Third-Party or Custom Financial Calculators?

third-party or custom financial calculators on website Written By Dusty Ellis
It is a breath of fresh air when I come across a financial institution’s website that has a great design and intuitive navigation that makes content easy to find. Yet too often, it starts getting a little harder to breathe as I scroll past widgets that don't blend in with the overall look and feel of their website. 

The most common culprit of this is the use of calculators. Although banks and credit unions maintain large budgets for digital customer experiences, I find the improper implementation of calculators using third-party wireframes to be one of the most common mistakes made amongst their sites.  

Why is this? It is because often financial institutions will make calculators an after-thought and wireframing calculators in from a third party usually creates an eyesore. 

Some hide their calculators from view to not tarnish their site’s visual appeal, but they don’t realize that hiding them behind additional pages or sections can negatively impact user experience. 

In this article, I will explain why your financial institution should consider custom-built calculators for your site instead of using calculators from a third party. 


Drive Customer Engagement 

Gamification is becoming a staple amongst websites across all industries. Gamification has a few definitions depending on the way you use it but in the world of website design and development, gamification is adding elements to your website that feel like your visitors are playing a game. 

Gamification is so popular because it allows the user to interact with a website instead of just consuming content.  This is why a well-implemented, proudly, and prominently displayed calculator will drive a potential client to engage with your site. 

Also, with the right tools like Sitefinity Insight, you can capture a user’s interactions with calculators to display personalized content just for them! 

Imagine that a client comes to your homepage and uses your auto loan calculator. From that point forward, you could continue to drive that prospect to engage with your auto loan content by offering personalized auto-loan rates, loan officer contact information, and an application call-to-action that could all be displayed on any future pages they choose to visit. 


Eliminate Bugs and Elevate Security 

Third-party calculators that are wireframed into your site are much more likely to contain bugs and security issues than a calculator that is custom designed for your site. 

The reason is simple. When using a third-party calculator, you are relying on their developers to perform patches, upgrades, and regular maintenance to ensure it is secure. 

It is also not uncommon to run into compatibility issues that can ultimately create unwanted security issues on your site. 

Having custom-built calculators designed specifically for your site means you only need to maintain patching and updates in one place, which ensures that all components on your site are in sync and secure. 

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Consistent Look and ADA Compliance

As we have already mentioned, utilizing a third-party calculator creates an eyesore for your site. This is because most third-party calculators are not customizable enough to match the appearance of the rest of your site. 

Because many of these calculators lack customization options, they also may not ensure ADA compliance, which is important for your website. 

Although it may seem obvious, one of the most important reasons to have custom-designed calculators on your site is that it not only creates a seamless look and feel that matches your brand colors but also shows your FI is dedicated to ADA compliance. 



While the case has been made for the need to implement customized calculators for your site, you may wonder about the technical side of how to implement these. 

Our digital experience experts at Smooth Fusion are excited to speak with you about how we can help make it happen. 

We even have a web platform designed specifically for financial institutions that gives them a custom-designed website on an enterprise-level content management system that includes all the features a modern financial institution needs, including custom calculators. 

After all, digital experience has quickly become the hallmark of the economy we know today, and we want you to have a website that drives customer and member engagement and that you are proud to share with your community. 


Learn about the author, Dusty Ellis.