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Your 7-Step Guide to a Digital Account-Opening System

  • by Laura Ryan
  • Mar 20, 2019

Competition in the financial sector is fierce—not only from other banks, but also from the likes of Amazon, Apple and Google. These behemoths of technology—and, more importantly, the customer experience—are all looking to throw their respective hats into the financial ring.

So, when it comes to customer acquisition and onboarding, financial institutions must ensure they provide consumers with the seamless experience they’ve come to expect from every product, service and business they encounter in their daily lives.

For banks, that amounts to a digital, core-integrated account acquisition solution. Utilizing this type of solution boosts your bank’s revenue while providing a superior customer experience.

Revenue Growth and the Customer Experience  

Financial institutions increasingly seek to enhance relationships with existing customers through cross-sales. So, an account acquisition solution must feature both an enrollment site for new accounts as well as integration with a bank’s digital solutions to allow current customers a seamless way to add more products and services. And it must be available any time, via desktop, tablet and mobile device.

And although growing deposits is a huge priority for financial institutions, they must strive to do so in the most cost-efficient manner possible, while still providing that superior, personalized customer experience. Online acquisition tools allow customers to add accounts—sometimes multiple accounts or products in one session—while reducing banks’ costs associated with physical buildings and the employees to staff them.

Digital Account-Opening Systems in Action

Let’s use this example: a new customer successfully opens a checking account. They’ve used the bank’s secure, online account-opening solution—thereby supplying their personal information and scanning their driver’s license for quick ID verification. They are approved for the account and receive instructions for funding the account. Once the customer is onboarded, the bank can send personalized offers—via the new customer’s channel of choice—for additional solutions or add-ons to products they’ve already selected. This helps meet the customer’s individual needs and provides the best possible experience.

And the bank’s benefits are three-fold as it:

  • Educates the customer on its products and services
  • Significantly boosts adoption rates
  • Reduces the workload on more expensive channels

Your 7-Step Guide to Effective Digital Account Opening

Sometimes, even the most seemingly innovative acquisition tools can fall short of customer expectations. To avoid that, here’s a list of online account-opening best practices, from start to finish:

1. Customer Knowledge and Support—Deliver clear and concise knowledge of the products and services you’re offering, and provide guidance about the application process. Customers also should have the ability to ask questions directly from the application tool.

2. Data Capture—Require customers to enter their personal information only once. Your core-integrated account-opening solution should then capture that data for automated input on future applications.

3. Identity Verification—Automatically deploy a watchlist check and identity verification using the customer-provided information. And ensure out-of-wallet questions are updated, secure and effective.

4. Approval/Follow Up—Provide timely approval of account application, generally within one to two business days. And always follow up in cases of rejection or customer abandonment.

5. Disclosures and Regulatory Compliance—Ensure regulatory compliance by providing clear disclosures.

6. Account Funding—Provide multiple options to fund the account, including ACH transfers.

7. Account Fulfillment—Offer instant account access and, ideally, electronic follow-up rather than paper-based communications.

So, will competition from the digital retail giants force financial institutions to shift their business models? Perhaps, but maybe that’s not such a negative thing. Allowing customers to choose how, when and where they bank surely will only strengthen and nurture those lasting relationships.

Learn More About Digital Account-Opening … Digitally

Listen to The Fine Art of Customer Acquisition, an episode of CSI’s podcast, Fintech Focus, to hear one banker’s firsthand experience on deploying an online account-opening solution.

Laura Ryan is product manager for NuFund®, CSI’s online account-opening solution. She holds more than 30 years’ experience in the financial technology industry.