Credit Usability

Link: Cash Usability – Signal vs. Noise (by 37signals).

Picking up from this post on 37 signals around cash usability and the colour of Australian dollars being so much more effective as a design attribute than any figurehead in knowing how much cash you have in your wallet, I wonder if anyone is thinking around this area for debit/credit cards ?

I’m hopeless at managing money.  Especially when I don’t know how much I have at any one time, which is er, just about all the time.  With cash I knew and found it easier to budget.  But with more purchases now made with plastic rather than cash, how could we develop a way to know how much we have "in our pocket" [or available on ‘credit’]?  Surely this would be a fantastic service if a major bank managed to pull it off – you could create coloured bars or some other representation on cards that indicate
how much ‘money’ you have available everytime you use the card? Though any such development may mean that people become far more money conscious in knowing what they don’t have to spend and consequently there’d be less incentive for any bank to provide the service – unless it were a bank that created value from it’s customer service offering and charged accordingly for that – the co-op bank with its ethical consumer driven values would be idea wouldn’t it. 

1 Comment
  1. The writer at 37signals seems surprised that currency comes in a variety of colours. I’m more surprised that US currency is a single colour. I can’t think of any other country with monotone notes. I can, however, think of one note that was only printed on one side; the old Hong Kong one cent note was so worthless that banks would give them away to tourists.

    As for the colours of Aussie currency making them easy to distinguish. Maybe that’s true if one has grown up with that colour set. If one has been used to another colour set then it makes it harder, even after a few years of daily use.

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