Early Direct Deposits





Acquisition & Welcome Experience


Banks typically hold paychecks for up to two days to process and verify funds. There's almost zero chance for errors to arise, meaning that most paychecks sit in purgatory for no reason. 




Give people their paychecks up to two days early. Plus, make it easier to set up direct deposit in order to get paid early.



Getting paid is one of the most quintessential banking moments in Capital One's portfolio of experiences. It's also a celebratory moment for customers, especially those who may be relying on their next paycheck. When a payer sends a bank their employees' paychecks, they go through the automated clearing house (ACH) to ensure the legitimacy of the transaction. Then, banks take approximately two days to verify the transaction again on their end. 

By eliminating the additional processing time, Capital One could provide customers with their paychecks up to two days earlier than usual. This allows for more flexible spending, whether a customer wants to pay off expenses earlier, or go out to dinner on a Wednesday instead of Friday.

As the lead designer on this initiative, I was responsible for designing the entire customer experience and delivering it to our product and tech partners.

Customer journey mapping

To initiate our design process, we collaborated with product and finance stakeholders to visualize the current state experience alongside our proposed early direct deposit experience. We focused on the pre-customer and account opening phases, the direct deposit setup experience, the first early paycheck, and the subsequent paychecks. 

In this process, we noticed deficiencies and pain points in the direct deposit setup experience, which hadn't been updated in years. We decided to include a revamp of the direct deposit experience in our early direct deposit initiative. 

Early Pay Customer Journey Map.jpg

Refining scope

As we moved into the solution phase, we used the customer journey map to theorize the ideal experience. I created a quick customer win "dia-drawing" to help illustrate a positive customer experience to our partners.


Then, we worked to resolve pain points, especially in the direct deposit setup experience. However, we continued to level with stakeholders to learn what was within scope. In balancing the customer experience with the scope of possibility, we began to work towards solutions. 

Early Pay - Customer Wins Dia-drawing

We initially created a home for direct deposit setup that focused on early direct deposit, existing direct deposit payments, and setup methods. With our partners, we determined that we wouldn't have the tech capability to provide information on existing direct deposits.

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In our next iteration, we retained the new home for direct deposit but deprioritized existing direct deposit payments. 

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In the "Transaction Details" page, we intended to calculate and display the year-to-date salary earned from an employer.

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However, this was descoped and moved to post-MVP. Instead, we focused on messaging around the early payment.

Deposit Details.png

Final designs

Throughout the rest of 2020, we rapidly prototyped through new iterations towards creating final designs. We also tested designs with users by conducting virtual think-alouds followed by interviews. Additionally, we underwent review and approval processes to ensure design quality, legal compliance, and tech feasibility. 

Ultimately, our designs were completed in early January 2021 for a March release. 

3a. Manage Direct Deposits - Set Up Dire

The finalized setup home promoted two means of direct deposit setup, while providing a note about early direct deposits. 

10. Transaction Details for Paycheck - G

We carried over the same typology on the "Transaction Details" screen to emphasize the early payment and link out to additional information. 

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A full-screen modal provides more information about the initiative, surfacing as much information from the FAQs as possible while maintaining our brand voice. This was particularly an exercise in content strategy and information design. 

Results and next steps

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In late March, we began a phased launch to eligible checking accounts, with our full-scale launch completed on April 7, 2021. By then, we had successfully delivered over $300 million early across more than 250,000 transactions.

We monitored call center activity to identify any negative impact to customers. To date, no issues have arisen—in fact, many of them have called to rave about the convenience the new initiative brings them. 

Across social media, customers have also celebrated the idea of getting paid early. 

As we continue to innovate with this new feature, the team plans to scale to other checking accounts. We're also focusing on the future of direct deposit as a whole, working to break ground on an aspect of personal banking that has a world of impact on people.

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