CI recently conducted a study with small business owners on their perceptions of money transfer interfaces. For this study, we asked eight small business owners to perform external transfers on their own business’s account and across four other business banking accounts: Bank of America, Brex, Capital One and Chase. Participants received little guidance in their interactions with the sites and performed all necessary steps to complete the transfers right up to the actual sending of funds. As participants engaged with interfaces, our UX team asked them to identify aspects of those interfaces that they liked and those they struggled with.

Our UX and Small Business Banking teams joined forces to create a concise summary of the findings in a recent webcast. In this blog post, we outline a few key takeaways from the webcast.

Small business owners want to complete external transfers as quickly as possible

Small business owners are busy people and want to complete an external money transfer—or a transfer between bank accounts at different financial institutions—as quickly as possible. The most common comments we received from small business owners revolved around how many clicks it took to get to where they needed to be, and how fast they could complete the external transfer. For example, respondents preferred sites with prominent, immediate links to the external transfer journey over those that hid links behind menus or within crowded interfaces.

Respondents said they would prefer redundancy to having to search for the transfer link

In terms of findability and ease of access, Capital One was the clear winner amongst participants in our study. The firm places a Transfer Money button at the forefront of the account activity page and integrates two additional paths to the transfer interface lower on the page. When asked if they found multiple buttons to be redundant, respondents said they would prefer redundancy to having to search for the transfer link. Having multiple points of entry gave participants the impression that the firm understood their needs and prioritized speed and ease of access to external transfers.

These screenshots show how to find the Transfer Money Link on Capital One's website
Capital One Account Activity Page with All Transfer Money Links

On the other hand, respondents were not impressed with Bank of America. When asked to navigate to the external transfer interface from the homepage, almost all respondents mentioned being overwhelmed by the page’s visual and information density to find the external transfer option—which appears in the menu at the top of the page—significantly increasing the total time required to complete the transfer.

This screenshot shows Bank of America's transfer with Zelle link for small business accounts
Bank of America Homepage with Transfer and Zelle Menu

If given the choice, small business owners prefer vertical layouts to horizontal ones

Small business owners preferred money transfer interfaces that organized features and forms vertically. Vertical displays make clearer the full selection of transfer-related inputs and options, which in turn indicates how long processes will take. In addition, one participant pointed out that a vertical layout is beneficial for making sure they did not miss any entry fields when completing the money movement journey. Conversely, horizontal displays require indeterminate amounts of scrolling, making the length of process unclear and requiring users to move back through interfaces to confirm all inputs are complete.

This screenshot shows the transfer money capability on Capitol One's website for small business owners
Capital One Transfer Money Lightbox

Firms should strike a balance between function and aesthetics

Despite appreciating the clean interface of firms like Brex and Capital One, users became confused when they couldn’t find information for things that they found important, like fees or explanations of account features. For example, when we had users go through Brex’s transfer interface, they repeatedly misunderstood which account the account field was describing. This is something integral to transferring money, but participants were split on whether the account type field was describing their account or the recipient’s account. So, while a clean and simple interface is highly preferred, users want to feel like they have enough information at their fingertips to make informed choices.

These two screenshots show Brex and Chase's transfer interfaces for small businesses
Brex and Chase Transfer Interfaces

On the other hand, Bank of America had one of the most information-dense authenticated sites within our coverage set but was the least preferred interface among our participants. Participants felt that the pages were too cluttered, and they did not know where to focus their attention. Firms should try to strike a balance between clean interfaces and enough information to help the user feel in control and confident, particularly when they are moving money.

This screenshot shows Bank of America's comparatively dense external transfer window
Bank of America External Transfer Interface

Small business owners want to have immediate access to external transfer processes upon login. Once within the transfer interface, they want to have a sense of how long the process will take and have access to the information they need to conduct transfers with confidence—but they do not want to be overwhelmed with cluttered designs or superfluous content.

To learn more about our UX and Small Business Banking research, be sure to check out the full webcast here. And for full access to other small business banking updates and reports, including the first-of-its-kind Small Business Banking Monitor, click to learn more about our Small Business Banking subscription research service here.

Stephanie Sorage

Stephanie Sorage is an Analyst on CI's bank and cards team.

Patterson Deppen

Patterson Deppen is an Analyst on CI's bank and cards team.