How Financial Institutions Can Streamline Their Account Opening Process


According to a survey of mobile banking customers conducted by Deloitte, an estimated 27% of respondents believe that the bank account opening processes can be improved upon. 

Of those who said yes, 42% were younger than 35 years old (think younger Millennials and Gen Z) and 33% were between 35 and 50 years old (think older Millennials and Gen X). These are also the customers who are most likely to engage with banks through online account opening processes via mobile apps or websites as opposed to in person at branches.

Deloitte’s survey found a number of potential opportunities for improving the account creation process. The number one recommendation? Streamline the account opening process to make it faster and easier for new users to complete.

Financial institutions of all stripes — from banks to lenders to brokers, insurers, and more — have a number of levers that they can potentially pull to reduce friction and streamline their account opening process. Below, we walk through three possibilities you should consider. 

How to Reduce Friction During the Account Opening Process

1. Embrace a mobile-first account opening experience

One of the biggest mistakes that banks and other financial institutions can make when designing their mobile account opening process is to simply take their website and shrink it down to fit on a smartphone screen. 

Completing a task — any task — on a smartphone is very different from completing that same task on a computer. On a computer, your users have a large screen to view the page; they have a mouse to easily navigate around as well as a full keyboard to quickly type and provide any information that they need to provide. On a phone, they have none of these options. Expecting your customers to complete a desktop-based account opening process on their mobile phones is simply bad business.

A better bet? Designing specifically with a mobile interface in mind. Exactly what this looks like will vary from business to business, but some common ideas include:

  • Clearly communicating at the start of the application how long the account opening process should take, and what materials or information the user will need
  • Increasing font sizes so that they can be read more easily on smaller screens
  • Considering legibility when selecting font and page colors that goes beyond simply mimicking your branding
  • Breaking long forms into smaller, multi-step forms that do not overwhelm the user
  • Allowing the user to upload photos of important documents, instead of requiring scans or PDFs
  • Leveraging splash screens that promote features which differentiate you from your competitors and serve to keep your user engaged and excited about opening an account — such as Paycheck-Linked Loans and Earned Wage Access

This is what a seamless, beautifully-designed mobile experience to verify income, employment, insurance, and more looks like with Truv.

As an added bonus, the best practices discussed above typically translate well to desktop applications as well. This means that you don’t need to design a separate application process for both desktop and mobile. 

2. Leverage consumer-permissioned data for quicker identity verification

Thanks to the anti-money laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC) tenets of the Bank Secrecy Act and related laws, financial institutions are required to verify the identity of anyone seeking to open a new account. Failure to do so can result in multi-million dollar fines and even potential legal ramifications.

However, identity verification introduces friction into the account opening process, which can negatively impact user experience. Therefore, streamlining this portion of the account opening process is one of the most effective ways of reducing friction. 

One way you can do this is by leveraging the consumer-permissioned data that is held by your customer’s payroll provider. Simply prompt your customers to log in to their payroll provider, and instantly gain access to hundreds of data points that you can use to verify the information that your customer has provided, such as their full legal name, birthday, Social Security Number, supporting documents, and more. 

3. Offer direct deposit switching to remove potential mental roadblocks

According to a survey conducted by Bankrate, the average US adult keeps the same primary checking account for 16 years, and more than a quarter will keep using the same primary checking account for 20 years or more. One of the reasons that users are so reluctant to switch banks is the perceived hassle involved in making a change.

A part of the hassle is actually opening the account. But an even greater amount of hassle comes after the account is open. Users who have linked monthly bills or online shopping to their bank accounts will need to manually update that information. They’ll also need to update the direct deposit information with their employer to ensure they don’t run into any issues getting paid.

Enabling easy direct deposit switching (DDS) directly from within the account opening process is the best way to create a seamless experience for the user while also driving direct deposit growth and penetration, increasing primary financial institution metrics, and cultivating more engaged customers.

Once the account has been opened, prompt your new customer to sign into their payroll provider, and guide them through the process of updating their direct deposit information. 

One Solution to Streamline Your Entire Account Opening Process

At Truv, we understand how important it is for banks and financial institutions to have a quick and easy account opening process. Customers don’t just want it — they’re increasingly demanding it. To stay competitive and meet that demand, it’s essential that you streamline your processes as much as possible while still remaining compliant. We offer a number of solutions that you can leverage to achieve that goal.

DDS, for example, allows your users to instantly connect to their payroll provider during the account opening process, where they can instantly change their deposit distribution to include your institution. This removes one of the largest concerns that customers have about switching banks and can potentially drive direct deposit growth by 65% or more. 

Likewise, connecting to the individual’s payroll provider empowers you to quickly verify their identity as well as their income and employment history by leveraging consumer-permissioned data. Faster identity verification translates into faster account openings and fewer abandoned applications. 

And adequate coverage is critical to the success of an effortless account opening process. Users must be able to access their payroll provider or you’ll be back at square one. Truv’s coverage is unmatched with 122.5M working Americans covered, 2.3M US employers covered, 47 payroll providers, 150K employers mapped to payroll providers, and more! 

By using Truv to connect with payroll providers, you open a range of additional services and features that you can use to incentivize account openings. Paycheck-linked loans and earned wage access, specifically, are made possible via these connections. 

Want to provide a best-in-class account opening experience with Truv today? Request a demo now!

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