The Entrepreneurial Finance Lab (EFL) is a pioneer in psychometric and alternative credit scoring that enables better lending in emerging markets. In short, EFL is building algorithms which analyse a borrower’s attitudes and beliefs to better assess risk of the unbanked or underbanked. The concept originally started as a research project to determine how to form more ‘matches’ between institutions with money (e.g. banks) in emerging markets, and people that may have a vibrant life but lack the banking history necessary to receive a loan (e.g. the unbanked). The answer came from psychologists who have over the years developed quantitative tools (psychometric) to measure personality, intelligence, and honesty - the same characteristics that can be used to evaluate the character of an applicant, and thus willingness to repay.
As EFL clients span over 27 countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, and partner with over 35 leading financial institutions, this project meant a lot for us. It was one of our first global scale design order, a real challenge with a possible outstanding positive impact that we truly believe in. Indeed the implementation of EFL's technology into mobile will greatly spread the use of their solutions across the world, hence, alleviating poverty, one loan at a time.
EFL wanted this app to improve its psychometric score by integrating additional alternative data sources directly coming from the user’s mobile device (such as social network data, geolocation data...etc.) At the same time, it was critical that they were able to deliver a more customizable product to satisfy the localization requirements of their clients, spread geographically and each with unique customization requirements.
The scope of Polidea activities comprised of UI/UX design and the software implementation of EFL’s psychometric application into a native Android mobile app, along with single-page web app with responsive design.
Psychometric evaluation typically includes a combination of personality measurements online which measure your cognitive abilities and personality by asking for example : “How does this statement relate to you? I buy things that I later wish I didn’t” or “If a family member offered you the choice between these 2 options, what would you select: 50 gold coins today or 100 gold coins in 2 years?”
Our design team conceptualized and designed the UX and UI components (the navigation components, tutorials, the intuitive sliders, visible buttons etc.) for the application. Our main goal was to build the most intuitive application for people who are not used to interacting often with technology and/or mobile devices. The same application that needed to work on a low-cost Android device in rural Mexico was required to work on a tablet in urban India. Additionally, our engineers built a flexible, modular framework that allows different application content to be put together in any order and quantity so that EFL’s customers can choose only the functionality they need. Moreover we had to comply with strict requirements that the application work in low-cost mobile devices with limited or no internet connectivity.
Indeed, EFL is often a service that is used by local loan officers where they have a tablet they carry into local communities, far from cities. Therefore, the biggest challenge was to create an app that would be directed to inexperienced users from these same rural communities, often with low levels of literacy, and almost always with, low-cost mobile devices.
Thanks to the very close cooperation that followed with EFL, we have been able to conduct remote field-research with the help of their employees to understand better and design for end-user’s needs and expectations (EFL carried out our UX field-testing with on-the-ground local populations and collaboratively worked with us to implement their findings).
“Polidea was the ideal partner for this project. With combined expertise in design, user experience, as well as full-stack and rapid development capabilities in both web and mobile, they were a great one-stop-shop for all of our needs. They have challenged our thinking, as we have theirs, and the end result is an amazing product with take-up that is exceeding our already high expectations.” Darrell Grissen, EFL CTO
The EFL project was as challenging as rewarding. It gave us the opportunity to work on a design that will reach vast populations in emerging markets with the goal of helping to accelerate poverty reduction. Our collaboration with EFL is far from over, indeed we have already begun working on the next phase and look forward to a long and mutually beneficial partnership. Stay tuned for more!