Why do they make it so hard for Granny?

Friday, 1 June 2018
London, UK
By Sam Volkering

  • Can Granny get into crypto?
  • Trying the latest fintech
  • When no one can help you

Make it so simple that Granny can set it up.

That’s the rationale when it comes to the user experience (UX) for a lot of tech. And it’s a reasonable request to make.

Let’s say you are a Granny. And let’s say you want to buy some stocks. Or maybe some crypto. Or perhaps you just want to get online through a new social app.

It should be easy for you. But let’s also assume most Grannies aren’t all that tech savvy.

Now yes, this is a massive generalisation, I’m aware. However on the bulk of it, most Grannies (let’s go with 75+) aren’t that tech savvy. No offence to Grannies.

According to popular views – I ask a lot of people about this – setting up a crypto account is hard. And according to the same people, setting up a stock trading account is easy.

I think about this a lot. And my view is most people don’t try either.

My Granny (although we called her Oma – because of the Dutch heritage) might have been able to set up a Facebook account.

But according to the mainstream there’s no way she’d be able to get into crypto.

However she most definitely would have been able to open a stock trading account.

After all, trading stocks is easy right? Setting up an account with a broker is a piece of cake. Want to buy some stocks Granny? Just call up the broker and get it done.

It’s all so easy.

Well, we have some news people. And we’re talking to all the Grannies, Grandpas, Mums, Dads, brothers and sisters everywhere…

It’s not easy. It’s bloody hard to buy stocks. And I’ll tell you exactly why shortly.

But first, the markets.


Overnight the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 251.94 points, or 1.02%.

The S&P 500 fell 18.74 points, or 0.69%.

In Europe the Euro Stoxx 50 index finished down 34.54 points, or 1.00%. Meanwhile, the FTSE 100 lost 0.15%, and Germany’s DAX sank 178.87 points, or 1.40%.

In Asian markets, Japan’s Nikkei 225 is up 5.63 points, or 0.03%. China’s CSI 300 is down 0.69%.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 is down 19.40 points, or 0.32%.

On the commodities markets, West Texas Intermediate crude oil is US $67.88 per barrel. Brent crude is US$67.14 per barrel.

Gold is trading for US$1,297.90  (AU$1,720.17) per troy ounce. Silver is US$ 16.39 (AU$21.72) per troy ounce.

One bitcoin is worth US$7488.99.

The Aussie dollar is worth 75.44 US cents.

Trying out the latest ‘fintech’

Today we started looking into an ASX listed fintech company, SelfWealth [ASX:SFW]. Here is a company that says they’ve got low cost trading. Just $9.50 per trade regardless of trade size.

They say ‘trade knowledge and shares’. Heck, they’ve even got some kind of partnership with the ‘Dons’ – the Essendon Football Club (AFL).

Ed note: It’s starting to sound like an industry superfund if you ask us…

Anyway, seems super great on the face of it. You can ‘join for free’ and ‘sign up and create your anonymous profile.’

Ed note: Geez starting to sound like crypto now!

They also promise ‘market insights from Thomson Reuters, and 90 days free access to the SelfWealth Premium community’.

Holy Moses. Sign me up. This is the kind of trading platform we’ve always wanted.

Lets say this interests you too. You want to trade some stocks. The timing is crucial, urgent. You want to get your cash into the market, seize the opportunities as fast as you can.

You want to buy some stock, NOW.

Yes, SelfWealth might just be what you need.

Or not.

We decided to test run the registration process for SelfWealth. The platform does seem great. It has a lot of things going for it. Why not give it a whirl.

We decided to sign up. And then things got real.

The first step was easy. Email address and password. We can do that. Heck, even Granny can do that.

And that’s what we thought would be enough to set up our ‘anonymous profile’. Then we could go ahead with trading.

Oh no, we were wrong. Because then the real world financial system ‘UX’ kicks in.

We had to provide every skillet of information about our personal self that was available.

Name, address, tax file number, date of birth, drivers licence number. It was all straightforward. But it was extensive. Overly extensive. And it was exactly the kind of thing you’d expect from any other broker service. There was no differentiator here. Same bull excrement, different smell.

The same kind of crap you’d expect from any traditional financial system service.

Then at the very end of the process we also had to provide certified ID to complete.

Now if you’ve ever had to certify ID before, it ain’t easy. You need to find the time to go get it certified and the actually submit the doc. That might take a day. Or you might forget, and it takes two. Or three by the time you scan it and send it.

How do you reckon Granny is going to get on with that?

But lets assume you can get it done. And let’s say you do it in a day.

You submit the doc.

Oh but wait…there’s more.

It takes:

  • Up to 2 business days to verify your ID.
  • Plus up to 1 business day to set up a cash account for the trading.
  • Plus up to 2 business days to get a shareholder registration number.

Total all that up. After the form filling, certified document getting and registration, it takes around six business days to start buying stocks.

Of course then you have to send cash into the account to buy the stocks.

That means you can add another ‘up to two business days’ to the process.

Where are we at now…eight business days?

Let’s hope you don’t start this process on a Thursday or Friday. That would quickly become 12 to 13 days adding in weekends.

In other words if you want to trade stocks with this ‘progressive’ fintech company…just wait two weeks. Mind you it’s exactly the same for all online trading and broking services.

Two weeks!

And the mainstream thinks buying stocks is easy. Pfft. Yeah right.

It’s hard to buy stocks.

Actually that’s not 100% correct. It’s easy to buy stocks. It’s hard to register to buy stocks.

But therein lies the failures of our existing system. It’s not supposed to be easy for the mum and dad investor. It’s not supposed to be easy for the everyday person who wants to try get ahead. It’s not supposed to be easy for Granny.

The conventional financial system benefits a few. It’s rigged towards those who rigged the system in the first place. And frankly, it stinks.

Free, open, transparent stock markets are something we should expect.

But they are anything but free, open and transparent. And that’s not right. There should be a better way.

And yes, we might harp on about the benefits of crypto, but there’s a reason for it. If you look beyond the superficial mainstream coverage you see what it’s changing.

Go register on Coinbase for example. Heck, do it on a Saturday or Sunday.

You give your email, password and name address, etc. You have to do this to pass anti-money laundering and counter terrorism funding rules. And so you should.

But then you upload an ID document and it’s verified on the spot.

A friend of ours wanted to buy crypto. We sat there and watched him set up an account one night. We didn’t give any input. It took him under 10 minutes to establish his account.

Let us ask you this. What’s the better ‘UX’ in this case?

Two weeks?

10 minutes?

Not even Granny can help

The answer is clear.

Now you still might think crypto is hard for Granny. But ask her after she’s tried to set up a crypto account and a stock trading account. Then ask what’s easier.

Look we’re not saying crypto is the be all and end all of investing. It’s risky. It’s volatile. It’s dangerous. But it’s also full of opportunity. It’s trying to fix and rebuild a broken system.

It’s looking at all the friction and inefficiency of the conventional financial system. It’s taking all the centralised control and decentralising it.

It’s an alternative system for everyone. It doesn’t matter if you’ve got $1 million to your name or $1,000. Everyone has a chance to take part in this system.

Everyone has a chance to invest. Everyone has the opportunity to turn a profit from just a small stake. You’d have to be delusional not to see the bigger picture unfold here.