What makes Level Money more than mere marketing? Its unique interface doesn’t just tell you the cash in your bank account or the bills that are coming due. It calculates and visualizes the cash you have on hand to show you whether or not you can afford that next latte right before you buy it.
Unto itself, the acquisition news is notable. But it also cements a larger trend in which Capital One is investing in the user experience of their banking products. Last July, Captial One recruited Daniel Makoski, a member of Google’s most experimental technology and interface lab, ATAP, and appointed him as the first Vice President of Design at the company. Then in October, Capital One purchased the San Francisco design firm Adaptive Path, retaining the firm’s structure but essentially becoming their only client. Now, with the acquisition of Level Money, we’ve seen Capital One make three aggressive, public investments in UX in less than a year.
We’re beginning to get the message: If any company can buy their way to better design, of course it would be a bank–and it happens to be a bank still evolving its brand from popular credit card company to full service financial institution. Now let’s see what new products Capital One will launch as a result.