The Brief

February 2019 - March 2019

⏳ Background

Understanding Earnnest's relationship with Dwolla and Plaid

Homebuyers use Earnnest to pay their earnest money via a web app. We use two third party solutions in the homebuyer web app: Dwolla and Plaid. Dwolla verifies the homebuyer's identity and processes the payment. Plaid instantly verifies and connects the homebuyer's bank to Dwolla.

Dwolla's involvement is not pronounced. The most a homebuyer sees of Dwolla is agreeing to Earnnest and Dwolla's terms of service. Plaid's involvement is very obvious. The homebuyer launches an overlay within Earnnest that is branded Plaid and talks about Plaid's relationship with Earnnest.

One thing is not like the other

You can see how visually distinct the Earnnest homebuyer UI and the Plaid Link UI are. Something I should note, so as to save face, the Earnnest homebuyer UI is a legacy UI. My team is currently overhauling the UX and Visual Design.

📢 What we needed to address


Earnnest had a problem of trust, specifically around homebuyers using Plaid to select a bank account. Data showed a 20% drop-off for homebuyers at the select a bank account step. At this step the homebuyer is launching a third-party service called Plaid to select and link a bank account.

👤 My primary roles

This initiative was self-started and executed. I have a custom dashboard I created with Chartio that allows me to track homebuyer analytics. I presented the data to the rest of the Earnnest leadership team and got buy-in to research and test solutions.

👩 Target audience - homebuyer

We don't track age, gender, or other characteristic of homebuyers in Earnnest. Based on random homebuyer interviews the age range is diverse but seems to be in the 20-40 range. Our product definitely lends itself to a younger generation that are comfortable with paying online and don't use checks.


Validating a hunch

Talking to the right people

I had a hunch that perceived security was the issue, but I needed to talk to homebuyers to be sure. I built a list in Chartio of homebuyers who dropped-off at selecting a bank account. I emailed the list and had about a 3% response rate. From that around 10 agreed to phone interviews.