Drop a Card, Pop a Card

Virtual credit card app concept which I conceived, design directed, and conducted in-depth customer research on



This is one of the most impressive and beautiful fintech app I've seen in years. The market is crying out for something like this.

- "John" Senior Director @ Bank "B"

Background & Problem

After losing my wallet while on a business trip I experienced first-hand the myriad of problems and inconveniences a consumer encounters once they are forced to cancel their bank cards. I understood how common and painful this problem is and decided to explore possible solutions.

design: prototype

Shortly thereafter I took part in a fintech hackathon by the name of "Hack/Make the Bank" by the Open Bank Project and RBS Group. I formed a team around a proposed solution to the lost card problem which comprised of an app that links to a user's bank account and allows them to easily create and use virtual credit cards (VCC's). I called this app 'PopCard'.

User flow mapping and wireframing

I worked through the Lean Canvas with the team, conducted rapid market research with prospective users and banking officials, mapped out the user flow, and subsequently design directed the high-fidelity wireframe and prototype of the application with the team's UI designer.

I pitched PopCard to a panel of executives from RBS and Stripe, resulting in the concept winning an award for Best Design.

Hack/ Make the Bank winning pitch

RESEARCH: market analysis

After winning the award for Best Design and receiving very positive feedback from banking officials I followed up by conducting deeper market analysis, competitor analysis, and customer research/ customer development. As PopCard relied heavily on banks for its business model and viability, I targeted these for customer research and product validation.

Corporate and promotional cards

Research: RBS

I scheduled meetings with Ulster Bank/ RBS executives from the areas of innovation, open banking, product development, and card services. These meetings revealed business pain points and product roadmap details which proved invaluable in positioning the value-add of PopCard and influenced design decisions for version 2 of the prototype including:

PopCard InVision demo

Research: Bank "B"

I subsequently set up meetings with senior directors of research and innovation at bank "B". (anonymised for the purposes of NDA). Bank B strongly believed that PopCard was a product both it and consumers would want. However, the directors felt that a number of challenges made PopCard inviable for Bank B to back the development of, or incubate, within the foreseeable future, namely:

Research: Global Card Processor

Neither RBS nor Bank B were in a position to back the development of, or incubate, PopCard. However, RBS believed that one of the major card processors in particular would be interested in doing both.

As such, we met with "David", Head of Innovation for the card processor (anonymised for the purposes of NDA). David responded very favourably to the PopCard value proposition and it's prototype, however he stated that the processor wouldn't be able to assist as they were exploring developing a similar service and thus there would be a conflict of interest.

PopCard card cancellation process


The PopCard research process was conducted over a period of six months and encompassed market analysis, competitor analysis, and multiple in-depth customer interviews and product validation testings.

While there was a demonstrated appetite from the banks and card processor for a product like PopCard, the hurdles to developing an MVP were insurmountable without the active support/ incubation of the concept by a financial institution.

Based on the research findings, and without the ability to validate the concept, I assessed that PopCard would not be possible to pursue further.

NExt Project: Concordo
See Concordo