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Banking merchant portal re-imagined

By 26 April 2021September 1st, 2021No Comments

Banking merchant portal re-imagined

/// Overview

Improving a leading Australian bank’s merchant servicing capabilities through strategy and design to enhance customer experience and business outcomes.

We consulted on a major project for a leading Australian bank that manages more than 25,000 merchant accounts, to design a managed services platform for payment processing, also known as Payments as a Service (PaaS). Our client wanted to change how it services institutional merchant clients to provide fast and secure payment solutions and improve business outcomes for merchants.


1.5 weeks


Project manager
UX/UI designers

Applied Processes

Responsive design
Product testing


Pitch presentation
Proof of concept
Onboarding journey

Merchant banking dashboard on the phone

/// Collaboration

The objective of the portal was to help businesses grow by giving merchants the opportunity to manage payment processes online and directly monitor their business activity.

To achieve this, Charles Elena collaborated with the consultants to firstly understand their merchants’ needs and how we could implement those needs into an easy-to-use, effective online portal. Next we needed to create a seamless onboarding experience to ensure it could reach its full potential. The key requirement for the project was to customise a merchant offering for the clients that provided enhanced payment capability through PayPal and emerging digital payment platforms such as WeChat and Alipay. Omnichannel payment methods are convenient and professional and help to improve business outcomes by offering seamless solutions.

/// Challenge

Reaching its potential

We needed to ensure the merchants could use the portal to its full potential to create valuable outcomes for themselves and the bank. We had to align the bank’s expectations with its technical capability to maximise customer experience and ensure the portal was seamless to use and easy to understand. To do this we needed to carefully consider human-centred design concepts and the application of design thinking methodologies, incorporating all of this into an onboarding journey enabling customers to experience all the benefits of the platform.

/// Solution

Understanding how merchants interact

A series of workshops and interviews with merchants and stakeholders were held to understand the problem areas in the user experience. To create a seamless journey for all merchants, we involved three key users (derived from personas) throughout our design thinking process.



User process flows were mapped out and wireframes created, settingthe stage for re-imaning how the bank should provide easy-to-use, effective merchant services.



We also uncovered why different users required unique journeys, leading us to prioritise and customise the portal for each user type.


Key users

To build a seamless journey for all merchants, we involved three key users throughout our design thinking process: merchants (bank customers), relationship managers (bank staff) and IT service desk (back-end consulting team).

/// Outcome

Thinking beyond the requirements

Synthesis from the research phase helped us understand the platform’s value and potential beyond management services for merchants. By re-defining each user journey, we uncovered the need for important features such as an insight module powered by AI, universal search bars, a chatbot and an inbox system. All of these would make the portal more intuitive and navigable for the users.

Although the solution focused on business outcomes, a byproduct of that focus was an enhancement of analytics, insights and social capability. This added value to the relevant merchants but also improved the overall communication between the bank’s relationship managers and their clients.

Building a narrative

To re-build the bank’s services platform, it was important to create a user-journey narrative that conveyed how the bank’s technical and design capability could benefit the bank’s employees and customers.

The product follows different persona views, encompassing a large institutional customer journey from their onboarding experience to their business management.

Merchant banking dashboard
merchant portal image
Merchant banking dashboard

/// Highlights

Enhanced customer experience

Smarter decisions through insights and notifications

Improved relationships between bank managers and their customers

Strategic introduction of AI powered insights
Designed to leverage the data structure of the existing platform