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Guru Guardian

A digital solution for Financial vulnerability


Service design, UX design, UI design, User research


Conor Mc Donald Heffernan, Haoming Chen, Jeeyoung Sim, Soobin Song, Nattanun Sainont


Royal College of Art,

Ernst & Young, Rainbird


6 months

The project

An AI-based B2B2C financial service designed for potentially financially vulnerable bank customers (PVC) to help build their financial literacy and resilience through personalised and crafted guidance, and ultimately empower them to safeguard their financial health. 

The Approach

1. Discovery

2. Ideation and early prototype

3. Prototyping and refining

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The challenge

How might we build financial literacy in potentially vulnerable customers to make them more financially resilient

We carried out research around potential vulnerability in our target group based on interviews and qualitative research reports, finding that a large number of UK young adults are financially vulnerable


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Key insights


High-level opportunities

FCA driven push for banks to design for vulnerable customers

The needs for financial buffers from 20M customers with opened digital neo-bank accounts

Open Banking leverage to have a better understanding of customer's behaviour, bringing about a revolutionized bank-customer interaction

in the future, Open banking can provide service a better view of users' financial circumstance by increasing the accuracy of AI's judgment

Project Goals

The core idea is to deliver "financial information" based on the founding concept of capturing, sharing and matching the 'saving recipes' of those with healthy finances to those struggling.

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Prototype process | Questions

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Prototype process | stage 1

We created a website and social media pages and ran a targeted ad campaign focused on graduating students. We engaged more than 120 people for our prototype phase.

All of these participants were directed to a survey which focused on their financial priorities around their preferences, frustrations, wishes and goals. 

As a result, It helped to give them a better idea of what our service was offering. 84% of our participants went through this process and shared their emails to move onto the next stage.

Prototype process | stage 2

To kick-off Stage 2 of our prototyping and we set out to return some value. We grouped our participants and tailored insights based on their financial preferences from stage 1.

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Prototype process | stage 3

Our next step was to manually carry out a resilience analysis for each participant based on their transaction data. This was partly to validate that it was feasible on the basis of our criteria and to create a score for each participant to assign Guru or Traveller status.

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sharing transaction data

Resilience analysis

Application of analysis

We made 3 types of contents for this stage aiming to deliver personalised guidance based on the data gathered and modelled on each participant during the 1st and 2nd stage in order to validate how we distilled it into content.


Process to build resilience

The service is divided into 3 stages, on the first one the service uses Rainbird AI to analyse the vulnerability levels of customers, on the second stage provides a truly personalised financial feed and then it matches similar patterns in customers' financial data with other customers who have almost exactly the same financial behaviour and circumstances but have radically improved their saving and spending patterns.

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financial literacy and resilience


Open Banking means that more and more financial organization will have its API open to public

Future of the service


GuruGuardian will have a greater chance to improve its accuracy throughout the process, delivering better service

Key learnings

It is essential to be careful and empathise with the users you are working with in order to make them feel comfortable, especially in a topic such as finance.

Keep the positivity and a healthy work ambient can be a key factor for the result of a project

Tools to manage the design process going from physical to online group work due to covid-19

January-July 2020, London

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