Developing a no-nonsense banking app

Fulfill by Thrivent Federal Credit Union

Most money management tools are way too complicated. They fail to deliver the simple answer to the key question users want to know: Can I truly afford this purchase, or should I put the money towards savings?

Thrivent Financial is a mission-driven Fortune 300 financial services company that also owns Thrivent Federal Credit Union. Responding to the rise in digital banking, Thrivent wanted to reach Millenials and Gen-Z users who are just starting out on their finance management journeys.

After initiating the project with a large, national firm, Thrivent recognized they needed to pivot, halted the project, and sought out Highland's expertise to develop Fulfill.

They challenged us in new ways. They gradually became a strategic partner, because they had a vested interest in the long-term success of the project. They helped us better and shape the product, instead of just doing the design and development that they were hired to do.
Todd Sipe
President & CEO, Thrivent Federal Credit Union

Starting with human-centered design

Before diving into research, we helped Thrivent define three mission-driven and people-first objectives:

  1. Provide debt and cash management principles to help young users take ownership of their money story.
  2. Create a plan that prioritizes giving, saving, and living abundantly.
  3. Enable users to set and honor their plan through a digital solution.

We used Jobs to be Done research methods to better understand Fulfill's young target audience. As we began to gather evidence, it was clear that Millenial and Gen-Z users wanted a modern, wire frame design that would help them feel at ease and secure with their finances.

Several JTBD emerged from the financial decision points test participants identified with.

Creating a unique value proposition

In developing Fulfill, we wanted to create a tool that wasn't just about ease of banking, but also about establishing life-long, healthy money management habits.

The 5-3-1 principle emerged as an onboarding tool that aims to help users allocate their earnings into five categories: Giving, Saving, Debt, Bills, and Spendable.

This methodology allows users to have a concise number of flexible spending every month, creating a very easy way of transacting, and allowing people to confidently live within their means.

Fulfill's comprehensive 5-3-1 onboarding tool

While there were other account-aggregation tools already out there, we wanted to create a value-driven app that empowered users to follow wise financial principles.
Todd Sipe
President & CEO, Thrivent Financial

Launching a pilot

To measure the success of Fulfill, we set out to pilot the app over a three-month period. Participants focused on the major financial decisions we make throughout the course of our lives that define how we value money.

We found that the 5-3-1 calculator allowed users — some for the first time ever — to understand their own money story, which decreased stress and enabled users to more easily plan and reach for their money goals.

Even though I know nothing had changed, I felt like I had more control over my finances than I had the hour before. I already felt some peace, just from using the app.
- Kirsten, a Fulfill Pilot Participant


The pilot was so successful that Thrivent moved with launching the product.

Fulfill was part of a series of initiatives that Thrivent led to reach more Gen Z and millennial customers. Read about the other research we conducted and products we developed as a part of this work:

Learn more

Partner with us

At Highland, we research, design, and build digital products and experiences for customer-centric companies and mission-driven organizations. For over 20 years, our team of designers, developers, and strategists have helped organizations turn their biggest uncertainties into opportunities for growth.

We've built and launched over 268 digital products, and we'd love to help you take your idea from dream to delivered. Ready to get started? Get in touch.

Jon Berbaum

President