My country wants to go cashless, so I redesigned a digital wallet, DBS PayLah!

Digital payments and cashless transactions are the future — how might we encourage the movement in a largely cash-based society like Singapore?


I’ve been wanting to do this case study/redesign for a while now since I started using PayLah! at the start of the year. It’s summer vacation and I finally got the capacity to get down to it and it’s a good opportunity to practice my user research skills as well as an excuse to try out Principle for motion design … so I present thee.

With Singapore’s recent push towards adopting cashless payments, the development of new technology and adoption of digital payment methods became rampant. Paylah! is a mobile payment solution developed by Development Bank of Singapore (DBS) where transfers are done through a registered mobile number or via QR codes. The app was first introduced as an alternative to internet banking for peer-to-peer transactions. In recent years, payment at brick-and-mortar stores was made possible.

*** I am not affiliated with DBS or any of its partners and this redesign was done on my own volition.

[‘Lah’] — a slang used mainly by Singaporeans and Malaysians to complement almost any sentence.


Despite the new look on the app from an update this year, the peer-to-peer transfer process still felt sluggish and the app is cluttered with a surplus of underutilized features that potentially impedes frequent use. I felt that the user experience had so much room for improvement.

To help you get a better understanding, I recreated the existing PayLah! experience for non-users and international friends:

DBS PayLah! app (06–2018)

Got a better idea? Great, now we’re on the same page. You will see that the home screen is littered with tons of features and the payment process has redundant steps like repeated confirmations. PayLah! has great potential to encourage the move towards cashless as the bank has a relatively large user base of 785,000. However, the service only has 15,000 daily transactions, translating to just about 1.9% of total number of accounts (not even accounting for multiple transactions per account). Improving the experience has an impact on adoption and ‘stickiness’ — when user experience is great, people are more likely to return for regular usage or day-to-day transactions. Design can have a butterfly effect on cashless adoption.

Thus, this case study/redesign was inspired to encourage usage and service adoption through a better user experience — for users, by a user. My process is guided by qualitative user research, identifying and solving user needs, and utilizing Google’s Material Design guidelines.

Author: Darren Lee Yong

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