88.5 million Americans attempted to open an account online or with a mobile device in the past 12 months. While digital account opening has come a long way in just few short years, there is plenty of room for improvement: one quarter of all checking account applicants did not successfully complete the process.
While the majority of digital applications last year came in through financial institutions’ conventional online channel, applications via smartphones and tablet devices represented about 20% of digital applications for checking and savings accounts. One in ten consumers feel it is easier to open accounts on smartphones and tablets than it is online or by visiting a branch.
These are among the findings in “How to Upgrade Online and Mobile Account Opening in an Omnichannel Era,” a report from Javelin Strategy & Research. In the report, Javelin analyzes the state of online and mobile account opening compared with traditional branch applications. The findings are based on an online survey of more than 5,000 consumers, as well as interviews with bankers and vendors.
“Ideally, a consumer should be able to apply, open, and fund an account in one session,” says Mark Schwanhausser, Director of Omnichannel Financial at Javelin Strategy & Research.
The bottom line? Retail financial institutions had better adopt a mobile-centric philosophy… now. Javelin says banks and credit unions need to allow e-signatures via mobile devices, and branches should be modernized to better fit within the new omnichannel banking reality.
( Read More: 10 Tips To Drive More Online Applications )
“The overarching strategic challenge is to weave multiple channels into a consistent, uniform, branded experience,” adds Schwanhausser. “Financial institutions must prepare for a customer who researches an account online, starts an application online (or on a mobile device), initiates a chat session, transmits supporting documents with a smartphone, and still might opt to visit a branch to seal the deal. The key is to enable the customer to decide.”
Credit card offers are particularly suited for online applications according to Schwanhausser. Not only are credit cards ideally suited for online comparison shopping, online rejection is less of a sting than an in-person branch rejection for consumers with borderline credit. And consumers can apply for several cards online in a matter of minutes, instead of driving from branch to branch or completing a bunch of forms by hand and mailing them.