Capital One
Credit Keeper Strategy

Design Research | Ideation Workshops|

Product Visioning

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Challenge

Credit Keeper is Capital One Canada's online tool that allows customers to check their TransUnion credit score for free; the tool launched in 2017. Since then, the credit monitoring landscape in Canada had changed significantly yet no additional updates had been made to Credit Keeper.

In partnership with the Credit Keeper product owner and a quantitative researcher, we conducted an ambitious mixed-methods research study to determine the value that Credit Keeper provided to both our customers and Capital One as a business. The PO intended to use the research findings as a justification to a) keep the tool as is b) invest in future feature development or c) take the tool off the market entirely.

Following the research, I planned and led two feature ideation workshops and partnered with a service designer to create a future vision for Credit Keeper. A product designer brought the vision to life via proof-of-concepts, and the Credit Keeper PO leveraged the research findings and vision to put together a product strategy for the future of the tool.

Design Research

I was responsible for the qualitative research portion of this project; I planned and executed 15 customer interviews with Capital One customers from four different segments: high-usage Credit Keeper users, low-usage Credit Keeper users, lapsed users and non-users (ie. Capital One customers who were not using the tool).

Research Objectives:

  1. Understand Capital One customers' current perceptions and usage of Credit Keeper so that we can evaluate the customer value and how the current product is meeting / not meeting customers' needs.​​

  2. Understand how the credit monitoring landscape has changed since Capital One first launched Credit Keeper (including consumers' attitudes and usage of such tools) so that we can better understand the role Credit Keeper might play in the future.

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A participant exploring the Credit Keeper prototype during an interview

Responsibilities:

  • Identified participant / segmentation criteria

  • Ran 2 brainstorming sessions with the Credit Keeper PO to identify key areas of inquiry for the interviews

  • Wrote the interview guide

  • Conducted dry run to ensure the interview + prototype sharing ran smoothly

  • Trained junior researcher in moderating best practices

  • Lead moderator for the remote interviews

  • Ran post-interview debriefs 

Interview Synthesis

Participant Profiles

To begin the synthesis, I went through the note-taking document for each participant and created a profile that captured their:

  • Key demographics

  • Financial trajectory + history

  • Financial goals

  • Credit monitoring tool(s) used

  • Credit score checking behaviour

  • Credit Keeper OR competitor tool usage

  • Reactions to Credit Keeper being taken off the market

See All Participant Profiles (PDF)

Insight Clustering

After completing the profiles, I partnered with the project's service designer to do the initial clustering and insight generation. We started by identifying a high-level list of topics:

  • General score awareness

  • Motivations, benefits and frequency of score checking

  • Tool discovery (Credit Keeper + competitors)

  • First time experience (Credit Keeper + competitors)

  • Credit Keeper UX/UI feedback

  • Credit Keeper features (Score Breakdown, History and My Accounts)

  • Reactions to Credit Keeper being taken off the market

  • Top desired features to add to Credit Keeper

  • Competitor tool likes and dislikes

  • Reasons for using multiple tools

  • Expectations of banks to provide credit monitoring tools

See All Insights by Theme (PDF)

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Example of a participant profile

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Example of clustering and insight generation around customer reactions to Credit Keeper going off the market

Key Findings

Following the interviews and synthesis, we then decided to launch a large-scale survey to build confidence in the insights learned and get buy in from the leadership team.

 

The majority of the planning, execution and analysis of the survey + results were completed by the team's quantitative researcher. I provided feedback during the survey design phase to ensure that information from the qualitative research was incorporated. 

Once the survey was completed, I partnered with the quantitative researcher to share learnings and create a compelling report in which insights were backed by survey data and humanized through participant quotes and video clips.

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Example - In the above question, I was able to add reasons that surfaced during the interviews to the predetermined list of answers.

What Did We Learn?

Credit Keeper is delivering customer value, especially for those who are trying to improve their credit. That said, there is evidence that it is not meeting all of customers' needs and there are opportunities for improvement. There is also untapped potential among non-users.

1

Most users perceived Credit Keeper to be the same or better than competitor tools, praising the convenient access within their accounts and score information.

61% of Credit Keeper users thought it was the same as competitor tools, while 33% thought it was better. Only 5% felt Credit Keeper was worse than other tools they used.

"If I have the [Capital One] app open, it's nice and clear at the bottom, like the little button that says credit score, it's enticing to click on it to see what the score is." - Credit Keeper User

2

Credit Keeper is a helpful tool valued by many customers; getting rid of it would have a negative impact.

79% of Credit Keeper users would be disappointed if they could no longer use it, with 38% being very disappointed.

"I hope not. Oh my goodness, I'd be really disappointed. It's almost like an addiction, like a partnership, like an ongoing education. I really find it useful and helpful. I really hope not." - Credit Keeper User

3

Nearly three-quarters are using at least one other credit monitoring tool, suggesting Credit Keeper isn't satisfying all their needs.

71% of Credit Keeper users use at least one other competitor tool, with Credit Karma being the most popular choice. When asked why, 53% said they're comparing credit scores across tool while 40% said they want to access their TransUnion and Equifax scores.

"I've used Equifax, and one called Mogo, just to see if I'm getting an accurate read. Sometimes I find what I see in my Capital One app will be different than my other apps, so I'm trying to get a truer picture of my score." - Credit Keeper User

4

The main reason non-users are not using Credit Keeper is that they don't know about it and when told about it, the majority are interested in using it.

83% of non-users were unaware of Credit Keeper. When told about Credit Keeper, 64% said they were likely to sign up for it, especially customers trying to improve their credit.

"I want to use it like right now. I want to know where I am, there's so much information here that will help me know what's going on with my credit." - Non-User

Feature Ideation Workshops

The insights gathered from the Credit Keeper strategic research demonstrated to the Capital One leadership team that Credit Keeper did provide a high level of value to its customers. Instead of pulling the tool off the market, the leadership team made the decision to invest in the future development and growth of the tool.

In collaboration with the Credit Keeper PO and service designer, we decided to run 2 workshops: 

  1. Feature Ideation - This workshop was run with the Credit Keeper core product team; the intent was to brainstorm new features to address customer needs and pain points discovered through the research.

  2. Integration with Card Customer Experiences - This workshop was run with key stakeholders from all lines of business; the intent was to ideate on how Credit Keeper could be integrated into complimentary experiences to better help our customers (ex. the collections experience).

Workshop #1 - Credit Keeper Feature Ideation

To prepare for this workshop, I began by partnering with the project's service designer to write a list of key jobs-to-be-done (JTBD) for Capital One customers using Credit Keeper. We decided to leverage the JTBD framework to define our customers' unique needs as we believed it was the best method to empower the Credit Keeper product team to ideate on new concepts and offerings for Credit Keeper that would provide a high customer value. 

After generating the JTBD, we wrote a list of how-might-we (HMW) questions to be used during the workshop to help with feature ideation. When writing the HMWs, we made sure to reference back to the existing issues and insights discovered from the research. This was the final result:

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I was solely responsible for the planning and execution of the workshop. My responsibilities included:

  • Creating a Mural board for use during the remote workshop - The board included the JTBD + HMWs, instructions, timing and areas for activities; I decided to use the diverge-and-converge technique where attendees brainstormed Credit Keeper features on their own and shared them out to the group.

  • Facilitating the workshop - When facilitating, I made sure to encourage full participation and create an environment where everyone felt comfortable sharing their thoughts and perspectives. I leveraged the JTBD + HMWs to ensure that everyone was on the same page and working towards the same outputs.

Credit Keeper Feature Ideation Mural Board (PDF)

Following the workshop, I was responsible for organizing and synthesizing the brainstormed features into the 3 JTBD steps: Understand - Improve - Protect. Credit Keeper Synthesis - Features by JTBD (PDF)

Workshop #2 - Credit Keeper Integration with Card Customer Experiences

For this workshop, we decided to invite product owners from key areas of the business: Onboarding, Spend + Pay, Customer Engagement, Product Marketing and Loss Mitigation. To prepare, I started by collaborating with the Credit Keeper PO and the project's service designer to plan out the following workshop timeline and structure:

  1. Lightning Talks - Each stakeholder gave a short talk to cover the high level customer experience of their product. The talks also covered known customer pain points and gaps.

  2. HMW Statements - Each stakeholder presented HMW statements that explored how Credit Keeper could be leveraged within their product/space/experience (stakeholders were responsible for writing these in advance of the workshop). 

  3. Feature Ideation - All attendees then participated in a brainstorming activity, working by themselves to ideate on features that addressed the HMWs and sharing out as a group.

Similarly to the first workshop, I was solely responsible for creating the Mural board and facilitating this workshop.

Here's an example of this workshop in action featuring the Loss Mitigation space:

The product owner gave a lightning talk that covered the different stages that a customer might go through once delinquent on their card payments, from receiving email or SMS reminders to pay to having their account being suspended. The PO also covered the different assistance plans and hardship offers that Capital One offers to customers in this space.

HMWS:                                                                   Feature Ideation:         

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Credit Keeper Vision Story + Proof of Concepts

Following the workshops, I partnered with the project's service designer to create a vision for the future of Credit Keeper; we mapped out the 6 key moments in the customer's credit journey and integrated new potential features (identified from the workshops) into the journey. A product designer then brought the vision to life through design proof of concepts.

Credit Keeper Vision Story (PDF)

Access
Understand

We'll make it easy for Canadians to access & enrol in Credit Keeper by explaining the value of regularly monitoring their credit before they actually need their credit score.

Credit Keeper will serve as Canadian's source of truth for all things credit, helping them understand their personal credit history, why there are multiple scores and how their score is calculated.

Improve
Recognize
Preserve

Credit Keeper will provide personalized suggestions and activity alerts, empowering Canadians to improve their credit score and fulfill their financial goals.

We'll celebrate wins with credit, recognizing positive financial behaviours and rewarding them with new credit opportunities.

To help Canadians preserve their improved credit scores, Credit Keeper will let them know as soon as they're at risk for credit damage like entering Collections so they can course-correct.

Protect

To protect Canadians from suspicious financial activities that could harm their credit, Credit Keeper will proactively monitor their accounts for fraud, score changes and hard inquiries.

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Product Strategy + Impact

The activities and learnings outlined above helped the Credit Keeper product owner develop a deep understanding of Credit Keeper's strengths (high customer value), weaknesses (lack of foundational features and awareness) and challenges (business viability of the tool is still a question mark).

The PO developed a comprehensive product strategy and presented it to the Capital One leadership team; the strategy included: 

  • Mission Statement: We are building an omnipresent credit education platform for all Canadians that is mobile-first and a single source of information for all things credit.

  • 3-Horizon Approach: A series of undertakings to determine the business value of Credit Keeper, scale that value to all Capital One customers and finally extend success to all Canadians.

Since this strategy project wrapped up, Capital One has hired a new product owner solely responsible for supporting feature discovery + implementation for Credit Keeper, grown the tech team to help develop these features and put plans in place to restart in-market advertising of the tool.