6 Ways to Improve Mobile Banking Onboarding

The process of opening and onboarding a new mobile banking relationship has been a challenge for most financial institutions. The key to success is to make the process as intuitive and easy as possible.

The shortcomings of current mobile strategies are everywhere. Two-thirds of those who try to open and onboard online are unable to complete their applications and only 53% are able to successfully fund their account. Many nationally ranked banks and credit unions, and even unconventional but innovative internet-only financial firms, have a few things to learn.

Whether they offer checking accounts, credit cards, auto loans or mortgages, mobile onboarding has simply not been a priority. By ignoring this potential revenue stream, banks and credit unions are missing out on new and cross-sell/up-sell opportunities. There are, however, 6 strategies that can boost customers’ mobile interactions.

1. Use Mobile Onboarding to Elevate the Experience

Most financial institutions have made a mobile banking app available to their customers and members. But your standard mobile banking app will only take your customer (and your organization) so far. It’s the app’s functionality that must exceed expectations, from the outset.

Sure, balance inquiries, overdraft alerts and fund transfers are important, but how do you initiate that new customer relationship in the first place? Gone are the days when a potential customer prefers to physically enter a branch to speak with a new account rep and open an account. Online methods aren’t much better. And getting a potential customer to download your app is a feat in itself. If you can get that far, don’t put up roadblocks once the app is installed.

One bank’s app requires an existing username and password simply to use it. That wouldn’t be a problem – if you were already a mobile banking customer. To ask a prospective customer to a.) download your app, and b.) create credentials to use it is a tad premature.

With 25 million new mobile bankers in 2015, removing onboarding barriers needs to be a priority.

2. Keep it Simple

Your organization can be on the right track with mobile onboarding, yet still come up short. If users download and open your app, tap the “Open an Account” button, but are quickly overloaded by information, then you haven’t met their expectations. This scenario occurs with a lot of banking apps today.

image_licenseKeeping the consumer engaged is paramount, as each subsequent screen can become a barrier to completing the onboarding process and give a reason to abandon your application altogether. Instead, keep it simple with capture. Have them use their device to snap a quick picture of their ID to trigger data extraction that pre-fills a form on screen with their personal data, and collect the ID image for know your customer (KYC) compliance.

Forrester Research forecasts that there will be more than 100 million active mobile banking users in the US by 2017, the first thing on the mobile page should be opening a new account, and making it as easy as possible to complete the process with the mobile device.

3. Put Self Service Front and Center

You’d think non-traditional, internet-only banks would have a leg up when it comes to mobile app innovation. That’s not necessarily the case. There are several organizations that don’t offer onboarding via their mobile app. Instead of allowing the customer to serve themselves, which is desired by most mobile users, many banks require new customers to call a toll-free number to open an account. Giving mobile customers the option to call is not the preferred way of conducting business in 2016.

4. Don’t Forget about the Mobile Web

Providing new customers with a quick way to onboard that doesn’t require downloading an app is also important. A very simple mobile web experience that takes advantage of driver license capture to pre-fill the application and reduce friction is something to consider. Why? Because it is estimated that over 75% of customers will onboard in this manner. After the new customer successfully opens an account, remember to ask them to download your mobile app, and provide some compelling reasons for doing so. Mobile deposit capture, mobile bill pay, alerts when checks have been deposited, and fast access to account balances and easy money transfers are all compelling reasons to download the app.

5. Get Customers to Fund the Account

What good is having a new customer if they don’t fund the account? Funding can take place with a debit or credit card, and enabling a user to capture an image of the card to pre-fill the account number and expiration date removes friction, reduces data entry errors and improves their experience. This is a very easy way to get a new customer to put some “skin in the game,” and you can follow up with easy steps to transfer money from an existing account, or better yet set up direct deposit from their paycheck.

6. Use the App, Alerts and Reminders and Bill Pay

Don’t be afraid to reach out to new customers and remind them via SMS to download the app if they haven’t already. Once they have the app on their phone, ping them a few times about key features. The more they interact with the app the first few weeks ensures they will engage on a regular basis. Also encourage them to use bill pay for recurring bills. Customers who use bill pay have a much lower attrition rate and keep higher balances in their account.

So, what are banks and credit unions missing in their mobile onboarding process? Some analysts say it’s the focus on the customer experience (CX), or having the “build it and they will come” mentality by concentrating first on mobile services such as check deposit or bill payment.

The answer lies within banks’ digital transformation strategy and knowing what it means to truly digitize processes and streamline omnichannel experiences. Without a favorable onboarding experience, account funding, and getting the new customer to download your app and interact with it, the point is moot.

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