Design and add a new feature that embeds within the current Venmo app.

  • Role
    UX Research & Design
    Project Scope
    Design a new personal finance management feature that embeds within the current Venmo app.
    Project details
    Group Project : Remote Collaboration Self Directed, with feedback from the mentor and peers

    Duration : 4 weeks plus.

    Platform : Mobile Application

    Tools : Figma, Sketch, Miro, Illustrator, Airtable, and iPad Pro.
    Target User
    Aspiring Professionals.

    Young Professionals.

    Comfortable Professionals.

Project Overview

The Problem

Venmo was founded in 2009 by two former college roommates who wanted a better way to pay each other back. What started off as a simple SMS platform to send and receive money has evolved into a social payments app allowing people to split bills, pay each other back for rent, and make purchases at approved merchants.With this space becoming increasing competitive, there is reason to believe they want to include a feature that encapsulates users’ personal finances moving forward.


Design a new personal finance management feature that embeds within the current Venmo app.

Make sure the feature so that it embeds well and smoothly with the rest of the app.the rest of the application.



Venmo is already a mobile peer-to-peer payment service application. They have put a lot of effort in providing a seamless experience through its current features, but now they want to go beyond and not just provide these functions, but also tools to help them manage money better. Seeing an opportunity to make a difference and help Millennials with their financial challenges, they now want to develop typical personal finance management features include saving goals, budgets, calculators, and expense tracking. However, Venmo is open to other suggestions we may propose as long as it's supported by research and offers a step forward in their desired direction. So why add a personal finance feature? In order to better address this question, I had to conduct research.

Research Goals

Identify Venmo's personal finance service market, especially on the mobile end.

Understand target competitors of Venmo, as well as their strengths and weaknesses.

Identify Fintech trends.Understand people’s experience with Venmo.

Understand to know people’s current personal finance management methods.

Identify the target audience of Venmo.

Market Research

After doing market research to get a sense of what I know and don't know yet, who the audience is, and what the recent trends or news are, The insights I gathered from market research will help me frame provisional personas and ask meaningful questions in primary research. As I am designing personal finance management features for a P2P payment software, I have started to gather some knowledge of the market on both ends. I then dove deeper to learn about different aspects of Venmo, including its users, features, and operations. Finally, based on the demographic knowledge I gathered when researching Venmo, I looked into the spending habits and personal finance management of that specific population.

From there, I conducted market research in individual categories. Shown below are a few statistics I thought were crucial to making sense of our original question, "Why add a personal finance feature?
  • Venmo statistics
    Rapid growth, used by the younger generation, smaller transaction size compared with primary competitors.
    Venmo had over 52 million active accounts by Q4 in 2019. (ZDNet)

    Small business owners’ usage of Venmo: Nearly 30% small business owners don’t use Venmo for business, and only 2% responded that their small business accepts Venmo payments from customers. (GetAppLab)
    Over 7 million Venmo users belong in the 18-34 age group. Among those: 4.1 million belong in the 25-34 age group, and 3.3 million are in the 18-24 age group. (BalancingEverything)

    1.4million Venmo consumers are aged 35-44. Americans from the 45-54 and over 55 age groups represent 1.4 million users or about 700,000 consumers each. (BalancingEverything)
    Venmo processed more than $102 billion during the financial year, marking a 65% year-on-year jump. (Paypal)

    The average Venmo transfer size is $60, which is much lower than its main competitor Zelle, whose average transaction is five times higher at $300. (MarketWatch)

    Venmo imposes transaction limits for different scenarios. (BalancingEverything)
    Socializing/Personalizing Aspects
    The entire Venmo program is set up to capitalize on word of mouth as its main growth marketing engine, considering that 92% of people prefer brand recommendations from friends over advertisements. (MarketWatch)

    The company believes that the friends you Venmo are your true friends, the ones you actually hang out with, comprising a much smaller group than your connections on social platforms like Facebook and Instagram. (Venmo)
    P2P Payment Service Market Trend statistics
    P2P Payment market continues to rise with multiple competitors entering the field.

    The latest estimates show that P2P mobile transactions will total $309.95 billion in 2019, growing 27.9% to hit $396.48 billion in 2020. (Emarketer)

    More than 80 million mobile phone P2P payment users in the US.

    44% of Americans have used P2P payments, while 19% have never heard of this term. (Statistica)

    Spotify listeners frequently turn to the streaming service to soundtrack special occasions.

    Growth is driven by millennials.

    While PayPal's Venmo, Square's Cash App, Tencent Holdings' WeChat Pay and Apple's Apple Pay are still the most widely used P2P payment service, more and more unique payment platforms continue to emerge in the market such as LiteLink Technologies Inc.'s uBUCK Pay. (Emarketer)
    Personal Finance Management Service Market statistics
    North America is leading the personal finance industry, but it is increasingly threatened by the efforts of traditional bank to integrate such features onto their platforms.

    Region wise, the personal finance software market growth was dominated by North America in 2019 and is expected to retain its position during the forecast period between 2020-2027. (Allied Market Research)

    The U.S. personal finance software market size was valued at $232 million in 2018, and is expected to reach $343 million by 2026, registering a CAGR of 5% from 2019 to 2026. (Markets Insider)

    According to a 2018 survey, Spotify reaches almost half of 16 to 24 year olds in the United States each week.

    While banks typically license software from industry operators (an opportunity for industry growth), the industry is threatened by banks' integration of their own personal finance software onto their platforms. (IBISWorld)

    Only 24% millennials demonstrate basic financial literacy.

    70% of Americans say their financial planning needs work.

    Only 30% of Americans have a long-term financial plan.
    User's Behaviors statistics
    Financial planning is an area lack of consideration among Americans.
    Personal Finance Management
    58%of Americans have less than $1,000 saved. (Spendmenot)

    Millennial Americans have a median emergency savings of just $2,000. (pendmenot)

    Only 24% of Millennials demonstrate basic financial literacy. (National Endowment for Financial Education)
    Spending (Millennials and Gen Z)
    Millennials spend more on: Convenience, Online shopping, Debt payments, Food away from home, Experiences and travel, Streaming services, Social impact; they spend less on: Cars, Clothes, Housing, Retirement.(Spendmenot)

    75% of Gen Z spends more than half of their monthly income, and less than 1/3 of Gen Z is comfortable sharing personal details other than contact information and purchase history. (IBM)

Competitive Analysis

After conducting my market research, it is equally important to research other P2P payment apps, as their strengths and weaknesses will not only shed light on the key areas in which we should strive to maintain high quality, but also help me identify any opportunities for Venmo to emphasize. I analyzed direct competitors, who are major P2P payment service providers, and indirect competitors, who integrate P2P payment features into their services.
  • Strengths
    Apple Pay can be used with lots of retailers.

    convenient among the apple ecosystem.

    Instant transfers to friends & family are free.

    Compatible with most banks.
    Not supported with non-Apple devices.

    Limited to iOS 6 and higher.

    Adoption rate.

    No online shopping support.
    Keeps a running tab of who owes whom for trips, living expenses, etc.

    Can create different groups for different sets of expense (roommates, friends).

    Can create recurring bills and expenses.

    Overview of spending category.
    Have to make a payment on separate platforms.

    Difficult to invite people who are not frequent user of the app.
    Instant money transfers.

    Only need an email or phone number to send money.

    Deposits directly into bank accounts.

    No transaction fees.

    Integrated with most major banks apps that are involved in the Zelle partnership.
    Support debit card only.

    Can't connect credit card to pay others.

    Can't add people directly from contacts - difficult for verifying the number.

    Limitations for multiple accounts.

    Must have bank account to integrate with adoption rate.

    Can't cancel transaction if payee hasn't enrolled with Zelle.

    Wide usage by both merchants and individuals.

    Multiple sources for transfer, including debit/credit, and Paypal account.

    Offer fraud protection service.
    Can do international money transfers.
    Induce $0.25 per instant transfer.

    Long wait time on withdrawals to bank account.
    Integrated Zelle service that directly connects with checking account.

    Connect to other banking services.

    Stronger credibility that is attached with the bank.

    Summary of spending by category.
    Have to open a citibank account.

    Doesn't support ipad in landscape version - simply an enlarged version on iphone.

    No verification of identity of the person being paid before transaction if using Zelle.
    No fees, checking and saving account.

    Debit card accepted almost anywhere.

    Personal finance capabilities.

    Instant transfer with simple users.

    Can link to Venmo, Cash App.
    Transfers with simple users only or 3rd party app.

    Not very well known.

    Online only, no physical branches.

    No checkbooks.

Provisional Personas

Now that I had a better understanding of Venmo market space through market research and competitive analysis, I wanted to start exploring and identifying who their target users might be. By creating provisional personas, I was able to quickly start empathizing with Venmo users and gain a basis for who I would conduct user interviews with to validate this information.
  • The Meticulous Saver
    18-24yrs, Ordinary college student
    Split rent with roommates.

    Document every spending he or she made.

    Get a real value for money through discounts or reward programs.

    Secure first part-time job or first promotion.

    Wants to have disposable income.

    Wants to learn about personal finance.
    Spend too much time comparing prices.

    Are concerned about the security issues regarding personal data.

    Not earning much money.

    Needs to rely on parents or guardians support.

    Anxious about personal finance.
    The Social Butterfly
    22-34yrs, Stylish and outgoing
    Purchase trendy clothes in season of his or her favourite brand.

    Wants to be able to spend disposable income.

    Pay off any existing debt owed.

    Wants to improve personal finance.

    To maintain interaction with close friends.

    Treat friends in famous restaurants.
    Finds restaurants that offers truly amazing and unique food.

    Has a habit of overspending due to social media and convenience.

    Deal with the clothes that become outdated.

    Confused about financial literacy.

    Doesn't have much money saved up.
    The Career Starter
    24-34yrs, Busy white collar
    Achieve financial independence to live comfortably.

    Have a nice work life balance.

    Make some savings every month.

    Wants to invest money from personal finance.

    Keep a proper amount of spending in different categories.
    Unexpected cost can mess up the saving plan.

    Too busy with work to generate a detailed financial plan.

    Easily influenced to make impulse purchases.

    Doesn't carry around much cash, mostly rely on digital payment.

User Interviews

To gain direct insights from users by having them share their experiences with Venmo and stories about personal finance management or explore the need for personal finance. I conducted user interviews. I created an interview guide split between open-ended Venmo-specific and personal finance-related questions, with open-ended questions listed to invite the participants. I set up a screening question to identify people who are frequent users of Venmo and who use the app at least a few times a week. In total, I invited 5 participants (3 males and 2 females) between the ages of 22-36 yrs, 13-17 minutes each, to participate in the interview. My goal was to really understand their experience with Venmo and their relationship with their own personal finances.

Empathy Map

After transcribing all of my interview notes, I found that users had their own unique experiences with personal finance management. I decided to use an empathy map to synthesize patterns across users, uncover insights, generate needs, and form insights that would help me uncover these individuals’ implicit needs. Using an empathy map, I was able to synthesize all of the findings and uncover these key insights.
  • Insights
    Users set aside money for different reasons.

    Users gravitate towards convenience when handling their finances.

    Users want to track every spending without missing anything.

    Users enjoy watching their account grow.

    Users prefer their spendings to be automatically categorized.

    Users do what they can to track their personal expenses.

    Users encounter difficulties when splitting bills paid by multiple people.
    Users need to identify issues in their spending habits.

    Users need a way to capture the money that is set aside.

    Users need to reduce the time spent on managing personal finance.

    Users want to be able to handle their personal finances with ease.

    Users need confirmation that they are continuously building wealth.

    Users need to calculate the amount of money each person has to pay easily.

    Users need an easier way to track their personal expenses.

User Persona

Using the information gathered from the interviews and the insights and needs discovered through the empathy map, as well as their goals and needs, it helps me focus on tackling the most important problems to address the major needs of the most important user groups. It is both fictional and realistic. I created a user persona that accurately represented who we were designing for. This persona helped guide my decisions along the design process to make sure the solution I am designing is centered on our user. Meet Edward.


Male 27 yrs old, Game developer, single.
  • Goals
    To avoid unnecessary spending.

    Like to set aside money for certain things.

    To split money with friends or peers.

    Gravitates towards convenience when managing personal finances.

    Wants to see his accounts grow overtime.

    To pay when there is no cash with him.

    Easily keep track of his or her expenses.
    Needs a way to capture the money he sets aside.

    To identify issues in the spending habits.

    Needs a way to handle his personal finances with ease.

    Needs confirmation that he is continuously building wealth.

    To reduce the time spent on personal finance.

    Needs an easier way to track his personal expenses.

    To calculate the amount of money each one has to pay easily.
    Accommodate friends who use digital payments.

    To pay off his loans.

    To grow his personal accounts.

    To purchase things with his disposable income.

    Become financially secure.
    Hard to track cash spending.

    Split money among multiple people.

    Have to manually categorize spending.

    Too much work to keep up with.

    Not very financially literate.

    Too many steps to log into.

Defining the Problems

Now that I knew who I was defining for, I wanted to make Daniel goals and needs feel more personal. I was able to use the insights and needs gained from research to identify what the main problems are that I am trying to solve. I used those insights and needs to create POV statements to better understand the problem from the user’s perspective and then created HMW questions to come up with possible solutions for these problems.
  • Insights

    Users set aside money for different reasons.

    Users gravitate towards convenience when handling their finances.

    Users want to track every spending without missing anything.

    Users enjoy watching their account grow.

    Users prefer their spendings to be automatically categorized.

    Users do what they can to track their personal expenses.

    Users encounter difficulties when splitting bills paid by multiple people.


    Users need to identify issues in their spending habits.

    Users need a way to capture the money that is set aside.

    Users need to reduce the time spent on managing personal finance.

    Users want to be able to handle their personal finances with ease.

    Users need confirmation that they are continuously building wealth.

    Users need to calculate the amount of money each person has to pay easily.

    Users need an easier way to track their personal expenses.


    Users need to identify issues in their spending habits because they want to track every spending without missing anything.

    Users need to reduce the time spent on managing personal finance because they prefer their spending to be automatically categorized.

    Users need to calculate the amount of money each person has to pay easily because they encounter difficulties when splitting bills paid by multiple people.


    Reduce the time users spent on managing personal finances.

    Identify issues in their spending habits.

    Capture the money users set aside for different reasons.

    Let users calculate the split amount more easily.

    Handle his personal finances with ease.

    Track users personal expenses.

    confirm users is continuously building wealth.


Based on the HMW questions, I started the brainstorming process with mind mapping. I spent 3 minutes on each HMW question, and moved on to the next HMW question when the time is up and quickly generated as many different ideas as possible.
How might we reduce the time daniel spent on managing personal finance?

How might we help daniel identify issues in their spending habits?

How might we help daniel capture the money he sets aside for different reasons?

How might we let daniel calculate the split amount more easily?

How might we help daniel handle his personal finances with ease?

How might we make it easier for daniel to track his personal expenses?

How might we make it easier for daniel to confirm he is continuously building wealth?

Group Brainstorming

Apart from completing my own individual brainstorm, I facilitate a group brainstorm session with 6 participants. This activity helps me gather more solutions proposed from different minds of people. Before the group brainstorming, I sent out an agenda to each participant. These sessions were great because it allowed for creative freedom without fear of too many constraints.

Project Goals

After coming up with different solutions for the main problems identified, I decided to list project goals that will both serve as a guide for the future development of the product and a rubric for determining what features to include in the website. I established business goals by referring to published coverages of Venmo's business and summarized user goals from my user persona and empathy map. To make sure the product we are developing is both usable and sustainable, I identified mutual goals by aligning specific business goals with user goals.
  • Business goals

    Design a new personal finance management feature.

    Maintain being the most popular mobile peer-to-peer payment application.

    Create a better way to pay.

    Jump into other facets of finances including debit and credit cards.

    Maintain current customer base.

    Create a social network aspects to sending and receiving money.

    Expand customer base.

    Make digital payments extremely convenient for its users.

    User goals

    To split money with friends or peers.

    Users want to set aside money for different reasons.

    Users gravitate towards convenience when handling their finances.

    To pay when there is no cash with them.

    Users enjoy watching their account grow.

    To avoid unnecessary spending.

    Users want to know what they spend their money on.

    Mutual goals

    Manage personal finance efficiently.

    Overall better customer experience.

    Create a streamlined, convenient experience.

    Dabble into personal finances.

    Provide convenient payment experience.

    One stop destination for your finances long term.

Product Roadmap

I then started to put the solutions I brainstormed into a list of product features to create a comprehensive product roadmap.These features were sorted into four categories, including Must-have (P1), Nice-to-Have (P2), Surprising and Delightful (P3), and Can-come-later (P4) features. They were sorted based on how well they can help achieve business goals and user goals.

Application Map

After setting up the product goals and deciding what features to include, I want to continue building up the structure of the app using the application map. An Application map helps me to visualize the relationship between the content and examine the hierarchy. I first mapped the existing application map of Venmo, and identified sections where I can add the new features.

Task Flow

To decide what I am designing, identifying the main flow of users when completing a task helps me to direct my focus on designing specific pages. By creating task flows that center on the new features I am adding for Venmo, I was able to think through the necessary steps and examine the user experience in details.
User Task 1: Daniel wants to track his milestone progress every day in order to stay motivated in reaching his end of the year target date.

User Task 2: Daniel wants to create a Housing expense bucket so he can start passively setting aside money until his rent is due.

User Task 3: After paying rent owed this month through Venmo, Daniel wants to label the transaction under housing so that it gets deducted from his housing expense bucket.

User Flow

Building on the task flow, Now I wanted to take an even deeper look into the overall user’s journey while interacting with the new features. In order to more deeply empathize with the user, I created a user flow to explore the scenarios the users would be in and the different paths and decisions they would encounter when trying to complete the key tasks defined. The decision trees were added for me to think through what actions users would take based on their feelings with app.

Lofi Wireframe Sketches

I sketched a few iterations of low-fidelity screens before landing on final lofi wireframes sketches with help of ipad. It also enables me to examine ideas or possibilities before putting everything in the daunting process of digitizing.

Sketches to Prototype

Now that I had a good understanding of the scenarios I would be designing for, I wanted to create a prototype to test on real users using high fidelity wireframes. In these wireframes, I tried to incorporate existing design patterns of Venmo that have been applied elsewhere in the app. By following the established design system, I attempted to integrate the newly-added features seamlessly into Venmo.

High Fidelity Wireframes

Using Figma, I first started by creating high-fidelity wireframes. I attempted to integrate the newly-added features seamlessly into Regimed.


Following my wireframes, I then used Figma to create an interactive high fidelity, limited functionality prototype that I would use for usability testing.

Usability Testing

Before usability testing, it is important to set up test objectives, subject, methodology, tasks, and rubrics for measuring the result of the testing before conducting a test. Therefore, I wrote a usability testing plan to define what and why I want to test and get prepared for the test.

I expect a 100% completion rate since all tasks are normal steps for managing finance and were designed using existing patterns of Venmo. I also expect a 90% error-free rate because the prototype is not fully functioning, and users might take alternatives that have not been built up for completing the tasks.

I conducted four remote, usability testing via Zoom with 5 participants, and created transcripts for each participant based on my observation of their interaction with the prototype. Participants were asked to share their screen while navigating the prototype tasks. I requested they think aloud and bring up any steps they considered to be intuitive or frustrating.

I jot down their mistakes, slips, and confusions they expressed in the process. This transcript is a perfect raw material for summarizing the patterns of user’s interaction with the prototype.

Affinity Map

With all the notes compiled from the usability tests, I started to synthesize all the information through an affinity map. I was able to draw connections to uncover patterns which helped me identify design recommendations to improve the usability of my design. Like the empathy map, it is effective in helping us find patterns and frustrations when users are interacting with the prototype, and identify areas of improvements based on priority levels. where I will fix problems that affect key functions for our app.

Pain Points

I identified common pain points encountered by users during testing leading to my discovery of key insights which helped me to identify  design recommendations.
4/4 Users had difficulty finding relationship between milestone and Spending summary.

3/4 users showed some confusion to interpret the doughnut chart.

3/4 Users are interpreting the goals as the expense tab.
  • Insights
    Users find it difficult to interpret the doughnut chart under the spending summary section.

    Users are interpreting the goals icon as the tab where you would create an expense fund.

    Users would like to see the expense fund as a payment account to spend from when making a Venmo payment.
    Separate the milestone progress bar and the spending summary into two different slot tabs.

    Display the doughnut chart with different shades of blue to signify the different categories that make up the total spending.

    Create a single tab called buckets that will be split between expense buckets and saving buckets.

    Users have the option to choose either or when creating a new bucket.

Priority Revisions

Using the recommendations identified through testing, I started to make these revisions in the high fidelity wireframes.

1. Separate the Milestone progress bar and spending summary.

  • Before

2. Display the doughnut chart with different shades of blue to signify the different Categories.

  • Before

3. Add a single tab called new buckets.

  • Before

4. Update the payment account section so the expense bucket can be an option for categorizing the payment.

  • Before

Final Prototype

After completing the revisions, I updated my prototype with the revised design.

High-Fidelity Design Artboard

High-Fidelity Design Interaction Wiring

High-Fidelity Prototype Interaction Video

Reflection & Next Steps

With the final prototype created, I believe I have met the goals that were outlined in the beginning of the design process. I added new features based the needs I summarized from user interview, which integrates into the existing app to create minimal frictions for existing features. I would present my deliverables to the rest of the team (stakeholders, product manager, developers, fellow designers, marketing, etc) and explain my design process and how I came to these decisions. I would work with the developers to ensure handoff is as smooth as possible by documenting my work well, utilizing the design system, and specifying any wireframes that may be unclear.

The next steps I would take this project through from here are:
  • Re-Test
    I would love to conduct additional testing to see if the changes were encouraging and what else would need to be considered if time wasn't an issue.
    I would dive deeper in the data visualization aspects of the spending summary, and think more about iterating on the socializing features of Venmo.

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