualitative output.

Empathy map with a minimalistic icon of the user in the middle
A photo of an empathy map I created with a real user

Furthermore, I hosted a card sorting exercise to understand the mental models people had for the product.

Photo of the guide and elements I used for the Card Sorting activity
The guide I used to lead a card sorting activity with real users

Analyzing this data gave me a lot of insights and contributed to the early findings.

Screenshot of a spreadsheet showing the data of the Card Sorting activity
Textualizing the information from research is an excellent idea.
Here is an example from the card sorting activity

Lastly, we were lucky to have full-time data scientist on the team, so I basically had access to all the data I wanted from the current product and the market.

Two charts with information of the Fixed Deposit market in Colombia
Screenshot from the project's data collection
Source: Superfinanciera de Colombia

Pain Points

During this initial phase, I also had the chance to understand and empathize with the pain points our customers encountered along the way. Here are the top three:


The long opening time has proven to be the major barrier for customers who opened the Fixed Deposit in the branch.


Money withheld
The inability to use the money for an urgent need before the maturity date.


Extensive paperwork
Many people complained about how difficult the paperwork was, which made the product seem overly complex.

User Persona #1


Age 46

Occupation Sales Manager

Salary $3.000 USD / month

Financial Products Credit Cards, Chequing Account, Mortgage, Fixed Deposit

Photo of the first User Persona
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I don't care which bank offers this product, it's the interest rate that matters here


Profitability is this person's primary concern. He is always looking for the best interest rates at different banks.


The lack of simulators and comparison tools for all banks, along with personalized service and custom alerts for his investments.

Journey / Satisfaction Map

Chart showing the Satisfaction Map along the journey of the first Persona

User Persona #2


Age 57

Occupation Accountant

Salary $1.500 USD / month

Financial Products Credit Cards, Chequing Account, Savings Account

Photo of the first User Persona
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I have to save for my son's college education, and because I do not have a saving culture, I need to force myself to stay away from my savings


She wants to save money on a regular basis and keep it away from her regular expenses.


Debt makes it very difficult for this person to save or invest.

Journey / Satisfaction Map

Chart showing the Satisfaction Map along the journey of the first Persona

User Persona #3


Age 29

Occupation Psychologist

Salary $1.600 USD / month

Financial Products Credit Cards, Chequing Account, Savings Account

Photo of the first User Persona
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Saving is something my parents always taught me. Even if you don't make a lot of money, your savings are in good hands at the bank


Growing her savings. Making her saving process automatic.


This person doesn't like wasting time on something that should be online and take a few minutes.

Journey / Satisfaction Map

Chart showing the Satisfaction Map along the journey of the first Persona

The Design

To create the first wireframes, I compiled a list of all features and content gathered during the Understanding and Specify phase.

Wireframes draft in a whiteboard
Aligning the team with a whiteboard critique session

I knew that I needed to narrow down that list. For that reason, we had extensive conversations between the PO, stakeholders, and team members. Some of the regulatory aspects of the MVP were particularly challenging to negotiate. However, the PO was extremely helpful in disputing some of the compliance questions that were complex for the users. One example of things we got rid of was the in-person signature and the printed certificate of ownership. There were other requests and items we removed such as the type of product based on the year schedule.

11 Wireframes screenshots made in Balsamiq
A first draft of the wireframes I designed using Balsamiq

First prototype

Since most of the user personas were assumed to open the term deposit using their smartphones, the first prototype I created was the mobile version.

The usability testing was divided in three different chapters that represented the lifetime of the product: The opening, product information, and renovation/termination. For each chapter, the researcher gave some context (the scenario) to the participant before assigning the tasks.

Mobile prototype of the opening part of the Fixed Deposit.
Designed in Sketch and tested in InVision

Takeaways and Findings

A big part of the success we had with this product was socializing and capitalizing on the findings:


Interest rates are not always the deciding factor
Some users preferred to receive an immediate benefit, such as a gift when opening the Fixed Deposit. Other users were simply interested in locking their money for a specific period in a trustworthy institution to accomplish an important goal.


Simulators play an essential role
Users want to know the interest rate and profitability before purchasing the product.


Low opening amounts appeal to customers
Many customers mentioned how important it was to invest small amounts, even if it was less profitable. This insight turned out to be a good marketing opportunity.

In the first month following the MVP launch, we exceeded our customer acquisition goal by 32.5%. The effort to be user-centered from the beginning had led to this excellent outcome.

Another part of the success was finding innovative ways to attract new clients. It may seem funny, but we gave away food vouchers to the first 150 customers who signed up for a term deposit. It was a great idea! This illustrates that non-traditional advertising and promotion can be successful in any field, including banking.

Last but not least, I wish to emphasize the need to constantly optimize the user's journey and make it more efficient, which means that the user can complete their task in fewer steps. I'm very proud of the work we did as a team on this product, which continues to delight customers and contributes to the success of the bank.