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Kora Financial Inc.
Launching a Virtual Visa Card with a Rebrand Twist

Skillset: Harmonizing user-centric design with the strategic vision

Intended approach:

Design Thinking Methodology

Duration: 3 months

Through extensive research into user behaviors and a deep understanding of the app's ecosystem, we crafted the KoraCard tab to seamlessly integrate KoraCash, offering users a quick route to deposit funds on their KoraCard. This not only enhances the accessibility of our cash loan service but also optimizes cash back rewards, creating a user-centric, efficient experience.

The Solution 💡

As the Visual Designer, I helped turn our vision into a real product. I worked closely with our Senior UX designer, Product owner and Product manager as well as the Marketing Lead, conducting user research, designing user flows, creating brand guidelines and UI design system. I was also in charge of leading the company's visual rebrand.

My Role 🤓

How might and integrate the KoraCard seamlessly into the app and website, ensuring a consistent and user-friendly experience while introducing a holistic rebrand to enhance the overall brand image and appeal?​

The Challenge 🧐

Creating the KoraCard was a great business opportunity, aligning with our objective to expand our user base and establish ourselves as a leading fintech solution in the education sector.

Note: This case study focuses on the user experience design and interface design process for the KoraCard within the Kora app.

If you would like to see my rebrand design process, click here.

We were a company of young people mostly younger than 30. So empathizing with college students came easy to all of us. it wasn’t that long ago when we were all struggling students eating instant ramen and pulling all nighters with only a penny to our names.

Empathy Workshops

Together with our marketing lead, we conducted focus groups and co-creation sessions with college students in UCSC and UCLA to gather their needs and ideas through mindmaps. This ultimately helped me create our brand and user personas and journey maps.

Focus Groups/Co-Creation Sessions

On the Product side together with our Kylie Quinn, our senior UX designer, we did research through competitive analysis, gathering screenshots, mocking up flows of other finance apps around the globe to identify market trends, usability insights and to prioritize features.

Competitive Analysis


...Brand Persona

Alex needs Kora to be smart, approachable, and supportive. A buddy in their financial journeys during college. Kora's brand persona is relatable and appeals to the everyman archetype. The brand is empathetic to the challenges college students face and aims to make financial management a joyful and accessible experience.

User Persona

Alex represents the typical user of Kora – a college student facing financial challenges, aiming to manage money wisely and reduce student loan debt. Alex embodies the traits of being smart and open to exploring solutions to financial problems, resonating with the everyman archetype. Kora's user persona, Alex, is happy to seek assistance and is eager to embrace a financial tool tailored to their needs.

AHA! moments

Uncovering the Challenge:

At the outset, we faced a conundrum. How could KoraCard truly stand out in a market teeming with competitors? Additionally, stringent banking regulations dictated the speed of ACH payment processing. These constraints had our team pondering its unique selling points.

The "Eureka" Moment:

Then, it hit us (during a book club session). KoraCash, with its ability for instant transactions, held the key to setting KoraCard apart. By enticing users to transfer KoraCash to KoraCard, they'd not only enjoy cashback rewards but also boost their credit history. The pieces of the puzzle began to fall into place.

Our journey was twofold.

First, we needed a clear, user-friendly way to convey these benefits to our users.

Second, we had to craft a seamless experience where KoraCash and KoraCard worked in perfect harmony.

Navigating Dual Challenges:

Where should the Card sit in the Nav? Is there a natural user hierarchy? In what order would they need to use Kora's features ( Insights, Card, Cash, and Settings)? Can some be nested?

We had so many things to figure out!

An exciting aspect was ideating on the KoraCard tab and getting requirements on on different states of the virtual card, e.g frozen, deactivated, hidden number, etc.

Designing the card itself had a lot of challenges, following strict guidelines, I pushed the limit as much as I could to make the design stand out.

For the website, we iterated on sitemaps and tested them through cognitive walk-throughs. Even though we wanted to focus on the link between KoraCash and KoraCard, due to bank limitations, they had to be segregated.

We learned to be mindful of how every small change we made affected the entire system. In retrospect, creating a systems blueprint would have been ideal.

Design Explorations 
Prototyping, Validation, and Accessibility Checks

Among other things, to make sure the hierarchy of our lay out was aligned with the designs goal, we took a few rounds testing with the attention insight plugin to make sure we were on the right track.

We intermittently checked our designs with accessibility plugins to make sure all users will be able to seamlessly use and view our app.

We mostly used Figma plugins to make sure designs adhere to WCAG on the AA level.

Final Designs
The KoraCard
Visual Assets & illustrations

Next Steps:

Our work on integrating the KoraCard with Kora's suite of products has validated our belief that comprehensive financial solutions can significantly benefit our users. next steps we planned on taking were:

  • Extend this approach to other key areas of the platform

  • Focus on enhancing financial literacy

  • Making the app more accessible and easy
    to use

Main Challenge and Lesson Learned:

Taking on this project was a tremendous learning opportunity. As a first-time project leader, I initially faced some nerves but quickly learned to trust my dedicated team members. Effective communication and daily stand-up meetings were essential in ensuring the project's success. Learning that every little design change effected the whole ecosystem of the app taught me to learn the difference between what's urgent and what's important. 

Results and Impact:

Our integration of the KoraCard with Kora's suite of financial products significantly improved the app's functionality. Users can now seamlessly manage their finances, track expenses, and access cash back rewards, leading to a positive impact on their financial preparedness.

In the Apple Store, Kora boasts an impressive rating of 4.4, while in the Google Play Store, it stands at a solid 4.1.

Visual Assets & illustrations