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Mobile account opening

I've recently published new research on mobile account opening in the US, and as usually happens, some of my theories went down in flames.

Theory #1 - anyone who's actually opening an account with a mobile device must be using a tablet. 

Reality - Smartphones are being used much more often than tablets. Even though the user experience isn't great, determined users are soldiering on and applying for bank accounts using tiny screens and doing lots of typing. This is really amazing because in most cases, institutions haven't designed for mobile account opening. Consumers are accessing the online account opening site - which is really designed for a desktop experiences. Even if you don't plan for mobile account opening, consumers will find a way!

Theory #2 - Without face-to-face, fraud will be tough to control using mobile devices.

Reality - There are some great security and user identification capabilities inherent to mobile devices that can actually improve the ability to detect potential imposters. Some of these are still in proof of concept, but I'm optimistic that we've got the tools to make mobile account opening even more secure than in-branch. I would expect some of the new best practices in mobile account opening will also leak into the branch and face-to-face processes will change.

This was a great research assignment, and I'll keep following developments - in part to see if my forecasting proves right. I'd love to hear your experiences with mobile and online account opening. How are you handling drop-outs? Are you requiring a signature speciment? How do you let consumers fund accounts? What else is going on that's new and different?

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Comments: (1)

Ketharaman Swaminathan
Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune 23 May, 2014, 19:29Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Based on my company's experience of improving "browser to buyer" conversion of a bank's online account opening portal, let me answer the questions in your last paragraph: (1) Using a website visitor tracking tool, we identified 8-10 friction hotspots that led to massive abandonments in the 3-step process of applying a new account online e.g. mismatch between branch name and address, ambiguity regarding fees (2) According to the then prevailing regulation, signature specimen was mandatory and was collected by having the applicant signing a printout of the online application in wet ink (3) Newly opened accounts can be funded by cheques drawn on or via EFT from preexisting accounts in another bank (4) Amendments to regulation now permit digitized signature, which is obtained by the applicant using their finger to sign on a tablet's touchscreen. (5) F2F verification of applicant's existence and signature, along with proof of identity and address, are mandatory but don't necessarily require a branch visit. One bank sends its employee to the applicant's home / office with a tablet. This banker uses the tablet's camera to click the applicant's photo and scan their POI and POA documents.