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#LEAwards 2020 highlight: OCBC hits refresh on app to capture loyalty

#LEAwards 2020 highlight: OCBC hits refresh on app to capture loyalty

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With three local banks in the market, Singaporean consumers are spoilt for choice. However, OCBC Bank was not going to let that hold it back from being the primary bank of choice among Singaporeans. As such, it worked with digital agency SECTION to transform its OCBC mobile banking app to draw more customers and build a loyal following. These efforts led SECTION to win the gold award for "Best Use of UI/UX Design" at MARKETING-INTERACTIVE's recent Loyalty & Engagement Awards 2020.


When the app first launched, it met its functional objective of offering customers with an on-the-go solution to perform routine banking tasks, such as checking their balance and performing simple transactions. However, customers nowadays want more than just a banking app. In fact, they want an app that not only serves their needs, but also empowers them. With this in mind, the team at SECTION worked with OCBC Bank to create a mobile banking app that OCBC's customers would enjoy using and use it more often.

After conduction hours of reserach internally with customers and non-customers, the team came up with three key insights.

1. Customers log in with the main goal of completing fundamental tasks, such as checking their balance, transfer money and pay their bills.

2. Consumers also trust the accuracy of data that OCBC collects but want to understand how it can help them become more financially savvy.

3. Customers are open to more features if they are able to see tangible benefits.


Its strategy focused on three main areas - refreshed look and feel; better and more meaningful experiences within the app; and ways of working that will encourage the team to continually evaluate and iterate the app.

Knowing that the first impression matters, the team was keen on nailing the refreshed look and feel. SECTION and OCBC Bank worked to develop a new colour palette that is fresh and incorporated lifestyle illustrations to create a look that is clean and welcoming.The illustrations within the main dashboard also complemented the time of day with illustration sets also developed for festive occasions, such as Chinese New Year and Hari Raya.

Additionally, it rethought its in-app experience, first starting with the most fundamental tasks such as viewing account balance and recent transactions, as well as transferring money and paying bills. It later moved on to some of the pain points it gathered during the research phase. These include customers being unable to differentiate the various banking services out there, from PayNow and PayAnyone to PayLah. Some consumers also weren't able to commit to a savings plan. With this in mind, the team focused on four areas within the app - Dashboard, Financial Insights, Money In$ights, and Savings Goal.

1. Dashboard

The most basic and frequent tasks a customer would perform usually include viewing their account balance and recent transactions, as well as payment transfers and bills. While majority of banking apps allow their consumers to fulfil and complete these tasks, OCBC and SECTION wanted to make it easier and faster for their consumers to do so.

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2. Financial Insights

Financial and banking lingo can be confusing sometimes, which frustrates consumers and leads to the under-utilisation of certain features that can actually be beneficial to them. Yet at the same time, OCBC is awrae that as a bank, a multitude of data is being collected from customers. To turn the data points into something meaningful for consumers, OCBC developed Financial Insights. Based on the individuals' data and behaviour, the bank is able to personalise and tailor the information they receive. The insights are categorised into three areas - Inform, Save More and Earn More.

3. Money In$ights

From its research, OCBC and SECTION concluded that most consumers intend to better manage their spending. However, the challenge is being able to meaningfully categorise their spend in a quick and simple way. With that, the team brainstormed decided to come up with a way to aggregate and display this information in a clear and concise manner via Money In$ights.

4. Savings Goal

While customers can track towards bigger milestones in their lives using Life Goals, Savings Goals enables them to track smaller goals that are more lifestyle-oriented. Once a Savings Goal has been created, consumers have the option to set up recurring deposits, make one-time deposits and track how far off they are in achieving their goal. Users can also personalise the image used to represent their gola within the app.

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The revamp of the app required buy-in and alignment from various product owners and stakeholders across the organisation. To facilitate this, the bank had to implement an agile way of working to move and iterate at a quicker pace.

To manage the priorities for the entire project, sprint planning was conducted the week before the commencement of its two-week sprint cycle. During the session, all key stakeholders in the project aligned and agreed on the priorities for the upcoming sprint. Thereafter, weekly sprint reviews were carried out throughout the process for key stakeholders involved to gather feedback on items for the current sprint. The session included product owners, product managers, designers and developers to allow those involved to be aware of the next immediate steps.

On the external front, the bank also released the biggest update for its app on October 2019, featuring a new look and feel as well as key features. These were rolled out over the next few months and customers were prompted to update their app. Since the major launch last October, the team has also been working to update the features and release new ones based on actual user data and behaviour. The project is still ongoing.


According to OCBC, its brand tracking study found that the overall ranking of its OCBC mobile banking app jumped from fourth position during the fourth quarter of last year to second between April to May this year. Customers were also satisfied with the new features as well as the user interface  of the updated app. Brands there were analysed during the brand tracking study included DBS, POSB, UOB, Maybank, Standard Chartered Bank, Citibank and HSBC.


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