‘Settled’ is an immigrant financial empowerment app that aims to provide new African immigrants in Canada with the knowledge and resources they need to make well-informed financial decisions, alleviate stress, and transition into the Canadian financial system. It will focus on addressing challenges related to establishing credit history, tax filing, choosing the right bank, and overall financial literacy.
How might we provide new African immigrants with streamlined access to financial knowledge so that they can make better-informed financial decisions within the first three years of landing in Canada?
Canada welcomes millions of new African immigrants every year who face the same age-old problem. New African immigrants to Canada often face challenges due to unfamiliarity with the country's financial system and practices. These challenges encompass establishing credit history, choosing the right bank, understanding housing and rental costs, navigating the tax system, managing insurance, and making informed investment and savings decisions. While there are many newcomer support programs and services in various provinces aimed at alleviating these challenges, the problem persists.
The urgency to address this issue is apparent, as these challenges have an immediate impact on the economic well-being and integration of new African immigrants into Canadian society.
Research Insights and User Pain Points
To validate the problem space, 4 user interviews and 16 online surveys were conducted to understand the pain points of new African immigrants to Canada as it pertains to the financial knowledge gap of the Canadian system. The key insights were:
- 75% of participants fell in the category of those who have been in Canada between 1-3 years. (This is the focus group).
- 85% of respondents experienced financial challenges after immigrating to Canada.
- Key challenges include understanding the tax system, establishing credit history, choosing the right bank, understanding housing and rental costs, and knowing investment and savings options.
- 75% of participants believe they did not have the necessary information to make informed financial decisions upon arrival in Canada.
- 90% of respondents believe technology and digital platforms can be harnessed to create effective financial education tools for new immigrants.
- The majority of participants express a preference for mobile apps as a user-friendly tool for navigating their financial knowledge gap. Personalized coaching and workshops are also mentioned as valuable resources.
- Some respondents provided specific suggestions, such as the need for a more user-friendly version of tax filing software and addressing challenges related to establishing a credit history, especially for students.
The preliminary user research conducted to validate this problem space found that 85% of respondents experienced financial challenges after immigrating to Canada. The key challenges identified by the respondents include understanding the tax system, establishing a credit history, choosing the right bank, understanding housing and rental costs, and knowing investment and savings options.
Explanation of the Solution
Considering the Identified pain points, ‘Settled’ is the solution new African immigrants need. Settled is a mobile application designed to provide tailored financial education and resources for new African immigrants in Canada, focusing on addressing challenges related to credit history, tax filing, and general financial literacy.
In practical terms, Settled will provide step-by-step guidance on how to establish a Canadian credit history through responsible secured credit card use and will simplify the Canadian tax system, guiding users on choosing the correct tax forms, reporting income accurately, and maximizing available deductions and tax credits. The app will offer virtual financial coaching sessions to provide personalized advice on budgeting, savings, and investment options, connecting users with experienced financial coaches to meet unique financial goals.
With the Co.Lab phase of the program coming to an end, I will work on investigating the intricacies of building the product features. Additionally, it is worth exploring how Settled will ensure that the educational content, instructions, and resources are effectively localized for users from diverse African backgrounds who may speak various languages and dialects.
Product Manager Learnings:
I learned that it is important to focus on the problem space and the users as much as possible before diving into the solution space.
Recognizing the significance of consumer research became clear, as it played a crucial role in pinpointing user pain points and accurately identifying the fundamental issues that required resolution.